Category Archives: Professional

Scotland

It was a rich and moving experience returning to the U.K. for the World Economic Forum for Foreign Direct Investment hosted by Conway Data and Scottish Development International. I’ve worked with Conway and their editorial and advertising staff at Site Selection for more than 10 years, so it was fantastic to see several old friends in person.

Scotland has shaped the global economy with innovations such as the refrigerator, flushing toilets, tires, telephone and penicillin just to name a few. More recently, Scotland has given us the world’s first floating wind farm and the tidal energy array. Home to legendary authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who’s books I read from cover to cover as a child from my father’s hardback collection, followed me through the old stone alleyways. I didn’t don a kilt, but there is even a Payne tartan.

Shortly after arrival, I participated in the Energy Tour that departed from Edinburgh and visited Dundee, St. Andrews and the Michelin Innovation Parc where we learned more about Scotland’s commitment to a clean and diversified energy portfolio. Between conference sessions, a welcome reception aboard the Royal Brittania, and the Gala Reception at the National Museum of Scotland, I engaged site selectors, companies, international investment promotion agencies, and others influencing the global conversation.

Seattle’s economic ties with Scotland and the U.K. run deep. Of the top 10 foreign-owned firms in Greater Seattle, the U.K. ranks #3 with 320+ privately owned companies; and 530 across Washington State. The U.K ranks #1 in total FDI projects across the state in the past 5 years with 15 new locates representing more than $450M in CapEx. It is also a strong trading partner ranking #6 with $1.82B worth of exports of Washington commodities, the majority of which come from Greater Seattle.

I look forward to welcoming old and new friends to Seattle soon!

NEW INTERNATIONAL ARRIVAL FACILITY AT SEATTLE-TACOMA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Officially opening in April 2022, the new $1 billion International Arrivals Facility (IAF) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport nearly doubles the international gates from 12 to 20, and increases passenger capacity by more than double to 2,600 passengers per hour. Other new customer experience features include:

  • Reuniting passengers with their bags prior to security screening.
  • New technologies for faster passport check clearance.
  • A reduction in passenger connection time from 90 to 75 minutes.

One of the more stunning features of the IAF is the 780-foot-long aerial bridge with a moving walkway that sits 85 feet above the taxiway where jets cross below. Travelers enjoy picturesque views of Mount Rainier on one side, and the Olympics on the other.

Delta Air Lines will offer 45 weekly nonstop flights to Amsterdam, Incheon, London, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo. Alaska Airlines will leverage its membership in the Oneworld alliance to allow mileage members to book flights with international airline partners including British Airways, Japan Airlines and American Airlines.

Since 2020, SEA has welcomed several brand-new international services, including Qatar Airways to Doha, WestJet to Calgary, American Airlines to London, and Alaska Airlines to Belize. Other new destinations coming in 2022 are Air Canada to Montreal in May, Aer Lingus to Dublin in May, Delta Air Lines to London in May, Alaska to Edmonton in April, and Finnair to Helsinki in June.

Reveal Reception

It was an honor to join Governor Inslee, Port of Seattle and SEA staff, Clark Construction Group, construction and trade workers, and everyone who worked to design, build and activate the new IAF facility at the reveal reception.

The art and architecture of the facility evoke the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and it served as an inspiring backdrop for the moving cultural performances that delighted everyone in attendance. Local performers included:

It was especially poignant when Georgia Montero, an Alaska Native and member of the Tlingit Tribe asked for a moment of silence for the people of Ukraine before he permeated the giant hall with timeless and sublime flute music.

On a lighter note, the folks at Port of Seattle have put together some very fun graphics to celebrate the opening of the new IAF and your international travel memories. They are encouraging you to print your favorite SEA international direct destination icon, then take it to your favorite Seattle location.

The IAF is an invaluable new asset for our region that enhances and expands international relations, trade and travel with our global partners, and greatly improves the needs of our diverse communities.

Come experience it yourself! #flySEA #WelcomeIAF

*All photos courtesy of the Port of Seattle.

Industry Collateral

Whether showing up at Mobile World Congress or the Dubai Airshow, I like to give you some real data to sink your teeth into. I’ll go out of my way to give you solid industry data and real case examples. Plus, I just love to learn. Call me old school, but I also still think there is a place for collateral piece. Of course, I’ll always complement it with a web presence as well.

Below are some samples of a recent IoT brochure. The IoT ecosystem in Greater Seattle is pretty incredible.

Dubai Airshow

On behalf of Greater Seattle Partners, I recently travelled to the Dubai Airshow in the UAE with the Washington State Department of Commerce and a delegation of aerospace companies. It was an action-packed five-day event consisting of key meetings and events with companies from more than 20 countries. It was honor to represent the largest aerospace supply chain in the country, if not the world.

