Young professionals group dissolves after 12 years

A professional development group made up of about 70 people disbanded at the close of 2017.

Emerging Tri-Cities — previously called Young Professionals Tri-Cities — dissolved Dec. 31.

“The needs for young and emerging professionals are well-served in the community through other, more industry specific organizations. It is the consensus of the board that the time and financial resources dedicated to (Emerging Tri-Cities) would be better spent in support of other initiatives,” said N. Zach Ratkai, president of the Emerging Tri-Cities board, in an email to members and stakeholders.

Ratkai pointed to Fuse SPC’s co-working community and young professional groups associated with some of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory contractors, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, West Richland Chamber and the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber for their continued outreach and inclusion of young professionals. The LinkUp2Us networking group and Leadership Tri-Cities also contributed greatly, he said.

The 12-year-old group formed after Tri-City Development Council, or TRIDEC, commissioned a study that said more young professional support was needed to foster economic development and business attraction, Ratkai told the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

Young Professionals Tri-Cities formed in 2005 to attract, support and retain young professionals throughout the Tri-Cities.

“Nearly 13 years later, we feel that our initial contribution to the community has carried forward in the formation of other young professional groups. For this reason, we are incredibly proud of our community and the growth we have achieved,” Ratkai said in his email.

Emerging Tri-Cities spearheaded several events in 2017: a volunteer symposium, which connected over 40 community members to 17 nonprofits; Shop Around the Corner event, a panel of local small business owners who discussed how they started and what it was like to operate a small business in the Tri-Cities; a power networking event; and a city candidate forum with 18 candidates from four cities.

The group refunded membership costs to those who were not able to take advantage of all events in 2017 because they signed up later in the year. The board extended free memberships to existing members of Young Professionals Tri-Cities for 2017 after the rebrand. Membership was $25 for a year.

Ratkai ended his email by encouraging members “to continue to go out and support organizations that help develop our wonderful community.”

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