Local business leaders, small-business owners and voters have relied on Whatcom Business Alliance to advocate on their behalf since 2013. It has become WBA’s role in the community to help stakeholders in Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale and throughout Whatcom County access policy information and fact-based research during key decision-making periods.

When important issues arise in Whatcom County — like potential policy changes or updates to local government regulations — Whatcom Business Alliance works to generate reliable, factual information that can be shared with business leaders and with voters.

Take the 2019 Cherry Point impact study, for example. This economic impact study explored the impacts of throttling the growth of many industrial companies that do business in the Cherry Point area west of Ferndale.

To generate valuable information about Cherry Point’s impact on Whatcom County, WBA contracted with an independent research organization – the Center for Economic and Business Research at Western Washington University – to explore and report on the economic impacts of companies operating within the Cherry Point industrial zone.

The report, which looks at such companies as the Phillips 66 and BP oil refineries, Alcoa’s Intalco Works aluminum smelter, Barlean’s Organic Oils and others, provides an overview of those companies’ economic impacts on Whatcom County and serves as a useful reference for communities that are examining the merits of heavy industry on their economies. To read the industry report, visit the WBA Policy Center.

WBA also contracted with the Center for Economic and Business Research for a study on the agriculture industry in Whatcom County. The purpose of that study was to clearly define the local agribusiness sector, including jobs and wages related to food production and those supported by the spending of people who work in farming.

Having a total picture of job, wage and spending data related to the agribusiness sector in farming communities such as Lynden, Sumas and the Nooksack Valley gives voters, local community leaders, politicians and businesspeople a better basis for decision-making.

These are just two examples of critical industry research funded by the Whatcom Business Alliance through membership fees and sponsorships by individuals and local companies.

WBA will continue to persist in the mission of providing fact-based research that business leaders and voters alike can rely on. There is more to come!