Many other associated events took us around Dubai including, a welcome dinner at the tallest skyscraper in the world, Burj Khalifa; Deira and the old town Al Fahidi District; the AmCham Dubai Airshow kick-off breakfast at the Dubai South headquarters; AIA & U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council Reception in the US Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai; US AIA Industry Reception at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai; and the Dubai Airshow Gala at the Atlantis, The Palm.

I was also able to organize tours of the 777x and the Boeing ecoDemonstrator for our Washington delegates, meet legendary Charlie Duke – the youngest human to walk on the moon, and visit the Chalets of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), Enterprise Ireland and Spirit AeroSystems. Of course, the flying demonstrations on the tarmac and exhibits of new UAVs and defense products were amazing.

It was an exhausting trip with just one day at the end to visit the desert.

IEDC Annual Conference

It was great to be in Nashville, Tennessee this year for the annual International Economic Development Conference. It was funny to travel so many miles to finally spend quality time with many of my colleagues here in Greater Seattle and Washington State. It was a pleasure to also see some old friends from my days doing economic development in Atlanta and Georgia. We produced a lot of award-winning campaigns back then.

Diversity, equity and inclusion were big topics of conversation as we work to build more resilient local economies in the face of an ongoing pandemic.

Here is a recent article I contributed to their “Economic Development Now” publications and research series on economic recovery:

Economic Recovery Spotlight: Greater Seattle Partners

Greater Seattle has experienced unprecedented and continuous economic gains since the 1990s. Global companies like Microsoft have risen to prominence and further diversified the regional economy from a historical reliance on Boeing and aerospace. Legendary companies such as Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Costco, and Starbucks have also come to call Greater Seattle home. Before the pandemic, the region ranked number one in annual GDP growth among large U.S. metropolitan areas. The Brookings Institute referred to Greater Seattle as one of five superstar regions and a top innovation hub. But like many fast-growing economies, the economic headlines hid challenges across the region.

Shortage of good jobs

A 3 percent unemployment rate pre-Covid obscured the fact that nearly 900,000 people in Greater Seattle were out of work or stuck in low-wage jobs.

Race and gender disparities across the economy

Race- and gender-based disparities were significant in terms of both income and business ownership. For example, just 38 percent of women of color with college degrees in Greater Seattle had a good job ($25/hr + benefits), versus 65 percent of white men with college degrees. 

Too few successful new businesses

Amidst a booming tech economy, Greater Seattle’s entrepreneurship ecosystem was growing by less than 8 percent.

In 2020, the reality of the global pandemic, its long-term economic challenges, and racial injustice escalated awareness of long-standing inequalities and a need for action. These factors drove a swelling of demand amongst Greater Seattle’s business and civic leaders to collaborate on an equitable recovery plan, and they tapped Greater Seattle Partners (GSP) to lead conversations to devise a way forward.

In May of 2020, GSP convened more than 200 community leaders across private and public sectors from King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties to form a task force and develop a recovery framework, now called Forward Together. Over the course of a year, the task force developed goals, strategies, and actions, and then assembled a portfolio of ten specific, measurable initiatives that span four areas of focus. Published in June 2021, the Regional Recovery Framework serves as a roadmap for building a more resilient, equitable, and inclusive economy.

In September 2021, Forward-Together.org was launched to track and promote regionwide implementation of the framework, and to understand progress and address gaps. With additional leadership support from groups such as Civic Commons, Puget Sound Regional Council, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber, and the Washington Roundtable, private and public leaders meet quarterly to further advance this work.

Greater Seattle companies have the resources and reach to lead economic recovery worldwide. But achieving our greater goals for more equitable participation in the region’s prosperity will not happen overnight. These initiatives are only successful if they accelerate economic recovery and realize the potential of those who have been most systemically excluded. Fortunately, there are already many positive signs with greater collaboration and investment in existing and new programs. By working together regionally, Greater Seattle can build the most equitable, innovative, and resilient economy in the nation.

Building Back Better

After 15 years of working in economic development whether in an agency, government, or public/private partnership model, the metrics to which we live by have always been new jobs and investment. The problem with this antiquated model is that it does not work for the 20% of our population who consistently cannot earn a living wage. It is still a part of what economic developers must do, but it is not enough.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 virus brought unprecedented economic disruptions to the United States and regional economies across the country. Two realities were almost immediately apparent: Covid would profoundly reshape the economy in ways that outlasted the virus itself, and it would hugely magnify existing inequities by race, gender, and geography. This crisis demanded a bold, strategic, coordinated, and inclusive response.

