Stressing the need for more jobs in the region, Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon announced Wednesday the construction of a 100,000-square-foot bottling facility that will ship more than 15 million bottles per month to Asian markets.
The announcement came during Reardon’s eighth annual State of the County address before Snohomish County’s business leaders. Evergreen Bottling will initially hire 50 to 60 employees, Reardon said, expanding that number to more than 100 within two years.
“During these harsh economic times, we cannot depend on others to create our opportunities, and we cannot wait for a general economic rebound or fix,” Reardon said. “To create opportunities for business and jobs, we must actively create and seek out new opportunities.”
Company officials have cited Snohomish County’s recruitment efforts as a main reason for locating here.
“Our original plan was to locate along the Rocky Mountains, but County Executive Reardon and his staff provided us a business case for exporting from Snohomish County that just couldn’t be disputed,” said Dave Markle, senior vice president of Evergreen Bottling. “For us, exporting beverages from the U.S. to the Asian markets requires a very lean business model. A few pennies per bottle is all that stands between profit and loss.”
While negative economic factors still plague many parts of Washington, Reardon highlighted again the steps Snohomish County officials have taken to return to positive financial footing.
“We are marching forward, with each elected official doing their part to pinpoint priorities and to build a sustainable governing model,” he said. “As a result, we are poised unlike any other government in our region – including the state of Washington itself – to be a productive partner, not a burden, in the private sector’s future growth.”
Efforts such as the Washington Aerospace Training & Research Center, spearheaded by Snohomish County and located at Paine Field, already are paying huge dividends. The training facility, which opened last summer, is preparing workers with the advanced skills needed to build today’s and tomorrow’s airplanes.
“Boeing has hired 92 percent of the graduates they’ve interviewed, and Tect Aerospace recently hired for five new positions – all of their selections were training center graduates,” Reardon said.
For 2011, Reardon says residents only need look at the soon-to-be constructed farmers’ market, commercial kitchen and processing center for proof that public/private partnerships can benefit the region. Also, the short-term, targeted use of permitting resources – under the name Project Catalyst – will allow contractors to work on more than 70 additional projects during the 2011 building season.
Reardon also announced the county’s move into mobile phone technology by making information on river levels, snow routes, sex offenders and crime areas available for smart phone applications.
“We are fortunate to have Aaron Reardon leading our county at this time,” said Louise Stanton-Masten, president and CEO of the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce, which has hosted all eight of Reardon’s State of the County addresses. “We appreciate Aaron’s partnership with the Chamber on issues important to the business community and our county citizens.”
To view Reardon’s full state of the county remarks, go to http://bit.ly/frLWMH.