By Rachel Pritchett
Clean, green industry was the theme of the annual Decision Makers’ Breakfast on Thursday.
Two Bainbridge Island firms were held up as examples of the future at the annual economic-development gathering hosted by the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance. Sponsors hinted more companies such as In The Works and Evergreen Electromotive would fit right in.
Underlying all that is the Port of Bremerton’s proposed Kitsap Sustainable Energy and Economic Development project, which calls for a green business incubator surrounded by startups companies near the Bremerton National Airport.
The owners of In The Works spoke last year with Port of Bremerton leaders about someday locating in the proposed park. Those talks did not result in a lease, however.
Some 200 business people heard In The Works CEO Scott Reynvaan explain his company’s prototype catalytic converter for gas-driven pleasure boats. The converter cuts levels of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides almost down to zero.
He and the other owners of the startups company hope to expand the technology to diesel, and to uses in industry and agriculture, he said Thursday.
All while keeping the planet green.
“For us, it’s more about the people, the planet and the profit,” in that order, Reynvaan said in describing his company’s mission.
Bob Fraik, founder of Evergreen Electromotive, has similar passion about climate change and what it will mean for his 5-year-old daughter.
“I’m really concerned what her world’s going to be like,” he said.
Fraik began Evergreen Electromotive in 2007 to develop new-generation electric vehicles to help the environment and cut down on dependence on foreign oil. His company rolled out a prototype last year, and the small white hatchback stood on display outside the Kitsap Conference Center on the Bremerton waterfront, where the Decision Makers’ Breakfast took place.
Fraik is aiming for the slower, non-highway niche, such as fleets of parking-patrol vehicles.
Both admitted developing breaking-edge technologies in a recession isn’t easy.
“I’ve never seen anything like we’re experiencing today,” Fraik said.
But both also remain convinced their prototypes will succeed.
Detroit had its shot with the electric car, Fraik said.
“I personally don’t believe that’s where the next-generation solutions are going to be coming from,” he said.
Next up at the breakfast was well-known economist John Mitchell of Portland, Ore., a former banker and professor.
Mitchell called this recession “a black swan,” or something that’s seldom seen. What makes this recession so unique is that it’s driven by woes in the housing industry and credit markets, he said.
Mitchell said this recession, while very serious, will begin to turn around in late 2009, but full recovery will take much longer.
It was the 11th year for the Decision Makers Breakfast.