MISSION STATEMENT

The Yakima County Development Association will enhance the income, quality of life, and employment stability of Yakima County residents by retaining, expanding and recruiting new business and industry.

MEET THE YCDA TEAM

Jonathan Smith

Executive Director

Jonathan is a Certified Economic Developer with thirteen years of rural economic development experience. His key accomplishments include successful recruitment of national and international companies and assisting local businesses with expansions and exporting projects. In total, Smith has helped over twenty companies locate or expand new operations. These companies have invested over $1.5 billion in facilities and equipment and have created approximately 1,700 jobs.

Jon also has experience with infrastructure development and has helped secure over $35 million of grant and loan funding for job creating projects. This includes funding for rail, water, sewer, roads, electrical infrastructure and fiber optics.

Some of Jon’s most rewarding work has been coordinating workforce development programs between businesses and educational institutions. These training programs resulted in hundreds of local residents receiving the training and skills they need to be successful in local family wage jobs. Additionally, Jon has worked with small businesses and rural communities to help develop main streets and spur business growth in distressed areas.

Smith is the Chair of the Washington Economic Development Association and a board member of the South Central Workforce Development Council and  Yakima SHRM, the local professional HR Association. He has a Master’s Degree in Communication & Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Communication with a minor in Economics from the University of Idaho.

Joe Schmitt

Economic Development Manager

Joe Schmitt joined our team in 2015.

Schmitt is responsible for developing marketing programming designed to encourage the location of new business and manufacturing facilities in Yakima County. Schmitt also works with local employers to attract technical and professional employees to the area as well as implement strategies to improve regional workforce preparedness and talent retention.  As part of his duties Joe manages the YCDA’s web and social media initiatives, marketing, and outreach.

Schmitt has an undergraduate degree in English from Washington State University and brings over a decade of entrepreneurial success as well as extensive public relations, outreach, marketing and media experience to the position.

Monica Caoile

Investor Relations Manager

Monica joined the YCDA Team in 2019 managing YCDA’s investor relations and fundraising campaigns.

Caoile is an essential part of the organization as she provides an avenue for consistent communication and feedback from YCDA investors and stakeholders.

Monica’s background includes the Memorial Foundation where she worked as Community Engagement Coordinator. She headed up the Passion for the Village Fundraiser to bring awareness to the services provided at Children’s Village. She held stakeholder meetings for community members to learn more about the programs offered at North Star Lodge and Cottage in the Meadow. Caoile also led the Foundation’s golf tournament in partnership with Children’s Miracle Network to raise money for the NICU unit at Virginia Mason Memorial. During her time there, Monica broke records by raising more money for these programs than had ever been done in the past.

Before the Memorial Foundation, Monica managed a local business for 15 years. She led a staff of 40 employees and learned first-hand the challenges and rewards of running a business.

Caoile brings a wealth of skillset including written and interpersonal communication, research, fundraising, leadership, creativity, logistics, and problem-solving. All of which are important to leading the efforts as the Investor Relations Manager.

Monica attended Central Washington University where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations with a Minor in Nonprofit Organization Management.

Carmela Solorzano

Carmela Solorzano

Communication and Events Manager

Carmela brings a wealth of experience to the YCDA team. For over 19 years, she worked for the Yakima Herald Republic. Her last ten years were in management, with her last two years as Director of Sales where she led her team working with small to medium size area businesses in developing strategies for reaching potential customers in both traditional print and digital marketing campaigns.  Carmela is excited to continue connecting with local businesses through her work at YCDA.  Carmela became familiar with YCDA during her two-years on the board of directors. She was impressed by everything YCDA was doing to help local businesses during the pandemic – a time that continues to be challenging for our local business community.

Carmela uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed. She enjoys spending her free time cheering on her two boys from the sidelines at their sporting events.

Carmela co-chairs the Crystal Apple Awards celebrating excellence in education in the Yakima School District.  Carmela has an Associate of Arts degree from YVC and has most recently completed the Advanced Business Certificate Program through UW Foster School of Business.

Kirk Duncan

SBDC Business Advisor