The Biz Buzz

Get the most up-to-date news, insights and analysis of Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound business.

NOTICE: The Biz Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved The Biz Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Sep. 2012

Sep.
30th

New second in command at Tacoma’s MultiCare

Tacoma’s MultiCare Health System has a new second-in-command.

Florence Chang has been named executive vice president of the not-for-profit, multiple-hospital health system.
Florence Chang
Florence Chang

“In this new role, Chang is responsible for inpatient and service operations of MultiCare – the hospitals, programs and services within them, as well as Information Services,” the health system said. The new executive vice president formerly served as MultiCare’s chief executive officer and senior vice president of Clinical Support Services. She has been with MultiCare for six years.

“Through her leadership and visionary thinking, Florence has been

Read more »

Sep.
28th

Gas prices up again slightly

Let’s hope this isn’t part of a new trend.

Gas prices, after dropping for about a week, are headed upward again in the South Sound. The average price of a gallon of gas in the Tacoma area Friday was $3.985 a gallon. That’s up from $3.979 Thursday and about three cents higher than it was earlier this week.

The Friday price is now just shy of where they were a week ago, $3.995 a gallon according to The News Tribune’s Gas Deal Finder.

Less expensive gas is still available. The area’s lowest prices, $3.75 a gallon, were at the Arco

Read more »

Sep.
27th

Zipcar rolling out Tacoma fleet

Car sharing network Zipcar Inc. is expanding its Puget Sound network, already 300 cars strong in King County, to Tacoma beginning this week.

The company already has a small presence in the South Sound with cars at three area universities, the University of Washington Tacoma, the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University, but expansion to 10 cars will widen the availability of the common use fleet.
Zipcar
Zipcar Mazda 3

Six of those cars will be stationed in downtown Tacoma with others spread throughout the community.

The vehicles downtown will be located in

Read more »

Sep.
26th

Port rivals Seattle and Tacoma meet with governor. Was detente on the agenda?

In their first meeting since Tacoma lured one of the Port of Seattle’s biggest customers to the City of Destiny, Seattle and Tacoma port executives and commissioners met with Gov. Chris Gregoire Wednesday in Olympia.

Did the discussion touch the subject of the cutthroat competition between the two ports? We’re still waiting to hear reports back from the session.

Officially, at least, the meeting’s agenda appeared tame enough.

Gregoire spokeswoman Karina Shagren said the meeting was called to update the governor’s office on maritime matters of concern to both major harbors and smaller state ports.

Port of Tacoma spokeswoman Tara

Read more »

Sep.
26th

Alaska Air authorizes $250-million share repurchase

Sea-Tac’s Alaska Air Group will repurchase $250 million worth of its own stock between now and the end of 2014, the airline holding company’s board announced Wednesday.

“This $250 million repurchase authorization by our board is the largest program we have ever announced, representing over 10 percent of the current market capitalization of our company. This action emphasizes our continued commitment to build long-term shareholder value and highlights our confidence in the future of Alaska Air Group,” President and Chief Executive Officer Brad Tilden said.

Alaska has repurchased $312 million worth of its own stock over the last five years

Read more »

Sep.
26th

Boeing union, company spar over retiree health benefits

The war of words over Boeing’s proposed new contract for its 23,000 engineers and technical workers heated up Wednesday.

The union representing Boeing’s engineers and technical workers rallied today against a Boeing contract proposal the union says could strip retirees of their medical benefits.

But Boeing countered that the union is needlessly alarming its members. The company, it said “has no plans to eliminate retiree medical benefits for current retirees.”

The rally at Boeing Commercial Airplane headquarters in downtown Seattle came as members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace are voting whether to accept a Boeing offer

Read more »

Sep.
26th

Pierce County planned community called Tehaleh, aka Cascadia, will have its grand opening this weekend

Western Washington’s largest planned community will be officially open for business on Saturday.

Tehaleh, called Cascadia for almost 20 years as it was carved out of the Bonney Lake plateau, will have 10 model homes ready for visitors beginning at 11 a.m. They will range in size from 1,700 square feet to 3,000 square feet. One of the models will be from the active adult neighborhood.

New owner Newland Communities chose five builders in June for the first 350 lots. Although it has been possible for people to buy a home since then, Newland vice president Scott Jones said this

Read more »

Sep.
26th

Tacoma’s Columbia Bank growing by 50 percent in merger with Oregon bank

Tacoma’s Columbia Banking System will grow some 50 percent in both branches and assets when it acquires Lake Oswego, Ore.’s West Coast Bancorp in a merger valued at $506 million, the banking company said today.

That merger, announced this morning, will create the largest community-based commercial bank in Washington and Oregon. The combined bank, which will bear Columbia’s name, will have 150 or so branches stretching from the Canadian border to Eugene, Ore. along the 1-5 corridor and from the Oregon coast to Eastern Washington and Oregon. The bank’s assets will total $7.2 billion.

Its nearest rival in the

Read more »