August 2017
Highlights from the 27th PNWER Annual Summit in Portland, Oregon
Over 800 regional policymakers and business leaders participated in the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region's 27th  Annual Summit in Portland, Oregon. Attendees  made connections that will be beneficial to  the region in the future.

Our 843 attendees included:
  • 54 state, provincial and territorial legislators
  • 11 MPs and senators
  • 5 provincial ministers & one premier 
  • 73 corporate CEOs or VPs
  • 38 NGO executive directors
  • 14 University Presidents or VPs
  • 90 other governmental officials
19 Working Group Sessions
6 Keynote plenary sessions
Summit Highlights

Microsoft President & Chief Legal Officer 
Brad Smith
PNWER and the Innovation Corridor 
Microsoft President Brad Smith gave a very compelling overview of the tremendous technology resources in our region and the need to expand this "innovation corridor" through sharing resources, workers and expanding opportunities to education. His remarks can be viewed on TVW here.   

Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agrifood Canada with Canada's Agriculture Chief Trade Negotiator Frédéric 

Agriculture and Trade Discussion
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agrifood Canada provided keynote remarks on Canada-US Trade and the need to work together to expand markets. He also participated in a stakeholder dialogue on Agriculture trade and NAFTA modernization issues during the Agriculture Working Group session. This was an excellent opportunity for stakeholders to engage directly with the Minister on regional cross border priorities. 

Ambassador David Wilkins moderates a discussion with Denis Stevens, Deputy Head of Mission Canadian Embassy in Washington DC and Charge d'Affaires Elizabeth Moore Aubin, US Embassy in Ottawa 
US-Canada Leaders Round-table 
Ambassador David Wilkins led a discussion on US-Canada border and trade issues with Denis Stevens, Deputy Head of Mission Canadian Embassy in Washington DC, Chargè d'Affaires Elizabeth Moore Aubin, US Embassy in Ottawa. They covered many topics including; softwood, NAFTA modernization, preclearance and the important role PNWER plays in helping to advance new initiatives. They also took part in a stakeholder round table discussion during the Border and Trade Working Group session. 

PNWER President Dan Ashton passes the gavel to new President Senator Arnie Roblan
Sen.  Roblan elected President
MLA Dan Ashton passed the PNWER
Presidency gavel to Senator Arnie Roblan for  2017-2018.  Roblan  was elected to lead the organization based on his public service background and collaborative successes in the Oregon Legislature.  "PNWER has proven itself to be an ideal vehicle for identifying shared regional problems and crafting solutions that serve the people we represent,"  Roblan  said. "Cooperation and collaboration among our members has proven to be key to both exploring new ideas and crafting meaningful solutions. "

PNWER Working  Groups
ID Rep. Jeff Thompson, Energy Co-chair leads a discussion during the Energy Session

In 19 Working Group Sessions and six keynote plenary sessions, we discussed major economic chall enges and opportunities in the region and identified priority actions to move the region forward. 

For working group presentations, action items and agendas, click here 

Bruce Agnew, Cascadia Center accepts the PNWER Private Sector Award
Bruce Agnew, Cascadia Center , was recognized with the Alan Bluechel Memorial Award for his visionary leadership in promoting transportation solutions for the shared prosperity of the region.
The Private Sector Leadership Award was named in honor of the late Washington State Senator Alan Bluechel who envisioned the establishment of a collaborative region-wide organization to address common issues and interests. Alan Bluechel served as PNWER's first president.

Bryce Christiaens, Chair of the Montana Invasive Species Advisory Council, and Jon Trapp, Operations Chief Incident Command Team, with PNWER VP Rep. Mike Cuffe
The Montana Invasive Mussel Team was awarded the Hot Potato Award for their work on building a firewall to protect the shared U.S. and Canadian Columbia River Basin following the discovery of invasive mussels in Montana. The team was led by Matt Wolcott, Incident Commander for the Montana Mussel Response Team and Randy Arnold, Regional Supervisor for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Bryce Christiaens, Chair of the Montana Invasive Species Advisory Council, and Jon Trapp, Operations Chief Incident Command Team, accepted on their behalf. The Hot Potato award is given each year to someone who has helped reduce tension across the border and is named in reference to the Pig War of 1859. 

