2020 GEM Schedule

Nov. 22 – 30

Cooperative Development as an Economic Development Tool

Presenters: Mike Peroni, Project Manager, NABC
Stephen Bramwell, Director and agriculture extension agent, WSU Thurston County Extension
Dave Fenn, regional farmer
Randy Mueller, CEO, Port of Chehalis
Sponsor: Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC)

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About the Course: Development pressure, loss of processing facilities, and diminished competitive advantages threaten mid-tier agriculture and agri-business throughout our state today. This is often occurring at a time when the infrastructure necessary to develop alternative product markets is not yet available. Through a panel discussion, we’ll examine how a diverse variety of regional Washington partners merged to create a grower-owned cooperative in Southwest Washington. Together, they successfully supported the ambitious development of a new market for regional grain growers.

About the Presenters: 

Mike Peroni is a Project Manager for the Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC) and lives with his wife and daughter in Curtis WA about 10 miles SW of Chehalis. Mike has over 30 years of experience in leadership roles supporting regional agriculture, and extensive knowledge of farm and business management, brand support, public/private partnerships, market development, organizational structure, and regulatory compliance. As part of a team dedicated to developing solutions to the issues facing agriculture in southwest Washington, his current projects include the development of aggregate grain storage and rail transload infrastructure at the Port of Chehalis, and the development of aggregation and distribution services with the capacity for value-added processing in SW WA.

Dave Fenn is one of a group of regional farmers growing out the recent OSU release ‘Thunder’ malting barley as part of a project to build a SW WA Barley program with Great Western Malting of Vancouver, WA. Dave has been instrumental in developing a regional growers’ cooperative and is an outspoken advocate for SW WA agriculture. On 270 acres, three generations of the Fenn family have produced vegetables for local processors for 65 years; up to the time that these processors either went bankrupt, or ceased issuing contracts to west side growers. Dave currently produces a variety of grains and seed crops as well as forage crops and beef, and is part of a cooperative of regional producers working hard to develop viable alternatives to the processing crops once grown in the region.

Stephen Bramwell is the Director and agriculture extension agent for WSU Thurston County Extension. He earned a Masters Degree in Soil Science from Washington State University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Community Development at the University of Washington. His areas of work include market development for local agriculture, specialty grain production, new farmer training, and conservation on working lands. Recent projects include evaluation of barley varieties for craft beverage industry, feasibility of minimally processed fruit and vegetables, regional Food Hub development, and habitat conservation grazed prairie land.

Randy Mueller is the CEO of the Port of Chehalis, and lives in Chehalis with his wife, daughter, and their retired racing greyhound. Randy has worked for public port districts for the last 14 years, with a focus on projects that create good jobs and stronger communities. He has earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from WSU, a masters degree from Portland State University in Real Estate Development and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington.

Strategies for Business Turnaround, Survival and Exiting

Presenter: Steve Burke, Washington SBDC Certified Business Advisor
Sponsor: Washington Small Business Development Center

About the Course: Do you feel like giving up? Many small business owners are feeling like they just can’t keep going. If you feel like the end is near, attend this webinar. We will give you some hope and some options.  Topics include: Cashflow management, funding and capital infusion, managing debt, turnaround strategies, financial discipline, survival tips, exit strategies including closing down, selling the business and bankruptcy.

Getting Started with Amazon

Presenter: Jennifer Kuznicki, Sr Program Manager Small Business, Amazon

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About the Course: This session is an introduction to the opportunities, resources and tools small businesses can leverage to grow with Amazon. We’ll walk through selling on Amazon and best practices as well as touch on other business models that use Amazon to reach customers.

