Released today at 1:04 p.m.

WASHINGTON STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:           May 24, 2010

Contact:        Noreen Hoban, Economic Development Commission, 360.586-5662

“Innovation and Jobs Summit” in Tacoma, May 26th

State economic development leaders convene summit on accelerating job creation

OLYMPIA, WA -- More than 125 regional leaders from business, economic development, government, research and education organizations will participate in the “Regional Innovation and Jobs Summit” at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26. The Summit is being convened by the Washington Economic Development Commission (WEDC), Governor’s Office, Department of Commerce, Washington Economic Development Association and the House and Senate Committees on Economic Development.

“The summit is bringing together Washington State’s rich intellectual capital, business capability and entrepreneurial spirit to answer a critical question: ‘How do we better collaborate to accelerate innovation and bolster job creation?’” said WEDC executive director Egils Milbergs. “Our strategy is to make Washington the most creative, attractive and fertile investment climate for innovation in the world.”

For this strategy to succeed it cannot be commanded from the top. To drive innovation we need to encourage regional leadership, risk taking, new methods of problem-solving and collaboration across regions, disciplines and organizations, Milbergs said.

The critical success factors for creating jobs will be highlighted–world class talent, cutting edge technologies, an entrepreneurial business climate and game-changing infrastructure.

Bruce Kendall, chair, Washington Economic Development Commission and the president of Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board will kick off the summit and introduce video remarks by Gov. Chris Gregoire. Thought-leader Rob Atkinson, founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, DC-based think tank, will present the keynote address on “Restoring US Innovation Leadership.” Atkinson is author of The Past and Future of America's Economy: Long Waves of Innovation that Drive Cycles of Growth and the New Economy Index which ranks innovation performance among the 50 states. Washington State ranked second in the latest analysis.

Washington State Commerce Director Rogers Weed will also speak and a legislative roundtable with Sen. Jim Kastama, Sen. Paull Shin, Sen. Joseph Zarelli and Rep. Phyllis Kenney will address policies for innovation and expectations for the next session.

Three expert panels address the following topics:

I.      Creating the Next Generation Workforce

II.     Accelerating Technology Commercialization

III.    Smarter, Cleaner and Greener Infrastructure

The afternoon will conclude with an interactive workshop on leveraging Washington’s knowledge and intangible capital. The workshop was designed by Mary Adams and Michael Oleksak, co-founders of Intellectual Capital Advisors and authors of “Intangible Capital.”

For the current agenda go to: www.wedc.wa.gov .

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About the Washington Economic Development Commission (WEDC)

The WEDC is an independent, non-partisan commission charged by the legislature with the mission of creating a comprehensive statewide strategy to guide investments in economic development, infrastructure, workforce training, small business assistance, technology transfer and export assistance. The WEDC membership is comprised of business, labor, academic, associations and government leaders. The latest version of the state’s economic development plan was published February of 2009 entitled “The Washington Innovation Economy” and is available for free download at: www.wedc.wa.gov