KFnet in T-Town

Oct. 31, 2011 at 6:52am

What Tacoma's Got

And what it don't got

Ken Miller's post over at the TNT Inside Opinion blog is a truly thought-provoking and easily digestible look at what Tacoma has to offer to attract incoming dollars. Though a bit lengthy for most people's online attention span he summarizes his thoughts/findings about what it means for Tacoma to be "open for business":

First, the number of businesses in Tacoma is growing though apparently we don't know why.

Second, we can't compete as a low-cost city. Our labor costs are too high.

Third, we can't compete as a high-differentiation city. We don't have the pool of talent and ideas to attract investment on a large scale.

Fourth, we should play the wild cards in our hand, the happy accidents of museums and military bases.

The ideas, as he says, are simple but how do we get there and who will be the driving forces/leaders behind all this? Perhaps the astute minds on FeedTacoma have the answers...

Link to the TNT's Inside Opinion blog

comments [36]  |  posted under economic development, economy, Tacoma


by KevinFreitas on 10/31/2011 @ 7:09am
@Fredo will like that second one. ;) I do like the museum/military angle especially when embracing JBLM more as a part of Tacoma (as the blog JointBaseLiving.com is trying to do). As for promoting our museums more maybe, since we have so many, they can band together and form and group org to help cross and internationally promote themselves.

by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 8:16am
Is that the same Ken Miller who tried to strangle Jim Merritt's campaign manager?

by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 8:24am
hmm. comics.feedtacoma.com/tacomic/tacomic-ke...

by fredo on 10/31/2011 @ 8:45am
Ken forgot to mention all of our bailbond offices made us a natural for bailbond services. This is what we could pin our future on.

by KevinFreitas on 10/31/2011 @ 8:47am
He's obviously looking to the future in his article so that past can be set aside. What he really seems to be concerned with this time around is what's strangling Tacoma's growth and prosperity.

(what, too much?)

by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 8:48am
although I believe Ken is a dangerous, psychotic strickland supporter he has a few good points about the port:

"The Panama Canal is being widened to allow “super-max” ships to avoid the West Coast and use East Coast ports, with their billions in capital improvement – and low-cost operations. So while the Port will be important for decades more, it may not be our main economic engine in the future."

Read more: blog.thenewstribune.com/opinion/2011/10/...

Maybe Lowbar knows something we don't know.

by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 8:54am
the AMoAE laughs in the face of 'tacoma has no talent/ideas'


Father Bix branded Anti-Nuke Sunflower Kits!


by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 8:55am
also NPR had good coverage of the JBLM "kill team" war crimes trial. Ringleader with his collection of teeth, finger and leg bones.

talk about free PUBLICITY!!

by MarkMonlux on 10/31/2011 @ 9:58am
You might not be able to visit the Military Base for free on Thursdays - but you can the Art Museum. This last Sunday I took in the brand new exhibit on Mexican Folk Art - just in time for Day of the Dead!

by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 10:04am
looked like a good one from the volcano pics.

by Droid16 on 10/31/2011 @ 10:12am
Looks like Ken made a few assumptions about the Institute without talking to anyone. Dismissing the impact of 60 undergrads and 20 grads in CS, CSE and ITS per year (and growing) is one thing, but to state that the majority go on to operational roles in non-tech companies was just plain wrong. Most play development roles in the tech industry and many have had transformational career experiences. Their are quite a few research faculty at the Institute along with six specialty research labs.

There definitely can be more research done and there will be. However, knocking one resource down (research and entrepreneurship) to build another (tourism and museums) doesn't make for a good strategy.

by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 11:29am
tell 'em professor! www.trippumbachsurveys.com/Tacoma

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/31/2011 @ 11:55am
Don't forget the "higher-than-national-average" density of cartoonists.

Why the hell isn't there a Gary Larson Museum here?

by KevinFreitas on 10/31/2011 @ 12:35pm
@Droid16 - Thx for the perspective! Do you have any stats of how many students from that program have found jobs in Tacoma? You're right @RR, that info re: the port is interesting/troubling for Tacoma's future.

by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 1:05pm
OUR Artifex commerce-street NEIGHBORS update: the tattoo parlor is now a MMJ dispensary.. also one of the empty storefronts is now a pole-dancing instruction classroom. should go get photos and do one of those Daily Index reporters photo safari. STAND BY!

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/31/2011 @ 3:20pm
For those interested in just how tied JBLM is to Tacoma, they get 100% of their jet fuel from the refinery in the port.
Every time you see one of those birds fly overhead, it's being powered by union jobs.

Info here:www.mcchordpipeline.com/

by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 3:24pm
unionize the troops!

by The Jinxmedic on 10/31/2011 @ 3:49pm
"unionize the troops!" Yeah, right.

When you sign on the dotted line, you become part of a larger being - a corporate lifeform, one greater than the individual parts. That's how it is, and those who volunteer to serve generally understand that. Those who don't, usually don't last long in that environment. (hence, the no-fault administrative discharges under the "failure to adapt" clause.)