Pop-Ups: Fun Name, Serious Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

Breanne Durham, Washington Main Street Director, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation
Linda Haglund, Executive Director, Wenatchee Downtown Association
Ellen Gamson, Executive Director, Mount Vernon Downtown Association
Lisa Smith, Executive Director, Washington State Microenterprise Association

With entrepreneurship likely on the rise in 2021, providing spaces and services for start-up microenterprises will be a critical strategy for communities hoping to tap into this post-downturn trend. This 45-minute panel discussion will explore microbusiness and entrepreneurship opportunities, with a specific focus on Main Street-led incubator spaces. You’ll learn about two different models – a holiday pop-up market in Wenatchee that temporarily accommodated 11 small businesses and a longer-term single-tenant space in Mount Vernon. Discussion features the Washington State Microenterprise Association, the Washington State Main Street Program, Wenatchee Downtown Association and the Mount Vernon Downtown Association.

Customer Service and Reviews with Amazon

Presenter: Jennifer Kuznicki, Sr Program Manager Small Business, Amazon

About the Course: Learn how to support customers proactively and positively while responding to feedback in an online shopping experience. Explore ways to cultivate honest reviews and how not to lose customer trust.

eCommerce Readiness and Pivot

Presenter: Jenefeness Tucker, MBA, Certified Business Advisor
Sponsor: Washington Small Business Development Center

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About the Course: With restricted occupancy rates, stay home stay healthy orders, political/social unrest, and rising COVID19 test results, it is harder to service clients face-to-face during this time. Additionally, some customers may not be in close proximity to your local business. Being online can increase your sales/revenues to customers you wouldn’t normally be attracted to you. There are a few different ways you can get your business online successfully. It may even be possible by using an affiliate to do it for you.

Globally, online sales are anticipated to reach $4.2 trillion this year. Currently, 76% of US consumers shop online. Experts say there will be more than 300 million online shoppers in the US by 2023. If you aren’t selling online, it is likely you are leaving tons of money on the table.

While eCommerce is not for everyone. This workshop will help you discover if it is for you. If you need assistance getting started or pivoting from some mistakes, this workshop will help you! Discover if you’re digitally ready, what online platforms to consider, some potential benefits and sales strategies for your business, and where to turn for e-commerce help.

About the Presenter: Jenefeness Tucker, MBA is an Award-Winning Coach, Visionary, Educator, Author and Speaker. She was named on the 100 Growth List of Middle Market CEO’s by Axial, appeared on Inside Edition, featured in articles and segments on The Successful Micropreneur, TBN’s Encounter Him Series, NPR News, Fox 28 News, Successful Business News, Columbus Business Journal and Ohio MBE.

Jenefeness has held leadership roles in Corporate America, Non-Profit as well as State and Federal Government agencies as well as small businesses. Jenefeness received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Operations Management from Wilberforce University (HBCU) and then soon after a master’s degree in business administration from Ohio Dominican University. She is currently a Certified Business Advisor with the Washington Small Business Development Center and loves to learn about Economics and Entrepreneurship. She enjoys teaching her students at Washington State University, Seattle Central College as well as growing clientele in 32 of the 50 states in the US and three other countries through one-on-one technical assistance, seminars and in her books Finesse My Life, Finesse My Budget, Finesse My Time Management and Finesse My Cashflow written at the beginning of April in response to COVID19.

Developing a Strategic Mindset

Presenter: Daryl Murrow, Business Coach, Murrow Group LLC

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About the Course: The ability to think strategically is an essential leadership skill required for all successful growth-oriented entrepreneurs.  In this presentation, you will be introduced to tools and concepts to help you envision new solutions to overcome obstacles, think outside the box, see opportunities that others miss, and maintain focus while avoiding everyday distractions.

About the Instructor: Daryl is an author, speaker, and business coach who has provided training and coaching to entrepreneurs since 2008. He is a dynamic presenter and brings powerful storytelling, business and personal insight, and electrifying energy to all his presentations.  Daryl has been the instructor of the ScaleUp Training Program since its inception in 2015 and has developed several courses for business owners including Business TuneUp, Get Launched Now, and the Ultimate Breakthrough Experience.  Prior to starting the Murrow Group LLC Daryl was the co-owner of the CD Connection retail store for 15 years.

