Ellensburg is hitting the refresh button on economic development with an “Unwind” event for local business owners and leaders, with special guest Lisa Brown, Director of the State Department of Commerce.

CenterFuse will host the “Unwind: A Casual Town Hall on Business Success in Ellensburg” Sept.17 at 6 p.m. at Iron Horse Brewery Pub, 412 N. Main St., according to a news release from event organizers.

CenterFuse, the former Ellensburg Business Development Authority, was established by the city in 1994 to support local business development. Over the past 18 months the board has updated its mission, vision, brand, and strategic plan to center on developing business and innovation in Ellensburg, as well as the strategic recruitment of new businesses.

“We’re launching our new approach to development with an event that focuses on businesses who’ve figured out how to make a business work here and also those who may be experiencing barriers to expansion,” said Carolyn Honeycutt, Executive Director of CenterFuse. “We want to listen and learn from successful entrepreneurs.”

Honeycutt, the former executive director of the Ellensburg Downtown Association, said the focus of the board shifted from management of the Ellensburg Business Incubator and the business park at Bowers Field airport, to helping to create a business environment that will support established entrepreneurs and attract new businesses with well-paying jobs.

The new focus of the board is reflected in the revised mission, vision, and values, and the brand that expresses them, including a new, easier to remember organization name, CenterFuse.

“We wanted to move away from the bland acronym “EBDA” and establish a name that expresses our desire to ignite business activity and innovation,” said Honeycutt, who said EBDA was easily confused with EDA, ESD, EPD and other abbreviations.

“We’ve reset bylaws, finances, board membership and just about every other aspect of the organization. Now we’re ready to get to work and support job growth and quality of life in Ellensburg.”

Honeycutt said CenterFuse is prioritizing community partnerships with the Kittitas Chamber of Commerce, Central Washington University, the Ellensburg Downtown Association, Kittitas County Commissioners and others in order to maximize and ensure coordination of economic development work.

Unwind Session I will focus on business owners and local leaders, with additional sessions in the near future that will center on other aspects of the community.

“We’re delighted that our kick-off event with local businesses will feature the state’s leader for economic development, the Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce,” said Honeycutt.

Lisa Brown will address local business owners, elected officials, and others at Unwind: A Casual Town Hall on Business Success in Ellensburg. Brown is a native of Spokane and former State Senate Majority Leader; she served as chancellor of the Spokane campus of Washington State University where she played a major role in the creation of the new College of Medicine. She was appointed to the Commerce directorship in January 2019.

For more information contact Carolyn Honeycutt at ellensburgcenterfuse@gmail.com or call 509-962-7146.

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