Monday, October 30, 2017

EIRMC names new assistant administrator

Nick Manning
Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center has named Nicholas Manning to the hospital’s administrative team. As an assistant administrator, Manning partners with EIRMC’s leadership in administering daily operations and directly leads several departments.

Manning comes to EIRMC from HCA’s (EIRMC’s parent company) Mountain Division, where he most recently served as senior director of operations improvement. Prior to that, he served as associate administrator at Odessa Regional Medical Center, a 225-bed facility in Odessa, Texas. He has also held positions at Ogden Regional Medical Center, a sister HCA hospital in Ogden, Utah, and a position as division director of support services at HCA’s Mountain Division.

Manning earned his bachelor's in health administrative services from Weber State University and his Masters of Business Administration in Healthcare Management from the University of Scranton. Manning is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Manning was born and raised in Ogden, Utah. He enjoys camping, hiking, skiing, and rock hounding. He is an avid supporter of the arts and is committed to building stronger communities through participant engagement and through fostering meaningful relationships with others.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Economic development in Idaho Falls is about more than big box stores

The INL development on Idaho Falls' north side is hugely important.
The election fuss about Idaho Falls “losing” business to Ammon and unincorporated Bonneville County only makes sense if you look at economic development in a “winners and losers” way. It’s a little early for a year-end economic roundup, but in light of the coming mayoral election let’s look at what’s been happening in Idaho Falls recently.

The Broadway at the corner of Broadway and Memorial promises to be a spectacular addition to downtown. Renovation of the Bonneville Hotel, the city’s crown jewel in 1927, is likely to start in the spring. Neither would have come about without the efforts of the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency, which had conducted a study analyzing demand for downtown housing. The report that followed estimated a demand for housing units between 455 to 502 units.

Studies are one thing, but I think the most significant thing to happen downtown was the success of the the lofts at 504 Shoup Avenue, in the old Montgomery Ward building, above Happy’s. Those eight units filled right up, demonstrating to everyone a desire for nice living space downtown.

Springhill Suites, Eagle Rock Indian Motorcycle and Culver's have gotten things moving at Taylor Crossing on the River, and the Waterfront at Snake River Landing has filled an important niche.

Apple Athletic owner Steve Vucovich is developing the 21,000 square feet near to Smith’s on Woodruff Avenue, which has been vacant since Curtiss-Wright Flow Control Scientech relocated its offices to Snake River Landing in 2014.

The biggest economic development of the past year was the Idaho Legislature’s  approval of $90 million in bonds to fund the construction of two new Idaho National Laboratory buildings: the Cybercore Integration Center and the Collaborative Computing Center. The first will serve as a research, education and training facility for cybersecurity work and the second will host a new supercomputer for modeling and simulation workloads. University partners in the state will also be able to use the supercomputer for their research and education efforts. The activities are expected to bring 500 high-paying tech jobs into the area, plus approximately 1,000 temporary construction jobs.

Personally, I’d like to know what’s up with electrical power development on the city’s north side. With all the high-tech development that has taken place, reliable electricity is absolutely essential. When the power glitches out at the Energy Innovation Laboratory or the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, it puts research and expensive equipment in jeopardy.

We haven't heard much about the North Loop Transmission Project. Considering all the bad press the previous administration got in 2012, my assumption is that Idaho Falls is working toward getting this issue resolved under the radar. I know the city has good relations with INL, pursuing a two-year, $1 million grid modernization collaboration to make the city’s municipal power distribution more dependable.

Overall, I think the present administration has shown a very thoughtful and measured approach to growth, not chasing after "bright shiny objects" but looking at development in a sensible and progressive way. Both Idaho Falls and Ammon have more important things to attend to than bragging about who got which big box store.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

INL exceeds small business procurement goal for fifth straight year

For the fifth consecutive year, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory has exceeded its small business procurement goal and the commitment it made to do business in the state of Idaho.

When fiscal year 2017 ended on Sept. 30, Battelle Energy Alliance, which has the INL management and operations contract with DOE, reported it had spent $194,555,080 with small business. That represents 58.1 percent of the business INL did overall and far surpasses the $150.7 million (51 percent) it agreed to at the beginning of the fiscal year.

INL spent 41.8 percent with small businesses in Idaho, far above the 30 percent attainment goal set for the year.

“We very much value our partnership with so many innovative Idaho businesses,” said Dennis Newby, INL chief financial officer. “We are fortunate to work with high-caliber businesses across Idaho that support our needs.”

In this last year, INL prioritized strengthening its partnership with small business, paying particular attention to businesses in Idaho. Small business goals are part of the DOE contract, and each year, new goals are negotiated to determine what percentage of procurement volume is to be set aside.

