Westport business leader, and Ocean Companies co-owner Dennis Rydman passes away

Ocean Companies co-owner Dennis Rydman passed away unexpectedly Tuesday morning. Westport Mayor Michael Bruce said this morning “Dennis Rydman will be greatly missed. He was a strong driving force in Westport taking business risks, growing Ocean Gold into Ocean Companies providing jobs for Westport and the Grays Harbor community.”
The Rydman family has been supporting and growing the fishing industry in Westport for generations. The Ocean Companies website says that Dennis owned and operated 20 different vessels that have ranged from 30 to 200 feet and been manned by crews as large as 36. He’s had as many as 150 people employed on the ocean fishing for him at any given time, and more than 600 employed on land.


Ocean Companies released the following statement on the passing of Rydman

It is with profound sadness that we announce the sudden and unexpected passing of Dennis Rydman, the President and CEO of Ocean Gold Seafoods Inc.

Dennis was a lifelong fisherman, father, grandfather, and the patriarch of the Rydman family. He was a strong supporter of the Westport Washington area and a friend to the coastal fishing communities in the Pacific Northwest.  Dennis was passionate about his family, his company, his friends, and the commercial fishing industry. His presence will be sorely missed.

Ocean Gold Seafoods Inc., a commercial industry leader, will continue in the strong tradition that was Dennis’ legacy.

We would like to express our deepest condolences to his wife Jacquelyn Rydman; his sons Mark, Eric and Ross, as well as his precious grandkids and the entire Rydman family.

The Ocean Gold Team has suffered a tremendous loss.

Hoquiam credit union receives coveted Northwest award

Left to Right: Photo (L-R) Denise Gabel, COO, Northwest Credit Union Association Richard Hein, CEO, OSU Federal Credit Union (2013 winner)   Ynette Gibbs, CEO, Newrizons Federal Credit Union Troy Stang, CEO, Northwest Credit Union Association
Left to Right:
Photo (L-R)
Denise Gabel, COO, Northwest Credit Union Association
Richard Hein, CEO, OSU Federal Credit Union (2013 winner)
Ynette Gibbs, CEO, Newrizons Federal Credit Union
Troy Stang, CEO, Northwest Credit Union Association

Newrizons Federal Credit Union located in Hoquiam for nearly 50 years was recently awarded the highly competitive 2014 Credit Union Innovation and Impact award by the Northwest Credit Union Association. “This is like getting an Oscar. It’s a very big deal,” said Ynette Gibbs, CEO. “Of all the great work that credit unions do in Washington and Oregon, Newrizons was chosen for what we naturally do in Grays Harbor County.” What they do is amazing according to those who know Newrizons. Last year their IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program returned over $600,000 in tax refunds to 375 Grays Harbor low-and-moderate income families for free.

Newrizons started GHC IDA raising $75,000 in community funds and receiving a $75,000 federal grant.This program rewards savers with $1 of federal and $1 of community for every $1 they save for first time home ownership, college or trade school. “People work for this, stick to a savings plan for at least 6 months and take financial education.” Another reason why Newrizons received the innovation and impact award is their homegrown credit and financial counseling program. Newrizons’ 3 full-time, certified financial counselors help Grays Harbor County residents rebuild poor credit and pay collections or garnishments.

Ynette credits the Newrizons’ team who work confidentially one-on-one to jointly build realistic and manageable plans paying old and current bills in a way that really works. People increase their credit score an average of 62 points in just 6 months. Sometimes this includes negotiating settlements or debt consolidation loans but the real secret is the ongoing support for new choices achieving what at first feels impossible.

Newrizons, located at 120 Firman Street in Hoquiam, is a US Treasury-certified, community-development financial institution dedicated to the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People”.

Imperium Renewables returns to Umpqua Bank for expansion capitol

Imperium Renewables, Inc., a leader in next-generation biofuels, announced a new lending agreement with Umpqua Bank, a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation (UMPQ), that will provide Imperium with an additional $10 million in working capital to fuel its growth.

This modification of a 2012 agreement increases Imperium’s working capital from Umpqua to $20 million while maintaining the company’s revolving line of credit with the bank.

“Umpqua Bank’s knowledgeable team continues to find smart, flexible financing solutions that Imperium needs,” said John Plaza, president and CEO of Imperium Renewables. “These resources will help us continue to grow and diversify our operations in biodiesel production and sales.”

Seattle-based Imperium Renewables develops proprietary technology and processes to produce biodiesel, a clean-burning alternative fuel whose global demand is growing due to its environmental benefits, including lower carbon dioxide emissions. Its Imperium Grays Harbor facility can produce up to 100 million gallons of biodiesel annually. The additional working capital supplied by Umpqua will position Imperium to expand production and sales.