ID Director of Emergency Management Brad Richy co-chaired the Resilience Symposium
Partner Events during the Summit
As part of the 2018 Summit, a two-day
Disaster Resilience Symposium was hosted by PNWER's Center for Regional Disaster Resilience.  The symposium had eight sessions on a wide range of disaster resilience topics including public safety technology, cybersecurity, fires and floods, climate adaptation and infrastructure resilience. 115 people registered for this event, in addition to other summit attendees who attended individual sessions.

The  AEC Portland Hackathon  brought together a rchitecture, engineering, and construction innovators to collaborate and help kickstart the movement to drastically change the industries which shape our built environments. More info here

Members of the Oregon Coastal Caucus discuss issues related to their region during the Wednesday 

The Oregon Coast Economic 
Summit co-met during the Summit and brought together 
congressional, state, local and tribal leaders, public policy advocates, academics and private partners to discuss a wide range of topics that recognize the unique economic diversity of our coastal and rural communities.



Policy Tours
PNWER organized several policy tours in and around the Portland area focused on innovative best practices to share with regional policy makers. The tours included:  OTRADI Health and Bioscience Innovations Incubator,  Port of Portland Tour, Sustainable and Resilient Portland Walking Tour, and a full day tour of leading industries in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge - Bonneville Dam and Insitu Unmanned Aircraft.

Catch Brad Smith, Microsoft, presentation as well as the Infrastructure and Transportation Sessions courtesy of TVW. Available here
Other Highlights

Ninth Circuit Senior Circuit Judge Edward Leavy and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon

Keynote Breakfast featuring Mayor Don Iveson, City of Edmonton

Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod addresses the audience

New PNWER President Sen. Roblan with Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson

Keynote Luncheon featuring Dr. Stephen E. Flynn, Founding Director of Center for Resilience Studies, Northeastern University and Dr. Randy Kirchain, Co-Director of the Concrete Sustainability Hub, MIT

Hon. Lawrence MacAulay- Minister of Agriculture, Government of Canada

You are invited to Legislative Leadership Academy and Economic Leadership ForumWinter
November 5-7 in Victoria, B.C.

Legislative Leadership Academy
November 5-7

For legislators and related staff.
The bi-annual Legislative Leadership Academy is designed to assist legislators in developing important relationships with their colleagues from neighboring jurisdictions. Hands-on workshops give legislators a better understanding of how we govern state, provincial and federal systems. Learn more about Canadian federal and provincial governments, discuss common challenges for legislators and work to develop regional solutions.

Economic Leadership Forum
November 6-7

All are welcome.
The Annual Economic Leadership Forum provides an opportunity for local, state, and provincial leaders in both the public and private sectors to carry out focused, in-depth discussions on key subjects affecting our regional economy.

The Forum's comfortable, collaborative atmosphere is perfect for making and strengthening cross-border relationships.

Registration opening soon!

We will be at the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel. Click here for the PNWER room discount.

Relax on a beautiful journey via the Victoria Clipper and enjoy a 10% PNWER discount. Information on ferry and flights to Victoria available here. Photos courtesy of Visit Victoria. 

PNWER in the News
Check out the media highlights from the 2017 PNWER Annual Summit.  Below are few of the stories from the summit.

If NAFTA isn't broken, be careful how you fix it, says Minister MacAulay -

NAFTA leads PNWER conference - Oregon Business

Arnie Roblan is the new president of PNW economic region - The World

Northwest Economic Summit Brings 700 Business, Education Leaders To Oregon - Oregon Public Broadcasting

Minister MacAuley visits Oregon and Idaho to promote Canada-U.S. agricultural trade - PR Newswire