Union talk for the hive is just silly. All the troops need is just a congress willing to continue the benefits that these individuals have earned by sacrificing their individual rights for the greater good of the society. And if you don't understand what I mean by this now, you probably never will.

by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 3:55pm
congress? or you mean the super committee ?

aren't unions/hives/collectives the same thing?

by Droid16 on 10/31/2011 @ 4:08pm
Kevin, I don't have much on stats, though I do believe that a department of the University keeps all sorts of information like that. What I can say is that the student population comes from all over the state and internationally as well. So whether they stay in Tacoma or not may be a function of whether they go back to their home area or not as well. My understanding is that students often stay in the locations where they attended school (if there are jobs available).

That being said, if someone is hired at Microsoft, they are likely to move to Redmond or they already live somewhere close enough to commute there. They could go to school here from Renton and then reverse their commute when they graduate.

Some folks (quite a few) are hired up north at an Avanade (the MSFT/Accenture company) or Booz Allen Hamilton and commute to work from here. Many have been hired here and stay here. Avue has built up a larger development staff in Tacoma much of which is made up of alumni of the Institute. Mantech on JBLM (and former contract holders NewTec) have had over 30 alumni intern, hire or spend time working there.

What we are on the cusp of is having companies move here to open branches because of available workforce. The suggestion has come up several times over the last few months from companies outside the Tacoma area.

What I would like to see is a greater degree of entrepreneurial activity happening. Maybe that can be jump started on May 18, 19th and 20th when we hold a South Sound Entrepreneurs Weekend.

by Nick on 10/31/2011 @ 4:18pm
"My understanding is that students often stay in the locations where they attended school (if there are jobs available)."

Jobs is definitely the key word there. Had I not landed a local Tacoma job I would probably have followed my classmates up to Seattle. I'd estimate roughly 80% of my classmates that remained in the region moved up to Seattle. For almost all of them, the decision was driven purely by employment prospects.

by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 4:50pm
give UW Tacoma Old City Hall!

by KevinFreitas on 10/31/2011 @ 5:54pm
I couldn't agree more RR! Or turn it into a downtown business incubator!

by NineInchNachos on 10/31/2011 @ 7:11pm
dorms... anything!

by CaptainBritton on 10/31/2011 @ 7:44pm
I still say it gets turned into a publishing house/Print/Comix/Artist stable...Man I want that penthouse office up there. How much do you think that guy would take for it?

by Jesse on 10/31/2011 @ 8:14pm
OCH = McMenamins Hotel when the Grace Pleasants project doesn't get funded. That's my bet.

by KevinFreitas on 10/31/2011 @ 9:23pm
Oh I seriously like the sound of that too @Jesse. Probably a good bet.

by The Jinxmedic on 11/1/2011 @ 7:51am
1) @RR: That's true, supercommittees and "czars" have pretty much bypassed our regular representative processes. Isn't it exciting living in THE FUTURE?

2) @Britton: I would happily take any number of donated office suites in OCH for any of my various organizations and "charities". A public face for the secret lair would be quite... ...appropriate.

3) @Jesse: Best idea yet.

by The Jinxmedic on 11/1/2011 @ 7:52am
OCOCH: "Occupy Old City Hall"

by CaptainBritton on 11/1/2011 @ 10:04am
Seriously a working art factory, with glass walls and drop-in-any-time studio tours, writers meetings, printing processes...Like the hot shop, sort of. Plus you put the highest demand stuff on the top floors (The Gary Larson Museum, etc...) and that would spark some foot traffic for the rest of the occupiers! Jinxmedic studios included!

by NineInchNachos on 11/1/2011 @ 10:08am
you talk the talk britton but what is this jibber-jabber about waiting to be member 21 ?

by fredo on 11/1/2011 @ 10:10am
I'd like to see all the artists in town pool their resources and make an offer on OCH. The ideas you've put forth are very good.

by NineInchNachos on 11/1/2011 @ 10:12am
hey if Jeremy Gregory can do it, how hard can it be? spaceworkstacoma.wordpress.com/apply/

by CaptainBritton on 11/1/2011 @ 10:38am
I'm a big fan of Jeremy, that guy is everywhere and generous with his time and mind-thoughts. I will be applying for a Spaceworks the next go around, but I want the plan to be really really good...And we're almost there. seriously.

Fredo, I don't have much to pool at the moment, but yep, collaboration will be necessary to get our crazy ideas realized. I'm working on a plan.

RR, yeah I know, it seems ridiculous, but everything I do has to do with #21. It's just how I roll. I'll explain more, but not in public. Come see my art fort and It'll all make sense. It's a deal breaker. :)

by NineInchNachos on 11/1/2011 @ 11:03am
I hear what you're typing. Your path is your path. Keep on truckin!

by low bar on 11/1/2011 @ 11:35am
old city hall: turn it into a cooking school. since fucking foodie-ism is trending in tacoma.


Although I have another home on the web I thought it might be nice to lead by example a bit and put this blog system up to the test myself.

So far, so good... Funny how I build web tools for other people that are far better than the one's I have setup over on KFnet.


Hey Clear Channel, Clean Up Your Crap!

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