Panhandle Area Council: PAC-ing an Economic Punch

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

Wally Jacobson has been executive director of the Hayden-based Panhandle Area Council economic development district and nonprofit for about four years. (Photos by Brian Walker/ The business Journal of North Idaho)

The nonprofit PAC, a Hayden-based regional organization that spurs on economic development in the five northern counties of Idaho, helped King’s Global Navigation Sciences soar.

“Our new project required additional space and funding, and PAC was there to help,” King said.

The business is among those that lease space at PAC’s incubator business center next to the Coeur d’Alene Airport.

The trend among clients at the center, PAC Executive Director Wally Jacobson said, isn’t millennial business owners developing gadgets for the future. It’s entrepreneurs in their mid-40s and up.

“They’ve worked for the man; now they want to be the man,” said Jacobson, adding that there’s a waiting list to occupy space at the center because small industrial space is in demand. “Probably half of them still have other jobs.”

Companies at the center are varied and also include, but are not limited to, North Idaho Cider, Chase Machine, Bombastic Brewing and Lake City Cakes.

“It can’t be niche-focused because we’re not a big enough area for that,” Jacobson said.

PAC has been partnering with North Idaho businesses and governments for nearly 50 years on economic development efforts.