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Introduction to Economic Development for Local Governments During COVID-19 and Beyond

Tuesday, November 10, 2020
11 AM - 12:30 PM
Cost: $35 - training scholarships available (see below)
Credits: CM, CML for city elected officials (see below)


Registration closes Monday, November 9 at 12 PM. This webinar will be recorded, and all preregistered attendees will receive a link to view the recording. Read about scholarship opportunities.

Webinar Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has had many devastating effects, including numerous businesses closing their doors and people losing their jobs. As a result, numerous entities, including many local governments, have stepped up and taken concrete steps to help improve the economic situation of their local businesses and residents. But what are the most effective approaches and is there more that can be done?

This webinar will provide a solid introduction to economic development and identify the steps taken by successful organizations to assist local businesses and promote job retention/creation. It is the first in a 2-part webinar series on Economic Development During (and After) the COVID-19 Pandemic. The second part of this webinar series, to be held in December 9, will feature case studies from several Washington economic development organizations.

Educational Objectives

This webinar will introduce the topic of economic development, including:

  • Provide a definition and explanation of “Economic Development;”
  • Identify the primary and secondary key players (including state agencies, EDCs, port authorities, chambers of commerce, counties, and cities/towns) in the process;
  • Review what economic development activities are, and are not, legally permissible to do in Washington State; and
  • Discuss the importance of collaboration and partnerships.

This webinar will also provide some insights into what the post-pandemic, economic development landscape may look like and what will be local government’s role(s) in the process both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who Should Attend?

Elected officials, city managers/administrators, county administrators, economic development and community development staff, planners, planners, and other people interested in economic development issues.


  • Gary Ballew, Vice President of Economic Development, Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI). Gary leads the GSI economic development team at GSI and works with partners to grow and diversify the Spokane regional economy. Prior to coming to GSI, he served in economic development-related positions with several local governments, including the cities of Pasco and Richland and Benton County. He has been an economic developer since 1996.
  • Suzanne Dale Estey, Principal, Dale Estey Partnerships, Strategy & Results. As the Principal of her public affairs consulting firm,  Suzanne serves as the Executive Director of the Washington Economic Development Association (WEDA). She has over 26 years of experience in economic and business development, intergovernmental relations, public policy, public affairs, and strategic communications and has worked for the cities of Seattle and Renton as well as King County.
  • Chris Green, Assistant Director, Washington State Dept. of Commerce (DOC). At the DOC, Chris oversees the agency’s international trade, business recruitment/retention, and rural economic development efforts, and he leads the state's Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness. Prior to joining the DOC, Chris worked at the Economic Development Board for Tacoma and Pierce County
  • Steve Butler, Policy Manager—Planning Consultant, MRSC. Steve will serve as the webinar moderator.


Training Scholarships

  • The Washington Cities Insurance Authority (WCIA) will reimburse up to four (4) registrations per member-entity for this webinar. Reimbursement is available upon program completion; register and pay MRSC first.
    • For reimbursements, go to the WCIA website (, click Education & Training, then click Training Reimbursements, locate program title and follow the prompts. Questions? Contact WCIA Member Services at
  • The Washington Counties Risk Pool (WCRP) will provide one (1) training scholarship per member-county for this webinar. Those wishing to take advantage of the offer are asked to contact your county risk manager to request the registration code before you register. To learn if you are a WCRP member or if you have questions about scholarship opportunities, please contact
  • Read about other training scholarship opportunities.

Refund policy: Refunds of the webinar fee will be provided minus a $5.00 administrative fee if registration is canceled by 12 PM on Monday, November 9. If you are registered for the webinar and unable to attend, you will still be able to view the recorded webinar afterwards. However, if you cancel your registration, you will not receive a link to the recording.