“Imperium Renewables is a proven leader in the industry, and is uniquely poised for further growth,” said Danielle Burd, Umpqua Bank’s executive vice president and director of client relations. “We’re pleased to expand this partnership – and to provide access to capital that allows them to diversify and grow.”

Imperium is committed to producing the highest-quality biodiesel, using sustainable and environmentally sound feedstocks. In lending to Imperium, Umpqua Bank demonstrates its commitment to help grow the region’s economy by finding financial solutions for local businesses.

About Imperium Renewables

Imperium Renewables is a global leader in next-generation biofuel production. Founded in 2004, the company is driven by a single goal – to fundamentally change the way we fuel transportation by developing and producing clean, renewable and sustainable alternative fuels. Imperium operates one of the nation’s largest BQ-9000®-certified biodiesel facilities, Imperium Grays Harbor in Hoquiam, Wash.

About Umpqua Bank

Umpqua Bank , headquartered in Roseburg, Ore., is a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, and has locations across Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California and Northern Nevada. Umpqua Bank has been recognized for its innovative customer experience and banking strategy by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and BusinessWeek, and named to FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” eight years in a row.

Greater Grays Harbor Inc. selects Andre “Dru” Garson as new CEO

Andre “Dru” Garson was offered and has accepted the position of CEO of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc.

In addition to being a Development Specialist with the Alaska Department of Commerce and Community Economic Development in Juneau, Garson has worked with disadvantaged regions of Alaska to develop and establish economic development and tourism programs. Garson has his master’s degree in resource recreation and tourism, and has worked in many regions of Alaska to develop tourism and workforce development with focus on key industry clusters in that state.

According to Board Chair Mike O’Dell, Garson’s qualifications aligned well with the projects that the board has established in their strategic planning for the organization.

“We are excited about the assets Dru will bring to the community, and believe he is well qualified to not only complete community projects that are in process, but also to establish new directions and relationships essential to the success of GGHI,” O’Dell said.

Garson, who is finishing a project for the state of Alaska, will be starting as CEO of GGHI in September, and is looking forward to being here.

“There are a lot of similarities between the economy of Grays Harbor and many communities that I’ve worked with throughout Southeast Alaska,” he said. “I’m excited about moving to Grays Harbor and look forward to meeting and working with the local business community.”

Community Hospital and Harbor Medical Group finalize managed Medicaid contracts

In addition to the Public Hospital District initiative, and other cost saving measures, Grays Harbor Community Hospital (GHCH) and Harbor Medical Group (HMG) have been working since December to find the best Managed Medicaid Insurance Carriers to support their Managed Medicaid patients.  Harbor Medical Group Executive Director, Josh Martin said, “These Managed Medicaid partners must provide exceptional service to our patients, and support the facilities and medical professionals who provide quality healthcare.”

As a result, effective August 15th, 2014, Grays Harbor Community Hospital and Harbor Medical Group will move forward with coverage for Managed Medicaid patients through Amerigroup and Molina and will no longer accept coverage from United Health Care and Coordinated Care.  Effective November 1st, 2014, GHCH and HMG Clinics will no longer accept coverage from Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW).

“We appreciate the relationships we have had with each health plan; however, we have chosen to continue a relationship solely with Amerigroup and Molina, the two plans we believe will best support our patients and the providers who treat them at our hospital and clinics,” says Grays Harbor Community Hospital CEO, Tom Jensen.

Managed Medicaid patients are the only population affected by these changes. If you are a non-managed Medicaid customer, have Medicare with a Medicaid supplement, or if you have commercial insurance, you will not be affected.

For those Managed Medicaid patients who are currently covered by United Healthcare, Coordinated Care or Community Health Plan of Washington, Grays Harbor Community Hospital and Harbor Medical Group are prepared to help facilitate enrollment with one of our preferred partners.  “We have set up an Enrollment Center on the Grays Harbor Community Hospital East Campus first floor, which is staffed with professionals from 9:00am to noon and 1:00pm to 3:00pm, Monday through Friday,” indicates Mr. Martin.

“These are our valued patients and we very much look forward to continuing to serve them and our community for years to come,” says Mr. Jensen.

Regardless of your coverage, if you need emergency care, please go to the Grays Harbor Community Hospital Emergency Department.

For more information, please visit www.ghcares.org or the Enrollment Center.