NAFTA 'benefits both sides', says MacAulay - The Guardian

New climate association discusses challenges, opportunities - Oregon Business

By Bullet Train From Portland To Seattle To Vancouver, BC? Feasibility Study Underway - KUOW
Collaboration - The Key to Driving Innovation in the Region
Guest Contribution 
Laboratory Director Steve Ashby highlighted research, development and commercialization of technologies in the region.
T he Northwest region has a long history of innovation and Battelle, which manages Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Wash., is proud to be a part of it. From exploring new methods to produce biofuels, to developing efficient transportation technologies and demonstrating the vision of tomorrow's transactive campuses, our researchers collaborate across the region to deliver new energy solutions.
Of course, managing a Department of Energy national laboratory like PNNL with a budget of more than $900 million comes with the obligation and responsibility to ensure taxpayer-funded research and development yields economic benefit for our nation. Last year, Battelle's 4,400 employees at PNNL averaged one invention disclosure every business day and two U.S. or foreign patents every week-with more than 2,500 patents granted in PNNL's 52 years.  But novel ideas are not enough. PNNL goes a step further to drive innovation in the region through collaborations with industry, academia and other research institutions.
For example, the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project brought together some of the region's pioneers in a unique demonstration across five Northwest states involving 60,000 metered customers. With primary funding from DOE, this Battelle-led project was made possible by a mix of public and private funding and incorporated participants from electric utilities and technology vendors, as well as the University of Washington and Washington State University.

We team with industry to move technologies forward, combining our technical expertise with their knowledge of end users and view of the market.  One mechanism, DOE's Small Business Vouchers Pilot, helps small businesses in the clean energy sector advance next-generation technologies by giving them access to the expertise and specialized equipment of the national labs such as PNNL.

We also seek to engage in events that allow us to gather with colleagues from across the region to share ideas about how we can work together to make it stronger, such as the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region Annual Summit in July. At this meeting, Laboratory Director Steve Ashby highlighted research, development and commercialization of technologies in the region. He emphasized how the Northwest can be at the forefront of innovation with a number of valuable resources and capabilities including national labs, universities and industrial alliances that can be harnessed to increase economic competitiveness.

Jud Virden, Associate Laboratory Director for the Energy and Environment Directorate , also spoke at the PNWER Annual Summit about energy solutions for the remote and rural communities in the region that face major challenges when it comes to reliable, efficient and affordable energy.

Three other PNNL experts participated in panel discussions, providing their ideas and input as part of engaging sessions with leaders from around the region. Their sessions provided a view into exciting opportunities for the Northwest to emerge as a leader including:   
  • The emerging marine renewable energy sector and the unique benefits and challenges of the Northwest's abundant renewable energy sources--from rivers to wind, solar to tides-and the unique benefits and challenges they offer
  • Cybersecurity and a look at how disaster response may change when the underlying disaster is cyber-caused or includes a cyber component
  • Technologies impacting disaster resilience, including the function and resilience of high-speed wireless networks, cell phones, smart cities and the Internet.
Looking forward on a broader scale, PNNL is partnering with universities, industry and national labs across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska to develop a powerful Northwest innovation ecosystem focused on increasing regional prosperity, competitiveness and job creation. This collaboration will help bridge federally funded research and development with state and regional industrial development to accelerate the region's energy innovation pipeline. It will also identify opportunities to pursue regional innovation initiatives and bolster the region's STEM workforce.

It has been said that invention is the process of turning money into ideas and innovation is the process of turning ideas into money. By working together, we can drive innovation in the Northwest-creating a sustainable future and establishing this region as a leader. Take a look at opportunities for collaborative research or check out our available technologies.

This article is a guest submission. The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region is not responsible for the content of this piece. 
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The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) was  created in 1991 by the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories. 

It is a statutory public/private non-profit dedicated to  increasing the economic well-being and quality of life for all citizens of the region, while maintaining and enhancing our natural environment.

Our overarching goals are to:
  • Coordinate provincial and state policies throughout the region
  • Identify and promote "models of success"
  • Serve as a conduit to exchange information.
  • Promote greater regional collaboration
  • Enhance the competitiveness of the region in both domestic and international markets
  • Leverage regional influence in Ottawa and Washington D.C.
  • Achieve continued economic growth while maintaining the region's natural environment
PNWER's 21 working groups develop yearly action items at our Summits to continually advance policy initiatives with public and private stakeholders. 

Learn more at