Carl Adrian
President of the Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC)

 

blog-adrianCarl Adrian has been President of the Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC) since 2003. Carl comes to TRIDEC from the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area of Iowa, where he served as President of the Cedar Valley Economic Development Corporation since 1994. The Tri-City Development Council is the lead economic development organization for the greater Tri-Cities region. TRIDEC’s major programs include working with existing businesses to help them grow and prosper, recruiting select new employers to the region, supporting the Hanford cleanup mission and funding, and supporting the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Have you been able to leverage the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford Site for economic development in the Tri-Cities?

DOE’s Hanford Site and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL -not related to Hanford) are important economic engines for the Tri-Cities much like the military bases in other Washington communities. The total annual budgets for Hanford and PNNL are approximately $3 billion and represent nearly 15,000 direct jobs. I think my counterparts in military communities understand that the federal budgets at these sites aren’t just automatic and $100 million here or $100 million there can have a significant impact on employment and economic activity.

Like other communities we stay in close contact with many in the Washington Congressional Delegation, but I suspect our approach may be somewhat different. TRIDEC has been represented in the “other Washington” by the same individual at the firm of K L Gates (and predecessor firms) for 28 years. We have focused almost entirely on the Department of Energy and a couple of other agencies that provide funding for PNNL. Each year, when the President releases the budget, we review the line items affecting Hanford and the Laboratory and make a detailed request of our Congressional Delegation. Our DC representative and TRIDEC staff champion that request until the appropriations bill becomes law. As an example for the FY2015 budget cycle, our request was for $121 million over the President’s budget for certain aspects of Hanford clean-up and the delegation came through with $93 million, which is pretty close to the average over the past 15 years.

I will be the first to say that it takes a village. Other groups, contractors, and even DOE itself are ”lobbying” for more money, but only TRIDEC evaluates the overall budget and only TRIDEC makes the overall request.

Are there other ways you have leveraged the Hanford Site?

We are always looking for new Federal Missions. In 2002 the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) began operations. LIGO is a large-scale physics experiment aiming to directly detect gravitational waves and is a joint venture between scientists at MIT and Caltech and many other colleges and universities. TRIDEC and the Community lobbied hard over a four year period to successfully secure the location at Hanford.

TRIDEC is actively promoting Hanford and Energy Northwest’s WNP-1 site near Columbia Generating Station as one of the first Small Modular Nuclear Reactor locations. Thanks to a Grant from the State through Commerce a study commissioned by TRIDEC points to over $300 million in savings by using that site.

Finally, the same federal legislation that increased the Hanford Budget for FY 2015 also directs DOE to transfer 1,641 acres just north of Richland to TRIDEC for industrial development, a request TRIDEC made of DOE in 2011. We don’t intend to be in the land business and will quickly transfer the property to the City of Richland and Port of Benton.

The legislation also established the Manhattan Project National Heritage Park which includes several historic structures at Hanford, a measure TRIDEC and many others lobbied to create (I could devote an entire article to just the park) and directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to begin providing limited public access to the top of Rattlesnake Mountain, Eastern Washington’s highest point.

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