That is why Greater Seattle Partners and my team brought together a Task Force of public, private, and non-profit sector leaders from across the three county region in May 2020. This Task Force, which ultimately grew to include over 200 leaders, worked together for nearly a year to develop a long-term economic recovery framework for the region. Motivated by a shared understanding of the challenge and opportunity, the Task Force decided on a specific and ambitious set of inclusive growth metrics and identified a portfolio of initiatives that will form the core of the region’s long-term recovery efforts guided by Partners for Prosperity.

This Framework does not compete with other strategies in the region. Rather, it draws from strategies across Greater Seattle and aggregates the most widely agreed-upon and actionable parts of those strategies. This framework is a way to elevate the best ideas in the region, align public and private sector resources behind those ideas, and build systems that operate at the scale that this moment demands.

If leaders in Greater Seattle commit to investing in these initiatives at the speed and scale envisioned in this framework, and with an unwavering commitment to equity, this region will not only emerge from Covid faster – it will emerge as a national model of inclusive growth, a superstar region fueled by homegrown talent and businesses.

While the true work begins now, I am proud to have been a part of this herculean effort to develop more precise metrics and accountability to what has historically been an ambiguous and unsolved issue.

That you to the Puget Sounds Business Journal for your coverage:

GREATER SEATTLE PARTNERS ANNOUNCES NEW LEADERSHIP TEAM FOR BUSINESS ATTRACTION AND GLOBAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT

Seattle, Wash. (May 12, 2021) – Greater Seattle Partners (GSP) board of directors today announced two new senior hires and a promotion to drive economic development strategies for the region. Cynthia Carrillo will become vice president of economic development, Josh Davis will become vice president of global trade and investment, and Robert Payne will become vice president of marketing and communications. They join Emily Cantrell who just recently became vice president of operations and strategy after serving with the World Trade Center Seattle. They will lead the organization at a pivotal time as the economy rebounds and domestic and international companies renew site selection and trade development activities.

Full release here. Excerpt below:

“These individuals have demonstrated exceptional leadership with corporate site selection, company expansions, international trade and investment missions and business attraction around the globe,” said Brian P. McGowan, chief executive officer of GSP. “I am really looking forward to working collaboratively with the collective experience of this team to build a more resilient, equitable and inclusive economy for our region.”

Robert Payne
Robert has been instrumental in helping GSP weather the pandemic by managing external and internal marketing and communications, overseeing business development, building an economic recovery framework and launching GSP’s ‘Dear Rest of the World” campaign. Prior to joining GSP, Robert spent more than 7 years leading the global marketing and communication strategies for the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDECD) where he garnered numerous awards for multi-channel marketing strategies that consistently delivered a strong ROI and helped position Georgia as the number one state for business 7 years in a row. Prior experience includes working in the for-profit software development and interactive agency space notably serving clients in economic development, tourism and media. Robert is a Clemson University alum with an MBA from the University of Nevada with a specialization in marketing.

“There is no doubt that Covid-19 continues to create unique challenges for our region as we look to re-engage our global partners and pursue new economic opportunities with international and domestic companies,” said Bill McSherry,” vice president of government relations, The Boeing Company and Board chair of GSP. “But through an extensive global search, we have built a highly capable team with the experience, tenacity and connections to overcome these hurdles and bring greater prosperity to the diverse communities across our region. I am really looking forward to GSP’s renewed role in building our economy back stronger than before.”

ABOUT GREATER SEATTLE PARTNERS
Greater Seattle Partners (GSP) is a public-private partnership that leads regional economic development through global business attraction, site selection and investment and trade opportunities in the greater Seattle region. GSP collaborates with community and economic development partners to ensure that every person in the Puget Sound region has the opportunity to prosper. We strive to attract and retain quality family/living wage jobs across all communities of the region. Throughout the world we tell the story of our talent, pioneering spirit, unique communities, and quality of life.

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I Eat Press Releases for Breakfast

Leaving Atlanta for Seattle not long before a global pandemic has led to many changes, and the scope of my job responsibilities is certainly one of them. In my former job, I had a Marcom team of nine, two designers, social media manager, interactive manager, project manager and four agencies of record, including a global public relations firm. Now I am all of these things, doing work I haven’t done since I was fresh out of graduate school. I know, the world’s tiniest violin is playing: you’re lucky to have a job young man. Whatevs.

One of those “duties” has been dusting off my press release writing chops and pitching stories to media. This one was rather interesting because it was centered around the Seattle region recently surpassing the very MSA I had just left ie Atlanta. Ah, the irony.

