Washington APEX

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Events and Workshops

Washington APEX Accelerator


Region 2 is hosted by the Thurston County Economic Development Council and serves Thurston, Lewis, Mason, Grays Harbor, Pacific, Wahkiakim, Chelan and Kittatas counties.

About the Thurston EDC

The Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC) is a private non-profit organization, governed by a 24 member Board of Directors.  As the lead economic development organization in Thurston County our mission is to create a vital and sustainable economy throughout the county and region that supports the livelihood and values of our residents. We do this by:

  • Connecting local businesses with experts and resources that help them remain competitive
  • Creating and delivering strategic messages that attract new investment to our community
  • Working with our community partners to enhance our collective prosperity and encourage our economic future
  • Participating regionally to ensure that Thurston County plays an appropriate role on the regional economic stage.

4220 6th Ave
Lacey, WA 98503

Google Map and Directions

This center is also the main center for Washington PTAC Statewide

Phone: 360-860-6945
General Contact: thurston@washingtonapex.org

Advisors at the Thurston EDC

About Grady Smith – Government Contracting Assistance Specialist

Direct Line: 360-968-4846 | gsmith@thurstonedc.com

Grady is a US Navy Veteran, a husband and a father. While serving in the Navy at NBK Bangor, Grady served as a Supply Petty Officer.  It was there he discovered a fascination with the world of government procurement! Grady graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. He worked with various companies in the continental United States and Guam as an Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Technician and Diver. Grady loves America, and he is committed to serving  Thurston and surrounding Washington counties as a PTAC counselor with the same dedication and love.

Grady Smith

Kate Hoy – SBIR/STTR Statewide Program Manager 

Connect with Kate on LinkedIn

Direct Line: 308-218-5283 | khoy@thurstonedc.com

Kate has an extensive background working with small business owners and assisting them with preparing to enter the Government contracting world. She joined Washington PTAC in January 2017 when she relocated from Arizona where she worked for Arizona PTAC.   After working with “non-traditional” suppliers for almost 4 years, Kate became the SBIR/STTR Program Manager and is now focusing on helping innovators work with federal agencies.  

Kate works closely with the NW Tech Bridge, a Navy SBIR support resource. She also is a partner in the new SBA funded ARC WA program which is dedicated to increasing the SBIR awards in Washington.  

She is an excellent presenter and looks forward to hosting in-person workshops and online training in Washington State.

Kate’s Tip for Success:  In the end, Government Contracting is competition-based. To best succeed, a small business will want to know the game, know the competition, and above all have an established, quality service or product to offer the government.  There are no shortcuts!  It is a long-term commitment that begins with research and creating a business plan that includes Government Contracting.

About Marnie Tyson, CPP – Program Manager

Connect with Marnie on LinkedIn

Direct Line: 206-659-6532 |  MTyson@ThurstonEDC.com

A strong small business advocate, Marnie has been working with small businesses since 2003, with previous experience with Native PTAC, Washington PTAC, the Northwest Women’s Business Center, the WSU Small Business Development Center, and as a part time faculty with Edmonds Community College teaching a business planning course.

Marnie has experience in online communications, streamlining sales and business processes, development of training and procedure manuals, not to forget her great marketing and research skills. She is adept at helping business owners find their focus and fit in private and public marketplaces.

Marnie holds a BA in Business Administration, is a Certified Procurement Professional (CPP) by the national Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC)  and is a certified  Verification Counselor by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Marnie’s Tip for Success: Stay organized! Government contracting has an extremely high administrative burden. It is important to track all of your registrations, certifications, online profiles, opportunities, awards… the list goes on. Companies that don’t stay organized can present themselves as less sophisticated to chaotic. I have seen clients miss out on awards due to expired registration. Keep a list! Keep it current! Program Manager


About Lisa Lagerstrom – Training & Development Specialist

Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn


Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Western Washington University.  Lisa started her career with a large retail chain as a buyer procuring for the two departments.  After several years she became a Product Knowledge/Organizational  Development Specialist in the training department to start as a trainer. She has developed extensive training curriculums for 3 companies in the past 27 years.  Lisa also has 10+ years of procurement experience with multi-million dollar promotional product campaigns for 2 of the world’s largest retailers.

Her previous experience as a trainer, program manager, salesperson and business development specialist in the promotional products industry has built a strong foundation to provide small businesses support with procurement opportunities.  Her positive approach and solution focused collaboration will benefit businesses throughout the region.  As a native Washingtonian specifically Snohomish County Lisa is thrilled to provide tools needed to build relationships throughout Snohomish, Skagit, Island and Whatcom counties. 


“Every contact with PTAC employees has been a positive one. They get right in there and help me do things that would take me so much more time if I had to find it for myself.”

Pat Ryan, American Veteran Contracting Corp, Lacey, WA

“… PTAC helped me to land my first federal contract. They are always available to provide advice and support for our business marketing efforts for federal contracts.”

Arny Davis, Ditch Maintenance Services, Chehalis, WA

“I received valuable support and information from the PTAC at Thurston Economic Development Council when I started my business and sought (and won!) a government contract. This is a truly worthwhile program. Thank you for your services!”

Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck, Levy-Peck Consulting, LLC, Yelm, WA

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