INL contracts with small businesses for materials and services that include consumables such as office supplies, fuels, and information technology equipment, as well as construction services and skilled expertise in key research areas.

INL has a long history of meeting DOE procurement goals, but this year it wanted to go beyond what was typical. The INL small business team travels throughout Idaho to share opportunities for contracting and partnering to do research, and shares information about proposal writing to increase a business’s chances of receiving an award. This effort paid off.

The national statutory requirement for small business procurement is 51 percent. In 2016 and 2015, INL hit 58.6 percent and 55.9 percent, respectively, so agreeing to the national requirement was a bar lab leadership felt it could clear easily. INL has worked hard to cultivate relationships with small businesses, especially ones in Idaho, said Stacey Francis, the lab’s Small Business Program manager.

“It is a win-win when we have local businesses able to supply us with what we need,” Francis said. “We recognize the benefit of partnering with small business for ease of use, the level of expertise available and exceptional customer service.”

Socioeconomic goals are also set for small, disadvantaged businesses, Historically Underutilized Business (HUBZone) businesses, firms owned by women and service-disabled veterans, and businesses in Idaho. In FY-17, INL also met its five socioeconomic procurement goals for the third straight year.

“I am proud of INL’s commitment to work with small business,” Francis said. “As the lab continues to grow, small business will continue to play a big part in our success.”

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Splash plans grand opening Saturday at new location

Splash has a new location on Cliff Street.
Splash Self-Serve Pet Spa will be having a grand opening Saturday at its new, larger location, at 330 Cliff Street.

There will be goodies for goodies for children and adults, an hourly raffle for free washes, discounted pet washes, $10 nail trimmings and pet food sales. The Snake River Animal Shelter will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with adoptable animals looking for their “fur-ever” homes. Each animal adopted will also receive a free wash.

Bring your pet in costume, and if there are enough participants, there will be a “cutest costume” contest at noon.

Splash has been in downtown Idaho Falls since March 2014, when owner Tina Dixon opened next door to Chesbro Music. Dixon had moved from Bakersfield, Calif., and knew it was the small business idea she wanted to pursue. Splash has custom-built tubs that are big enough for large breeds but can be converted to handle little critters, with water temperatures regulated. For $15, you get access, shampoo, towels, ear wipes and a blow dryer. And no more cleaning dog hair out of the bathtub drain.

Since opening, Dixon has been expanding the line of toys, food and accessories for sale in the shop. She has been committed to everything in the shop being made in the United States, with special preference given to anything made locally. For more information, call (208) 881-1021.

Friday, October 20, 2017

INL erects new signs on U.S. 20

One of the new INL signs on U.S. Highway 20, in the Arco Desert.
If you've gone west on U.S. 20 recently, it's pretty hard not to notice that the Idaho National Laboratory desert site entrance signs -- billboards for decades -- have been upgraded to a much classier presentation.

At both ends of the site on the Arco Highway, INL Facilities & Site Services have erected large monument signs on concrete bases with rock faces at the bottom. Not only do the entrance signs help demarcate federal property boundaries, they serve as an important branding and advertising tool.

INL Director Mark Peters was a driving force behind replacing the varying and inconsistent previous signage.

“When presented with options to describe INL on the signs, I chose ‘Changing the World’s Energy Future,’ because we want everyone to be aware of our regional, national and international impact on energy security,” Peters said. “Virtually every nuclear reactor design in the world has been based on INL research and development, including those for submarines and aircraft carriers. It is imperative – for our economy, national security and to ensure safe and environmentally friendly energy systems around the globe – that INL continues to help our country lead the world.”

Debby Tate, Campus Development Office (CDO) director, said, “The new signs provide a sense of maturation and elegance to INL.” Remaining boundary, or “billboard,” signs on roadways at other Site entrances are scheduled for replacement in the coming months. The new signs, which had been in the planning stage for several years until funds became available, were designed by INL’s very own David Combs, INL art director and branding specialist, and constructed by YESCO Sign & Lighting Service of Idaho Falls.

“The vision for the monument signs was to create markers that not only showed the geographic boundaries, but that had significant impact and the gravity appropriate for an institution like our national laboratory,” Combs said.

INL dates back to 1949, when the Atomic Energy Commission selected the area that encompassed the old Naval Proving Ground and surrounding lands to build the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS), whose mission was to develop and demonstrate peaceful uses of nuclear power. The name of the facility changed over the years: in 1974, it was named the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) to encompass broader research missions; in 1997, it became the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) to reflect growing cleanup and waste management missions and research; in 2005, the INEEL became Idaho National Laboratory, which is under the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy. As names such as these have changed, INL entrance signs have reflected those changes over the decades.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ann Marie Peters Joins College of Eastern Idaho

Ann Marie Peters recently joined the College of Eastern Idaho as the director of strategic partnerships.

