It's that most special time of year, loyal State of Trade readers...just like the "restaurant wars" episode of Top Chef every season or the Nordstrom men's sale, this is something you've been anticipating hotly and counting down the days until you see it. And finally your long 12 month wait is over: it's the annual Top Ten Blog Posts of 2013 summary blog post!!! This is a tradition that we do every year, and it's always one of our most popular posts. Even though most of you pore over each State of Trade blog post as soon as it comes out, and memorize each word as if it were a Shakespeare sonnet, the annual Top Ten Blog Posts blog post allows you to savor our cleverly written wisdom once again. It's hard to choose a top ten, since all of our posts are so fantastic, but somehow we have been able to select the crème de la crème. And here they are, in classic countdown fashion:

The holiday season is a nostalgic time for a lot of us: memories of family traditions, visions of sugar plum fairies, nonstop Warm 106.9 FM on the car radio…it’s easy to get emotional. So, maybe you’ll forgive me a little extra holiday emotion when I say “Holy $@!#@, WCIT has had a productive year!!!” It’s always awkward to be tooting your own horn (even if it’s a yuletide horn), but don’t just take my word for it. From policy advocacy and events to statewide outreach and communication efforts, WCIT has been actively engaged in efforts to increase Washington’s international competitiveness and drive trade and job growth in our state. And we have the list of accomplishments to prove it:

Or to clarify the title of this blog post, the Washington Trade Conference is definitely over. It took place on Monday, although we here at WCIT are only now coming down from our post-event high (and recovering from post-event exhaustion!). We were overjoyed with the incredible speakers and panelists, the questions from our audience and the energy in the room focused on policies and investments necessary to maximize Washington’s international competitiveness. Now that the conference is over, we’re even more excited to capitalize on that audience energy to engage a broad cross-section of our state’s employers in advocacy efforts on the policy issues highlighted on Monday.

In particular, our keynote speakers and panelists (you can see the agenda and speaker line up here) focused on a few key themes:

Wednesday, October 16, was a momentous day for WCIT and the nation – WCIT co-hosted its first Eastern Washington event, and Congress voted to reopen the government. To be clear, the Eastern Washington event is the thing that was momentous to WCIT…although we’re certainly happy that federal employees got to go back to work too (especially the ones who are busy negotiating new trade agreements!). Despite WCIT’s statewide role and its membership from across Washington, we had never actually co-hosted an event east of the Cascades. So we were very excited to join Greater Spokane Incorporated, Move Forward Washington and the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce to present “Trade on the Move,” a discussion on freight mobility issues in Eastern Washington.  

  130 business and community leaders from the Inland Northwest showed up at 7 am (!!) on a cold fall morning to discuss freight mobility policy, which is a testament to how important trade is to the Spokane region. Many of the major industries in Eastern Washington – agriculture, manufacturing, forestry and mining – depend on efficient and reliable freight mobility infrastructure to reach markets across the U.S. and the world. For those of you who couldn’t make the breakfast – which featured a panel discussion with rail, trucking and logistics industry leaders, a keynote address by Rosalyn Wilson (author of the annual State of Logistics Report) and a special (video) message from Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers – here are some major themes that emerged as part of the discussions: