DOE/community partnerships benefit region
April 25, 1994
RICHLAND, Wash. –
Economic seeds are being sown at Hanford in southeastern Washington, and local communities will reap the harvest.
The U.S. Department of Energy and a consortium of local agencies including TRIDEC, Battelle, the Port of Benton and Washington State University Tri-Cities recently signed an agreement establishing the Agribusiness Commercialization and Development Center. The center will serve as a "stepping stone" for researchers from DOE's Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Westinghouse Hanford Company, WSU and private industry who are interested in moving their agriculturally related technology from the lab to the private sector.
The center is a significant step in establishing the Mid-Columbia region as a hub for research, development and ultimately manufacturing in the food development and processing industry. The joint effort to develop the center is an example of DOE's economic transition strategy of assisting the Tri-Cities and the region in developing new businesses.
Contributions to the center include $100,000 from DOE as part of its Hanford Economic Transition Initiative, $75,000 from Battelle, and $40,000 in facility improvements and leases from the Port. Other in-kind support includes about $300,000 worth of Battelle equipment, and WSU, TRIDEC and DOE staff time.
The center already has proven successful in helping to create new business opportunities in the region by playing a role in the decision of Penwest Foods, a regional food processing manufacturer, to expand its Richland facility. Penwest's decision to expand, adding more jobs and revenue to the community, was based in part on the possibility of future joint ventures between the company and the center.
The goal of the center is for researchers to further develop their technology and then move into area or local business incubators to market it. Other scenarios that would benefit the local economy include researchers teaming up with existing companies to market their new technology, and/or outside firms relocating to the area to license and develop the new technology.
To further promote economic diversification efforts, DOE established HETI as a mechanism for DOE and the Hanford Site to support the cleanup mission while creating a local sustainable economy capable of competing in national and international markets. HETI's goal is to establish local, regional and international economic partnerships that will open new trade opportunities for Hanford and the region.
Recent community and DOE initiatives that support the long-term economic growth of the region include:
- The implementation of the community and DOE "Speak-With-One-Voice" Memorandum of Understanding that was signed with TRIDEC. TRIDEC was selected as the key point of contact with DOE for 42 economic development organizations.
- A $13 million state-of-the-art metalworking extrusion press that will be transferred to the City of Richland. The city plans to contract with a commercial metalworking firm to operate the press locally and market its product nationally.
- The privatization of Hanford's laundry services in 1993, which established a regional business base in the Tri-Cities and saved taxpayers $22 million.
- A joint effort between DOE, its contractors, the Port of Benton and Richland to establish a long-term lease for the Science and Technology Park that will be occupied both by government and private industry.
Tags: Energy, Technology Transfer and Commercialization, Economic Development