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Pacific NW Innovation Summit, 9/17-18

SEATTLE — Leading thinkers,doers and innovators will discuss the factors behind successful regional innovation and collaboration, entrepreneurship and start-ups, and the role of angel and venture capital, Sept. 17 – 19, at Intiman Playhouse. The public is invited to attend the Pacific Northwest Innovation Summit, part of the Next 50, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

The Pacific Northwest Innovation Summit presents a lineup of on-stage speakers that is sure to inform, provoke and energize a movement toward more dynamic collaborations and economic growth in the Pacific Northwest. If the region were a country – Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Alaska, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northern Territories, Yukon—it would be the 14th largest economy in the world.

The Summit begins with an evening networking reception at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 17, followed by a lively talk by the first nationally acclaimed comedian economist Yorum Baumann, PhD. On Tuesday, Sept. 18, the program begins in earnest with a focus on four topics.

 Panel One investigates the secret sauce of a successful innovation economy. Washington State will be the case study. Confirmed panelists are: 

  • Roger Woodworth, Chief Strategy Officer at Avista Corporation and Chair of the Washington Economic Development Commission (WEDC)
  • Elson S. Floyd, President, Washington State University
  • Rogers Weed, Director, Commerce Department
  • Cindy Zehnder, Chair of the Washington Workforce Board
  • Randy Gardiner, Chairman, President, CEO, Red Dot 
  • Christina Lomasney, Co-founder, President, CEO of Modumetal
  • Egils Milbergs, Executive Director, WEDC, will serve as moderator 

Panel Two addresses significant cross-border opportunities underway in applied research, alternative energy systems, smart grid, transportation and other areas. Confirmed panelists include: 

  • Michael Kluse, Director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Senator Jim Kastama, Chair, Senate Economic Development, Trade and Innovation Committee and co-chair of the PNWER Innovation Working Group
  • Miles Drake, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Weyerhaesuer Corporation
  • Chen-Ching Liu, Boeing Distinguished Professor at Washington State University, founder WSU Energy Systems Innovation Center and a STARs researcher in smart grid
  • Matt Morrison, President, Pacific Northwest Economic Region, will moderate 

Panel Three deals with the hot topic of fostering entrepreneurship. Confirmed panelists include: 

  • Fred Holt, director of the Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program, UW Center for Commercialization
  • Kevin Petersen, WSU Entrepreneur-in-Residence
  • Bryan Mistele, Co-founder, President and CEO of INRIX, the leading global provider of traffic information and driver services
  • Connie Bourassa-Shaw, director of the University of Washington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and manager of the UW Business Plan Competition awarding  over $1.3 million for 105 companies
  • Marc Nager, CEO and co-director of Startup Weekend, which organizes 54-hour events where entrepreneurs share ideas, form teams, build products and launch start-ups
  • Luke Timmerman, Seattle editor for Xconomy and national biotech editor, will moderate 

Panel Four gets to the heart of financing innovation and start-up companies. Confirmed panelists include: 

  • JP Michael,  Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, Comerica Bank
  • Matt Mcilwain,  Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group and Madrona Venture Fund V
  • Dan Rosen, Alliance for Angels, CEO and President of Dan Rosen & Associates
  • Kirk Washington, Partner, Yaletown Venture Partners
  • Linden Rhoads, Vice Provost, UW Center for Commercialization
  • Rick LeFaivre, Partner, OVP Venture Partners, and WEDC commissioner will moderate 

The Summit conclude with a fascinating look into Innovation and the Future Retailing featuring Richard Galanti, Executive VP and CFO for COSTCO, a company founded in 1983 in Kirkland, Wash and now a $90 billion behemoth operating in United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and the United States. 

Innovation was a major theme of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, thus, the summit celebrates Commerce and Innovation Economy Month of the Fair’s 50th anniversary with a focus on the importance of innovation in the region. Through gatherings, top speakers, panel discussions, workshops, and showcases, the month is dedicated to the future of worker skills, entrepreneurship, modernizing infrastructure and expanding global connections. 

The cost to attend the summit is $95. Register at For more information, visit

The event is presented by Pacific Northwest Economic Region and Washington Economic Development Commission and co-presented by Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association (WBBA), Washington State Department of Commerce, Washington Technology Industry Association and World Affairs Council.