Maritime Economic Development: Bellingham, Everett
Bellingham Port Secures $125,000 Workforce Development Grant for Solar Panel Manufacturer
A $125,000 workforce development grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce to the Port of Bellingham will help local solar panel manufacturer Pando Innovations, LLC (Itek Energy) streamline operations, increase efficiency and reduce costs. The grant will fund training for up to 125 workers, including 40 new hires.
Itek Energy recently purchased two acres and a 48,000 square foot warehouse from the port to develop a new manufacturing plant near Bellingham’s downtown waterfront. The workforce development grant will improve employee work skills and make a more efficient use of the larger facilities into which Itek Energy is going to move.
Itek Energy currently employs 85 full-time workers and plans to hire up to an additional 40 employees after the new manufacturing plant is up and running later this year.
Impact Washington, a nonprofit organization specializing in training small manufacturing companies, will implement the program. Project team members include Northwest Workforce Council, Bellingham Technical College and the Port of Bellingham.
"Itek Energy is a terrific local success story," said Port Commission President Dan Robbins. "Each year they have expanded their workforce creating new job opportunities for the citizens of Whatcom County. We were pleased to help Itek find a site for their new manufacturing plant which keeps them in Whatcom County and we expect the workforce development grant will help them continue to grow as they transition into this new facility."
Port of Everett Welcomes Newest Tenant, Bellingham Yacht Sales, to Waterfront Place
The Port of Everett has signed a new, two-year lease with Bellingham Yacht Sales for a location at the Port of Everett Marina.
Bellingham Yacht Sales, the first-boat dealer to offer new yacht sales at the Port of Everett, will open for business in early February with an office located at 1135 Craftsman Way and boats on display at the port’s North I-Dock adjacent to the Travelift Dock. The yacht dealer offers new boats for sale, used yacht brokering and full services with in-house yacht shipwrights.
"For many years we have wanted to expand into the greater Seattle area in order to better serve our Puget Sound customers," said Bellingham Yacht Sales President Dean Ouilette said. "There were many attributes that we were looking for, including haul out facilities, a boat launch, prime moorage and waterfront office space. In addition, we hoped to find a location that would be a destination in its own right with terrific restaurants, hotels, housing, parks, trails and public space. We are pleased to say we have found the Port of Everett’s new Waterfront Place development to offer everything we were looking for."
The new lease includes 450 square feet of office space and 150 lineal feet of dock space within the Craftsman District of Waterfront Place. Everett is the second location for Bellingham Yachts, which has occupied office space and moorage at the Port of Bellingham Marina for the past 32 years. The company now has 12 employees. It will be hiring additional staff for the new Everett office.
"This is a great strategic partnership," Port Commissioner Troy McClelland said. "It’s a missing piece of our puzzle, and a meaningful and important step in expanding services to our boating community as we continue to build out the Waterfront Place Central development."