Smaller taxing authorities could feel strain, or benefit, from new Public Hospital District

About 40 attended the first of two meetings to discuss the protection of the Central Park Park Fire District’s ability to levee at the fire station last night. With a new hospital district potentially pushing smaller fire districts throughout the county closer to their taxing authority maximum, District 2 Chief Leonard Johnson said “We may have a tax impact next year that may result in us increasing property taxes in the fire district from a process that we’re allowed to under law, but it doesn’t require us to go to [ask] the taxpayers.” Johnson described the complicated levee payout process that could put the smaller districts at risk of cap, but also caps out the larger districts taxing authority district-wide. This can incentivize what’s called a buyback, where a larger district pays a smaller not to use their levy, in order to tax at a higher rate across it’s entire district – all legal under RCW. Asked if both districts were interested, Johnson said yes.
With the proposed formation of a Public Hospital District #2 in Western Grays Harbor, and the possible expansion of District #1 in East county, portions of Fire District 2 have become the knot in the middle of a game of tug-o-war.
Fire District #2 Chief Leonard Johnson
Many questions last night asked if Grays Harbor Community Hospital was putting it’s debt on the public dime, CEO Tom Jensen explained “We’re not trying to become a public hospital district to “tax” we’re trying to become a public hospital to get access to a higher reimbursement rate from a bill that was put together and lobbied for two years. If we can get the bill, it means bringing into this community another 3 million dollars. And it says right in the bill that if you want access to this you have to become a Public Hospital District and you have to own and operate it. Now that doesn’t mean Tom Jensen, that means you as the community will own and operate that facility, and I will tell you that with an extra 3 million in the bank, that organization will make money.
Grays Harbor Community Hospital and Summit Pacific Medical Center administratorsCentral Park resident Frank Scherer asked Jensen “What are the current debt of the hospital, and liabilities outstanding, and why do the taxpayers have to make that up to make this hospital solvent?” Jensen replied “Long term debt bonds are about 36-million dollars, technically the bill doesn’t state that it has to be taxed, to that will be up to the commissioners. It won’t even be up to me, So the commissioners will make the decision on what that tax rate  will be, we’re just communicating what it could be. And more than likely the most that we could get if we became a Public Hospital District is 42 cents.”
Along with whether to form the district, your August Ballot will ask you to select a District Commissioner, and 2 at-large Commissioners, for a total of 7 that will make up the public board if the district is approved. If it isn’t approved, you might just see a proposition on the November ballot to add a few cities into the current Hospital District #1 in East County.
Seeing that some of the new district’s potential commissioners are former and current employees of the non-profit hospital, one woman asked why? I asked Police Chief Bob Torgerson if he was planning on stuffing his pockets from the public coffers “The reason to run for any public office is to serve the community, the other reason is that I’m not part of the group that is currently running the hospital. I’ve had 40 years of public experience being in the public eye, doing public service, but the whole purpose is to make it better for everybody.” Torgerson is running against the hospital’s former CFO Tim Howden for the 1st At Large position
The question and answer session lasted about an hour last night, you’ll have more chances to ask questions at one of two meetings next week.
Hospital Administrators will be at the Log Pavillion in Aberdeen Wednesday evening, July 23rd for a debate hosted by the League of Woman Voters beginning at 6, then a second meeting hosted by Fire District #2 is being held in Brady that night at 7.
Listen to Johnson with Doug McDowell on CoffeeTalk earlier this week.

Timberland Bancorp ranked 16th in Seattle Times’ annual ranking of the region’s top public companies

Timberland Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq:TSBK) (“Timberland” or “the Company”) today announced that it was ranked 16(th) in the region in the Seattle Times’ annual review of Northwest public companies.

“Being recognized as a leader in the Northwest for our ongoing growth and profitability is an honor, particularly in light of the tough industry conditions over the past few years and the competitive nature of our business,” noted Michael R. Sand, CEO and President of Timberland Bancorp. “To be ranked in the top 20 companies this year, and as the fifth best financial institution in the region, not only reflects our solid earnings and strong capital position but also the talent and commitment of our staff to our customers and shareholders.”

To be considered for The Seattle Times’ “Best of the Northwest” companies must be headquartered in Washington, Oregon or Idaho, and traded on a major stock exchange during all of 2013. Additionally, company shares cannot have closed below $2 at any time during the past year. Metrics reviewed to determine company status in the list included: free cash-flow yield, return on invested capital (ROIC), asset turnover and stock-price appreciation.

About Timberland Bancorp, Inc.

Timberland Bancorp, Inc., a Washington corporation, is the holding company for Timberland Bank (“Bank”). The Bank opened for business in 1915 and serves consumers and businesses across Grays Harbor, Thurston, Pierce, King, Kitsap and Lewis counties, Washington with a full range of lending and deposit services through its 22 branches (including its main office in Hoquiam).