Peters is the co-founder of Interview Savvy, a Chicago-based training and career skills firm. She has more 20 years of experience in behavioral coaching, strategic planning, consulting, and project management in the financial services and banking industry. She is credited with “writing, managing and launching a groundbreaking international management behavioral coaching program,” according to a biography provided by the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce. Peters’ human resources expertise includes incentive program development and management as well as employee recruitment and hiring. Her reputation as a start-up and turnaround expert resulted in her being the featured employee for HSBC in Working Mother Magazine’s Top 100 Companies, the biography said.

Peters received her bachelor's in behavioral sciences from the University of Chicago and her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Update on Planet Fitness in Idaho Falls

Here's an update on the Planet Fitness story that ran Sept. 20. Apple Athletic Club owner Steve Vucovich, who applied Aug. 30 for a building permit with his partner, Keith Larsen, says he signed a lease on the property at 200 South Woodruff on Oct. 3.

North of Smith’s, the space has been empty since Curtiss-Wright Flow Control Scientech relocated its offices to Snake River Landing in 2014.

With more than 1,400 clubs in the United States, Planet Fitness is one of the largest fitness club franchises. The club's two membership levels are $10 and $19.99 per month. The $10 per month level includes access to cardio and strength equipment, unlimited group fitness instruction and pizza and bagels once a month. The $19.99 per month (“Black Card”) level allows members to bring one guest per day at no charge, access to all Planet Fitness locations, and access to extra amenities, such as tanning booths and massage chairs.

Although the city's building department website,, reports the project is 240,000 square feet, the actual building space is 21,500 square feet.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Echelon Group hires Idaho Falls office manager

Jessica Weinrich
Echelon Group, an employee benefits and retirement plan provider, has hired Jessica Weinrich to manage its newly opened Idaho Falls office, at 1070 Riverwalk Drive, Suite 254. Weinrich comes from Development Workshop, the Idaho Falls non-profit community rehabilitation program, where she was director of administrative services.

Echelon Group’s corporate headquarters are in Boise. The firm provides customized employee benefits, group insurance, retirement plans/401Ks, financial planning and individual insurance and investment management services in Idaho. It was founded in 2004, but it dates back to 1981, when Donald L. Reiman, the company's president, entered the financial-services industry as an independent insurance contractor.

Friday, October 6, 2017

I.F. company MarCom LLC buys lab in Butte, Mont.

MarCom LLC, an Idaho Falls company, has finalized an agreement with E Capital Partners LLC to acquire the laboratory assets from MSE Inc. in Butte, Mont. It will reopen there as MarCom Laboratory Services on Nov. 1.

MarCom is an SBA-certified Native American-owned, 8(a), and woman-owned business that provides management, administrative, engineering, nuclear operations, information technology services, SCADA, and health and safety services to U.S. Department of Energy sites as well as commercial customers across the country, a news release from the company said.

The Butte, Mont., laboratory will provide analytical services for water and soil samples for public and private entities. “MarCom Laboratory Services is the newest addition to our growing portfolio of services, allowing us to become more diversified while continuing to grow,” said Marcella Medor, MarCom’s president, in the release.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

SpringHill Suites by Marriott holds grand opening

An artist's rendering of the new SpringHill Suites by Marriott hotel in Idaho Falls, by the Snake River.
The new SpringHill Suites by Marriott, just south of the Marriott Residence Inn, held its grand opening Monday, featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber Ambassadors.

The hotel, at 665 Riverwalk Drive, was built by Woodbury Corp., a full-service real estate development and management company based in Salt Lake City, in partnership with McNeil Development, the company owned by brothers Rollie and Lorin Walker, developers of the Taylor Crossing on the River project.

The new 124-room hotel was designed for both business and leisure travelers, a Woodbury Corp. news release said. Amenities include business services, complimentary Wi-Fi, same-day dry cleaning, guest laundry facilities, an indoor swimming pool with whirlpool, an outdoor patio area with a fire pit and a fitness center.

The hotel also has two meeting rooms with more than 1,170 square feet to accommodate gatherings of up to 40 people, with catering available if needed, the release said.

Bjoern Jaeger is the hotel’s general manager.

The new hotel brings 40 full-time jobs and increased tourism opportunities to Idaho Falls, according to the news release. The project also included the installation of a new quarter-mile road along the Snake River through Taylor Crossing on the River, increasing accessibility to the city.