CEO Blog

Dec 26, 2023

Navigating Economic Horizons: Key Takeaways from the Regional Economic Forecast & Innovation Expo

I am happy to share my enthusiasm for the recent success of the Regional Economic Forecast & Innovation Expo, a collaborative effort that brought together the expertise and dedication of the Thurston County Economic Development Council, the Economic Alliance of Lewis County, Greater Grays Harbor Inc., the Economic Development Council of Mason County, and the Pacific County Economic Development Council. Held on December 7th at the Great Wolf Lodge, this event not only surpassed expectations but also showcased our collective commitment to advancing economic prosperity in our region.

As a participant in this exceptional event, I take pride in acknowledging Pacific Mountain Workforce Development’s (PacMtn) crucial role as a funder. Our support underscores a collective commitment to the economic well-being of the Pacific Mountain region and the communities we serve.

A true highlight for me was moderating the panel discussion on “Building the Region’s Talent Pipeline.” This session brought together experts from Higher Education/Title II, CTE & Career Connected Learning, Vocational Rehabilitation, Labor, and Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed (ALICE). We explored strategies to enhance our region’s talent pool, ensuring a skilled workforce for sustained economic growth.

Keynote speakers Hart Hodges and James McCafferty from the Western Washington University College of Business and Economics provided a realistic outlook on the economy. Their insights offered community and business leaders a valuable forecast, empowering us to shape resilient business plans capable of withstanding challenges and capitalizing on opportunities.

The Economic Forecast also featured the participation of tribal nations from our five-county region, shedding light on how the future of their economic development efforts will impact the broader region. This inclusive perspective added depth to our understanding of the economic landscape and fostered collaboration among diverse stakeholders.

The breakout sessions, led by expert panels, delved into the specific issues and opportunities facing the five-county region, with a special focus on workforce development. Topics ranged from exploring the benefits and concerns surrounding renewable energy sources to discussing the growing impact of AI tools, including ChatGPT, Bard, and others, on the business world. These sessions aimed to equip attendees with actionable insights, ensuring they stay ahead in our dynamic business environment.

As a participant, I am grateful for the opportunity to engage with thought leaders, industry experts, and fellow stakeholders during the expo. The energy and enthusiasm displayed by everyone involved reaffirm our shared commitment to driving economic and workforce development in the Pacific Mountain region.

Looking ahead, I am excited about the potential collaborations and initiatives that will stem from the insights gained at the Regional Economic Forecast & Innovation Expo. I extend my appreciation to all who contributed to the success of this event, and I am confident that our collective efforts will continue to make a positive impact on our community.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our region’s economic and workforce prosperity.


William Westmoreland 
CEO, Pacific Mountain Workforce Development (PacMtn)