Elma hospital finishes in the top ten for most beautiful in america

ATLANTA, Georgia— After a nation-wide vote ended June 15th, Soliant Health announced its top 20 Most Beautiful Hospitals in America honorees today. Making the list at number ten is Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma, Washington. 248,116 votes were turned in during the annual contest, which was almost double the amount of votes the contest received last year. This was the 6th year for the Most Beautiful Hospital Contest.


“Our team put a lot of thought behind each design decision made during the construction of Summit Pacific,” Renee Jensen, CEO share. “We have been and continue to be passionate about bringing the same level of care and facilities seen in larger urban areas to our small community. So it’s really exciting see our community’s support result in a national ranking for both our facility and the city of Elma.”


With over 6,500 votes, Soliant shares that Summit Pacific is the embodiment of modern and welcoming. Coming in at the number one spot was McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah. One other Washington hospital made the top 20 list, and that was number 18, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Vancouver. To view the complete list of hospitals, visit http://blog.soliant.com/most-beautiful-hospitals/2014/.

Cantwell, Murray & Inslee: Keep Export-Import Bank Open, Protect 85,000 WA Jobs

Over the weekend U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Gov. Jay Inslee and local business leaders to call for Congressional reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, the nation’s official export credit agency and a key export tool that helps Washington companies sell their products overseas.


The Ex-Im Bank is a financing tool that helps American companies sell their products or services to foreign customers. It has supported more than 180 exporters in Washington state, two-thirds of which are small businesses. About 85,000 jobs in Washington state are supported by sales involving Ex-Im Bank financing.  Nationally, it has supported $189 billion in exports over the last five years.


But the Ex-Im Bank’s charter is set to expire in 100 days, and unless Congress acts, it will be forced to end its assistance to American companies. Inslee, Cantwell and Murray joined Lawrence Stone, CEO and President of SCAFCO, a Spokane company that exports grain storage systems and steel framing products to 82 countries, to highlight how failing to extend the Ex-Im Bank would hurt businesses in the Spokane area and around the state.


“Ex-Im is a critical source of capital for businesses all across Washington state. As the most trade-dependent state in the nation, those businesses and our economy could lose billions of dollars in export sales if it expires,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “This has helped Washington wineries, growers, food processors and manufacturers create thousands of jobs. Without Ex-Im financing, many of these companies risk losing sales to foreign competitors.”


The Governor and two Senators toured SCAFCO, which employs 245 workers in Spokane, and has successfully used Ex-Im financing to expand exports. SCAFCO is one of 14 businesses in Eastern Washington that have used Ex-Im services since 2007. Ex-Im financing has supported $63 million in sales from Eastern Washington companies.


“This is about how the United States of America grows jobs by exporting our products overseas,” Cantwell said. “As chairwoman of the Senate Small Business Committee, my top priority is to make sure we have more growth from small businesses and help them become exporters. By expanding to new markets, companies like SCAFCO get new customers and we get jobs here at home. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of our borders. We want people to have this tool so they can buy grain silos or airplanes that proudly say ‘Made in the USA.’”


“Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank isn’t about politics, or Republicans and Democrats. It’s about creating jobs here in the United States and keeping our businesses competitive in the global marketplace. That’s it,” Senator Murray said.  “Of the more than 200,000 American jobs supported by the Export-Import Bank last year, more than half were in Washington state, so while this is national priority, it’s particularly critical for jobs and the economy in our home state.”


The entire Washington state delegation – in both the House and the Senate — voted for the bank’s reauthorization in 2012. Ex-Im’s reauthorization has been backed by business groups around the country, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable. Historically, the bank has received strong bipartisan support.


The Ex-Im Bank, which is self-supported through interest payment and fees, turns a profit for U.S. taxpayers, and transferred $1 billion in revenue to the U.S. Treasury in 2013. It has been reauthorized about two-dozen times since it was created in 1934.


“I know that I am speaking for hundreds of small- and medium-sized manufacturers across the country when I say to our Congress: Please reauthorize Ex-Im Bank without delay,” Stone, of SCAFCO, said. “The future of America’s exports and a significant amount of American manufacturers depend on your action on this important issue.”


In the past year alone, Ex-Im financing assisted 84 Washington companies, including 64 small businesses, and close to $21 billion worth of sales to foreign customers.


In FY 2013, nearly 90 percent of the Ex-Im Bank’s transactions—a record-high 3,413—involved American small businesses.  In FY 2011, more than 700 first-time small businesses and nearly 500 minority- and women-owned businesses used the bank’s services. Ex-Im opened a new branch in Seattle in August 2012, with the goal of helping small businesses get more access to the bank’s financing.


If private banks are unwilling or unable, the Export-Import Bank steps in and finances or insures the purchase of U.S. goods by foreign customers. It also helps U.S. companies stay competitive against their counterparts overseas that are financed by foreign governments.