Last Wednesday, April 13th, the Chamber hosted its first Military Affairs Forum in 26 months. This in-person event broke the attendance record of any Military Affairs Forum in Chamber history, with a crowd of 90 business leaders, community members, and military representatives present.
The event was held at the Tacoma La Quinta Inn & Suites where attendees enjoyed a breakfast buffet and time to network with fellow business and military leaders before speaker presentations began.
The featured speakers at this kickoff return to Military Affairs Forums were Colonel (Ret.) Bill Adamson, currently the Program Director for the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership (SSMCP), and David Fullmer, Chief of Staff at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
COL. (Ret.) Bill Adamson of the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership kicked off the speaker presentations by sharing information with attendees about the economic impacts of JBLM in the South Sound community. This included data collected in a 2020 regional economic impact analysis of JBLM by a collaboration between SSMCP and the UW Tacoma’s Milgard School of Business.
Noteworthy updates concerned JBLM’s impact on residential population statistics, business development and leadership, and statewide job and economic outputs. According to the report shared by COL. (Ret.) Adamson, JBLM helps attract talented members of the workforce to the region. In survey results, 75% of respondents did not live in the Pierce/Thurston County area prior to military affiliation. 70% of respondents surveyed are homeowners in the area. Additionally, in a survey of local business leaders, 34% reported a current or prior JBLM affiliation. It was also reported that the base is responsible for creating 34,000 jobs statewide and 25,500 in the South Sound alone. Overall, the report showed that JBLM has a 13.9 billion dollar impact on the Washington State economy.
JBLM Chief of Staff David Fullmer spoke next and shared more information about the interactions between the JBLM military community and the surrounding community. He shared many of the realities service members face throughout their time serving at JBLM, from what is required to relocate to the area, to the challenges of re-entering civilian life. He discussed such topics as relocation and moving, childcare, spousal employment, and housing that the 279,664 service members and affiliated families in the area must navigate.
Information about two programs was shared out to attendees at the event: the JBLM Rental Partnership Program, in which landlords can participate to help service members and families find affordable housing off-base, and the Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood program, in which child care providers can participate in a fee assistance program for military families.
To learn more about the Rental Partnership Program, email the JBLM Housing Services Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (253) 967-3581
To learn more about the Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood program visit www.childcareaware.org
Thank you to all who attended the relaunch of our Military Affairs Forum! This was truly a spectacular event to connect our South Sound military and business communities.
The next Military Affairs Forum will take place June 8, 2022.
Register to attend and stay in the loop with the Chamber by signing up for our nNews!
Interested in being involved in the next Military Affairs Forum? Contact Michelle Matheson at email@example.com.
In this episode of Making It in the South Sound, AJ Gordon, Tacoma Board of Directors Chair, sits down with Kevin Drugge, Senior Corporate Sales Manager for the Tacoma Rainiers at We R Tacoma.
Kevin shares some history of Cheney Stadium and Minor League Baseball in Tacoma, starting all the way back in 1960 when Ben Cheney and Clay Huntington brought baseball to Tacoma. From the original Tacoma Giants, to the Tacoma Tigers, and as the Rainiers we know today, Tacoma's minor league team has had a deep and storied history in the community.
"It's almost everyone's home away from home during the summertime," says Kevin, reflecting on the role the Rainiers and Cheney Stadium play in the community fabric of Tacoma. Kevin reflects on the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic and having to go an entire season without baseball. Despite many challenges, he states his belief that We R Tacoma has emerged from the pandemic as a stronger organization. Not only did Cheney Stadium weather the COVID-19 storm, it played a critical role in community health as both a testing site and, later, a vaccine clinic.
With eyes to the future, Kevin discusses what the 2022 Rainiers season has in store for fans. Season ticket holders should be excited to enjoy the completely renovated and updated Commencement Bank Summit Club, which features luxe furnishings, all-inclusive food and drinks, games and entertainment, and a premium view of the field.
Kevin and his team are hopeful this season to see the Rainiers defend their winning titles. Triple-A West League Champions in 2021, the Rainiers hope to continue their winning streak as Pacific Coast League Champions in 2022.
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