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Business Briefs – April 2021 –

Gesa makes $11M naming rights deal with WSU

The playing surface at Washington State University’s Martin Stadium is now called Gesa Field under a 10-year naming rights deal valued at $11 million.

Richland-based Gesa Credit Union and WSU announced the deal in March.

The value could go higher if consumer incentives are reached.

Don Miller, president and chief executive officer of Gesa, cast the agreement as an extension of the credit union’s commitment to its communities and to supporting educational causes.

“Partnering with WSU Athletics provides Gesa with elevated name recognition to expand our reach and strengthen membership,” he said in a statement.

It is the first major sponsorship deal announced since Gesa merged with Inspirus Credit Union, forming Washington’s second-largest credit union with nearly 260,000 members and $4.4 billion in assets.

Applications being accepted for Leadership Tri-Cities

Applications for Class 26 of Leadership Tri-Cities will be accepted through May 15.

The group is hosting an online information session at 7 p.m. April 28 with details about its program, how to apply and what to expect.

The program’s primary goal is to educate current and future leaders about the community and themselves; foster development of connections between class members, alumni and community leaders; and improve leadership skills.

Over the course of nearly year, class members attend several sessions led by community experts focusing on the various sectors and industries shaping the region. The program kicks off with a ropes course in Columbia Park and an overnight retreat in Wenatchee.

Class members also must complete a class project that benefits a community organization.

Tuition is $1,400 which covers fees, meals and session-related transportation. Tuition may be paid by the participant, employer, sponsor or from a combination. All participants are required to personally pay at least $140 of their tuition. A limited amount of financial aid is available.

Participants must live or work in Benton and Franklin counties. Only one person is typically selected from any one company or public agency per class.

Interviews are required. Selections will be made by May 31.

Register for the April 28 information session on Leadership Tri-Cities’ Facebook page.

For more information and to apply, go to

Tour the Tri-Cities from anywhere

Prospective tourists can now get a virtual reality view of the Tri-Cities courtesy Visit Tri-Cities and SkyNav.

Thanks to a new platform, visitors can visit local sights with a combination of images, videos and information.

Local businesses are included on the virtual tour in partnership with the region’s tourism agency.

Go to for details.

Lourdes Health has a new CEO

Joan White-Wagoner has been named chief executive officer of Pasco’s Lourdes health, part of the LifePoint Health system.

She succeeds Chad Pew, who had served as interim CEO since September.

White-Wagoner most recently served as senior managing director at MRN Healthcare Management in Washington, North Carolina. She previously held executive positions with health care organizations in Arkansas and Texas.

White-Wagoner earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and master’s degrees in health and business administration from the University of Maryland. She is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Area code dialing changes for all Washington calls

Callers within the Washington 509 area code may start including the area code when dialing later this month.

Beginning April 24, telecommunications service providers will allow 10-digit dialing to help prepare 509 callers for mandatory dialing changes required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Currently, some callers can only use seven-digit dialing for calls within the 509 area code.

Starting Oct. 24, calls made without adding the area code to the seven-digit phone number may not go through, and in July 2022 service providers will completely remove seven-digit dialing from their networks.

This change to 10-digit dialing in 509 is a first step toward ensuring that everyone in the country will be able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using a three-digit code of 988 that launches in 2022.

Requiring the area code also will ensure that customers who already have 988 as the prefix in their phone number don’t have trouble making or receiving calls once the new three-digit dialing shortcut launches. No phone numbers will change because of this order.

Any business with a 509 telephone number should check its advertising and other materials to make sure it includes the area code when listing its telephone numbers, officials said.

In 2017, all western Washington area codes switched to 10-digit dialing, leaving 509 as the only area code in the state that hasn’t made the change from seven digit to 10-digit dialing.

Report: Covid-19 rates dropping in nursing homes

New Covid-19 cases in nursing homes dropped 82% from their pandemic high, according to a report citing figures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Nursing homes saw a steep decline compared to the peak of 30,000 the week of Dec. 20, 2020, according to a report from the American Heath Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.

The report cites the impact of Covid-19 vaccination efforts in facilities catering to seniors for helping lower infection rates.

GoFundMe started for Rocco’s owner Rob Curet

Rob Curet, the owner of Rocco’s Pizza in Pasco and backer of the new edition in Kennewick, is being treated for cancer detected when he was treated for a ski injury.

Curet was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that had metastasized into his bones. He is pursuing specialized treatment that uses immunotherapy to target cancer. 

Supporters can bring donations to Rocco’s Pizza in Kennewick, 7911 W. Grandridge Blvd. 

To contribute to the GoFundME campaign, go to

BFT offers bus service to vaccination sites

Ben Franklin Transit has adjusted its services to help residents reach local Covid-19 vaccination sites.

BFT expanded access to reserved rides for Dial-A-Ride services. Call 509-195-0160 to schedule trips to and from vaccine sites.

Also, BFT Connect, the on-demand service, offers expanded destination options to local vaccination sites. Call 509-204-4189 to request a ride.

Go to for more information about using public transportation to get to vaccination clinics at local pharmacies and other locations.

Installed Building Products acquires local company 

Installed Building Products Inc. (NYSE: IBP), an installer of insulation and complementary building products, recently announced the acquisition of I.W. International Insulation Inc., doing business as Intermountain West Insulation. 

Founded in 1981, Intermountain has six locations throughout Washington and is headquartered in Kennewick. The company primarily provides insulation installation services to residential customers throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

“With approximately $34.4 million of annual revenue, Intermountain significantly expands our single-family residential insulation installation services in the Pacific Northwest,” said Jeff Edwards, chairman and chief executive officer. “Acquisitions remain a key component of our growth strategy.”

Fire season is coming. Is your home ready?

A wet spring means conditions are ripe for wildfires in the Mid-Columbia.

Now is the time for property owners to protect their homes and businesses from damage in the dry months ahead, according to Chief Paul Carlyle of Benton Fire District 4, based in West Richland, which responded to several vegetation fires through March.

Carlyle advises property owners to remove flammable materials from their properties and take steps to aid firefighters, including maintaining a defensible space around structures, keeping lawns well watered and debris cleared.

IRS extends filing  deadlines to May 17

The Internal Revenue Service has extended the deadline to file income tax returns, make payments and other deadlines to May 17.

Under the new schedule, taxpayers can made 2020 contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), health savings accounts and Coverdell education savings accounts.

The deadline to claim a refund on 2017 returns is extended to May 17 as well.

The April 15 deadline to make estimated tax payments was not changed.