Growing Local Investment Networks in Washington State

Michael H. Shuman, Neighborhood Associates Corporation
Andy Meyer, Association of Washington Cities (AWC)
Anthony Gromko, Washington State University Extension (WSU)
Trevor C Lane, Ed.D. Washington State University Extension (WSU)
Deborah Stinson, Local Investing Opportunities Network (LION),
Brian Kuh, Jefferson Economic Development Council
Julie Tate-Libby, TwispWorks- Methow Investment Network (MIN)
Aslan Meade, Thurston EDC- Thurston Investment Network (ThINk)
Lisa Smith, Washington State Microenterprise Association (WSMA) Moderator

Washington State Microenterprise Association (WSMA)

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About the Course: Communities around Washington have established Local Investment Networks (LIN) to enable community members to invest in local businesses, build lasting community relationships and grow local economies.  This panel discussion will highlight efforts throughout the state to expand Local Investment Networks, especially in rural communities. Speakers will share national, state, and local perspectives about the power of investing locally and how their work to launch these investment networks has impacted their communities and the economic vitality of their region.

About the Presenters:

Michael H. Shuman is an economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, and a leading visionary on community economics.  He is credited with being one of the architects of the 2012 JOBS Act and dozens of state laws overhauling securities regulation of crowdfunding.  He has authored, coauthored, or edited ten books including: Put Your Money Where Your Life Is:  How to Invest Locally Using Solo 401ks and Self-Directed IRAs and The Local Economy Solution:  How Innovative, Self-Financing Pollinator Enterprises Can Grow Jobs and Prosperity and Local Dollars, Local Sense:  How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street.

Andy Meyer, AICP, has held the position of Special Projects Coordinator at the Association of WA Cities (AWC) since 2007. As a part of the Member Services team at AWC, Andy works with a wide variety of member cities, state and federal agencies and other partner organizations, primarily in the areas of land use, planning, environment and economic development. He currently manages the AWC GIS consortium, serves as staff to the AWC Small Cities Advisory Committee, as well as being involved in developing and nurturing partnerships with academic institutions and other entities.  Andy has been working closely with WSU to expand Local Investment Networks throughout Washington state to develop the Field Guide For Local Investing and more recently the 2019 Local Investment Networks (LIN) Assessment.

Anthony Gromko, Washington State University Extension (WSU) is a community economic development professional and educator with over 13 years’ experience in urban settings in both Washington State and abroad. He brings expertise in cross-cultural engagement, economic resiliency, social business innovation, and multi-sector partnerships.

Trevor C Lane, Ed.D. is an award-winning and published associate professor and state specialist in Community & Economic Development for Washington State University (WSU) Extension.  His leadership links scholarly and academic research to solving problems and supporting the needs of tribal and rural communities like local investment networks and entrepreneurial training, while using technology to create efficiencies.

Deborah Stinson, Co-Founder of Local Investing Opportunities Network (LION), Port Townsend, WA.  Deborah is a seasoned policy maker and local champion for sustainable economic development and local investment.

Brian Kuh, Executive Director of the Jefferson Economic Development Council, is the fiscal home for the Local Investing Opportunities Network (LION), Port Townsend.  Brian is a former banker and business lender who has worked throughout the North Olympic Peninsula since 2004.

Julie Tate-Libby is the Director of Programs at TwispWorks, a nonprofit dedicated to building a resilient, diverse economy in the Methow Valley. She works closely with the Methow Investment Network (MIN) in Twisp, WA.  Julie is also an anthropologist and researcher who has written extensively on place, community, and amenity migration.  She teaches anthropology for Wenatchee Valley College and enjoys skiing and outdoor recreation in her spare time.

Aslan Meade, Director of Strategic Alliances, Thurston EDC, Thurston Investment Network (ThINk) Olympia WA has been at the forefront of connecting the different organizations and businesses from the public and private sectors to create and build a local investment network in the South Puget Sound.

Lisa Smith, Executive Director, of Washington State Microenterprise Association (WSMA).  Lisa works to support Microenterprise Development Organizations throughout WA that provide business training, technical assistance, and microloans to the smallest businesses in the state. Her work focuses on building connections for WSMA partners to access capacity building support, resources, grant funding and opportunities to network.