The EDC is excited about the opportunity that we have to play a role in career technical education, internships to help people start their careers, and continued expansion of local industrial businesses. The Annual Banquet in February provided an opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of last year and the opportunities ahead of us.
In February, we held our annual membership banquet and had over 200 people in attendance. Thank you to everyone who attended. The event was made possible by sponsorships from Security State Bank, The Chronicle, and The Jester Auto Museum and Events Center. We presented several awards that evening. The 2018 Gail and Carolyn Shaw Industry Award recipient was Reggie Hamilton. He has been an effective advocate of jobs and growth in our community. The Economic Development Leadership Award was given to Centralia College in recognition of their work to recruit new businesses to Lewis County. Bob Mohrbacher, President of Centralia College, said the workforce study completed by TIP Strategies on behalf of Lewis EDC has been extremely comprehensive and provided information for the college that would have otherwise taken years to compile. He communicated that as a result of the workforce study that the College is considering building a facility to accommodate manufacturing programs. The EDC banquet was an evening full of awards and the opportunity for the organization’s membership to connect. We are looking forward to the future successes that will be announced in 2018.
Career & Technical Education
The workforce demand analysis competed by TIP Strategies we have identified needs for “Career & Technical Education” or CTE programs. There are jobs in manufacturing that have been identified as areas of need in the community, we are working to develop CTE, programs to train the next generation of workers. We are collaborating with Centralia College, Chehalis School District, and, Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council to discuss the demand for “Career & Technical Education.” With continued efforts, we will be able to create more programs specific to our need in Lewis County.
There is a need in our community for internship programs. The EDC has recently updated to include information regarding internships in Lewis County. There is a link for both Employers and potential Interns to glean information and sign up electronically to either fill an internship opening or find one. Internships can be paid or unpaid, they can last for a wide range of time and do not necessarily need to lead to a full-time job. In this way, a lot of internships are more like an enhanced version of a summer job, where the student gains experience in how the industry works and practices hands-on skills. The EDC staff will work to match potential interns with companies. You can find the online sign-up and information center at https://www.lewisedc.com/employers/ (Employers) or https://www.lewisedc.com/interns/ (Interns)
Business Retention & Expansion
Cowlitz Valley Machine
Cowlitz Valley Machine is a fabrication and repair facility that started out in Morton in 1977. They service parts and equipment for local food manufacturers, local lumber manufacturers, and the marine industry in neighboring communities. In fact, they repair products all the way to Montana, where they are sought out due to their attention to detail.
The company currently has nine employees, with 5 out in the shop, and is always at capacity for work. They are not planning any major expansions for their business, but they are steadily improving their shop and increasing their capacity. CVM will keep making a positive mark on all of the industries they serve.
Corwin Health Physics
Jeremy Corwin was born and raised in the area before heading up to Seattle University. Shortly thereafter he joined the army where he evaluated x-ray, CT, MRI, and other equipment. When he got out of the army he chose to live in our area and work for his dad’s insurance company for a bit. He knew he wanted to do something besides insurance and so he did a market study to see if there was a demand for medical physics equipment evaluations. It turns out there was.
The business’ major competition came from a small provider in Oregon, so work began on growing the business. First it occupied a bedroom out of Jeremy’s home, then a full bedroom, then a guest house, then downtown, and now the business services the whole Northwest from Idaho to Alaska with its 8 employees (plus 1 in Tacoma). Most of their business though lies outside of our rural area but they stay here because the internet allows their business to be located anywhere so they chose an affordable, central location that connects to their past.
Besides assisting facilities with image-quality solutions and providing guidance and input to regulators, the company has created an extensive diagnostic imaging residency program for medical physicists. That program has now become accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP). Corwin Health Physics joins the select group of only twenty (20) companies in the nation that have an accredited diagnostic imaging residency, and is the first of its kind on the West Coast.
Business is booming and on average they are experiencing 10-12% year over year growth. Over the next few months they plan on adding another employee, and who knows maybe more after that. If you need medical physics assistance or a medical x-ray room examined consider Corwin Health Physics. You can reach them at: http://www.corwinhp.com