Business View Civil and Municipal | May 2021

26 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL MAY 2021 jobs. And that the government really can be a player in a public-private strategy to recover and grow jobs. I’m not foreseeing a tidal shift, but I am hopeful that we can continue to recoup those losses and also make some smart new investments – particularly, access to capital for small businesses and infrastructure that catalyzes economic development.” Looking to the future, Estey says Washington State will continue to thrive thanks to the globally-recognized industry leaders that call it home. She boasts, “This is the home of big ideas. The number of innovative companies that are here is just astounding and one of our strengths is certainly our deep and diverse industry clusters.” However, the number one challenge they will face moving forward is what will happen with the aerospace industry and how they can hold on to as many Boeing jobs as possible. The company announced in the fall of 2020 that it is moving its 787 production out of Seattle and into South Carolina. “Boeing repeats time and again that they are deeply committed to this state, but it has indeed become a global company with multiple job centers. I think the message is that we are not giving up on aerospace and I know that’s the state’s strategy and the Seattle region’s strategy. There are elements of aerospace beyond the passenger jet. There are multiple kinds of spinoffs and many of the leaders in commercial space are here in the Seattle region.” But no challenge can take away the major benefit to economic development that Washington State has at its core – quality of life. “You can’t find a more incredible place to live,” Estey shares. “My family can be skiing from our front doorstep in under an hour and go kayaking just down the street. For every month of the year, there’s no more beautiful place in the world.” legislative session, Washington State had a $4 billion deficit and a history of downplaying economic development. Estey admits, “Unfortunately, Washington has been rather complacent in economic development. We have what I sometimes refer to as ‘the luck of the Bills” here with Bill Gates and Bill Boeing. We have had decades of an incredibly diverse economy with even more global brands like Amazon, Costco, and Starbucks on top of those. So we really don’t do a lot of economic development here.” On top of that, as a result of the previous Great Recession, more than 60 percent of the state’s economic development investment was reduced. “What we are trying to do now, frankly, is recover from the last recession and capitalize on this moment when policy makers are seeing that when you make intentional investments, even a small grant for a small business, it can save