On Wednesday of this week, Russell Investments confirmed it will be moving all Tacoma-based employees up the freeway to downtown Seattle by the end of 2010.
BE Daily and BE Community invited readers to share their perspectives on the news, and what comes next for the City of Destiny. Here are some of the comments received (edited for space). You can read the full replies at BusinessExaminer.com.
Personally, when the Russell family sold their company to Northwestern Mutual, I believed that event marked the beginning of the end of Russell’s presence in Tacoma. Suffice to say, Russell Company was built to its present size through the efforts of its dedicated staff of professionals, many of which reside in Pierce, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties. Some will be forced to choose continued employment with Russell, or selling their homes, or facing significant inconveniences with commute travel.
—- Steve Barker, Gig Harbor
Downtown Tacoma is going to need life support. We’ve just lost our heart. Tacoma officials didn’t do a good enough job and now watch the casualties. Tacoma apparently couldn’t come up with a offsetting offer. The economy is adrift and sinking in Tacoma. Last one out of town please turn off the lights.
— A saddened employer
Should anyone be surprised that Russell has joined the parade of businesses that have left Tacoma? Tacoma is unfriendly to businesses. My question is: What do we do about it? My answer: Vote! Half of the Tacoma city council and the mayor’s seat are in an election this year. It’s time to look for a different approach.
— Jeff Becker
I just feel for all the Russell Associates who, in the worst market in a century, have to make the decision whether or not to uproot their families to move to a higher cost of living location or endure a horrible commute.
— Ned Witting
So many things to say, so little time. Start with:
1) Do a good post-mortem on the Russell retention effort and their decision. Learn from it, isolate any mistakes or shortcomings that contributed to it, then move on and don’t make the same mistakes again.
2) Stop crying “foul” and shift focus to winning the next round in this very high stakes game. Bring in some “fresh faces” to look at the challenge. Involve young people, small businesspeople and sharp individuals, perhaps those who’ve sat on the sidelines while Tacoma’s “elite” business and political leaders essentially “lost the game.”
3) Focus on making something happen, and soon, for the “bread and butter” of our employment base – small to medium-sized businesses, especially financial services companies, if possible.
4) Recognize that there are things wrong with Tacoma, just as there are many things right with it.
5) Stop thinking that government, no matter how highly paid or numerous its employees are, will solve the problem. Only businesses that make money and hire skilled people for living wages and grow successful.
— Scott Hamilton
If you have thoughts on this topic, or wish to agree or disagree with these comments, go to the BE Community and share what’s on your mind.