SEATTLE METRO AREA BECOMES 10TH LARGEST REGIONAL ECONOMY

Seattle, Wash. – Greater Seattle Partners (GSP) today announced that the Seattle metro area economy has become the 10th largest regional economy in the country, surpassing the Atlanta metro area in its first jump in this ranking since 2012. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the region grew to nearly $383 billion in 2019, a 5.1% increase over 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“While there is no doubt that our ‘superstar city’ status is fueled by the tech industry and being home to two of the largest cloud computing companies on the planet, our pioneering spirit has long created household global brands from coffee to fashion to flight,” said Brian McGowan, chief executive officer of Greater Seattle Partners. “The diversity of our economy, world-class education institutions, a strong tax environment, and an unparalleled quality of life are just a few of the reasons why we are a great place to do business.”

According to Brookings, “90% of the nation’s innovation sector employment growth in the last 15 years was generated in just five major coastal cities,” which include Seattle. In fact, Seattle’s economy grew about 2.5x faster than the U.S. economy (metro portion) as a whole last year, and it marked the ninth consecutive year the regional economy grew by more than 3%, which is considered a good year. Since 2010, Seattle has been among the fastest growing regional economies in the country, expanding at an annual rate of 4.9 percent. Real GDP has grown by over 50%, which translates to about $135 billion in added value.

This GDP growth reflects pre-COVID-19 conditions and points to a resilient economy capable of emerging quickly from the pandemic. A recent October 2020 Puget Sound Business Journal article stated,  “venture capital deal values in the Seattle area are on pace to surpass 2019 levels, despite the pandemic,” which equated to approximately $3.6 billion in 2019. But job losses and business closures persist in the current economic conditions. To counter the negative impacts of COVID-19, GSP is leading economic recovery planning in conjunction with public and private partners across the region to support small businesses, accelerate the growth of competitive and emerging industry clusters, and ensure local workers have the skills and training to fill future jobs.

“While economies across the globe and communities here at home are reeling from the pandemic, I remain optimistic about the future of our economy and grateful to all who are working to support recovery, opportunity, and growth.  Our success as an airline is tied to our geographical roots and the amazing employees, partners, and communities who’ve forged our path to become the 5th-largest U.S. carrier with reach around the world,” said Brad Tilden, chief executive officer of Alaska Air Group. “As we look to 2021 and beyond, we will continue to connect the world to greater Seattle with new routes, pioneering technologies and customer innovations that keep guests safe and build stronger relationships between regional businesses and global partners.”

The complete top 10 list of regional economies are as follows:

  1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
  2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
  3. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
  4. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA
  5. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  6. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  7. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
  8. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
  9. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
  10. -Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

ABOUT GREATER SEATTLE PARTNERS

Greater Seattle Partners (GSP) is a public-private partnership that leads regional economic development through global business attraction, site selection and investment and trade opportunities in the greater Seattle region. GSP collaborates with community and economic development partners to ensure that every person in the Puget Sound region has the opportunity to prosper. We strive to attract and retain quality family/living wage jobs across all communities of the region. Throughout the world we tell the story of our talent, pioneering spirit, unique communities, and quality of life. For more information visit Greater-Seattle.com.

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Dear Rest of the World

If you live in the greater Seattle area, I hope you can appreciate how daunting it could be to launch a regional marketing video between the pandemic, civil unrest, wildfire smoke and the upcoming election. It felt like threading a very fine needle. I was worried the video would stagnate or suffer potential backlash on social media with comments raging on about homelessness, anarchy and dysfunctional government. Fortunately, it went well because there is truth in the message and delivery.

Leading up to the launch date, I conducted extensive outreach to engage the broader community to amplify the effort. I have been humbled and inspired by the outpouring of support and positive feedback on the effort. Everyone from the UK and Japanese Consulates to Alaska Airlines, Port of Seattle, cities of Everett and Tacoma, and the list goes on. I think we all needed some positivity.

Join by sharing the video across your organization’s channels. You can simply amplify our posts by liking and sharing and/or launch your own custom complementary posts.

I hope every person across the region can see themselves in this video and be proud to share our collective story.

Help tell the world what makes Greater Seattle unlike anywhere else on Earth.

INTERVIEW WITH FORMER GOVERNOR GARY LOCKE

The following post is from an interview I conducted for Greater Seattle Partners with Gary Locke – former governor of Washington, U.S. ambassador to China, and Secretary of Commerce – before he takes the helm at Bellevue College.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with former Governor Gary Locke to learn what he has been up to and his thoughts on the greater Seattle region as we approach economic recovery from Covid-19.

After his historic achievement becoming the first Chinese American to be elected governor in United States history, and the first Asian American governor on the mainland, he went on to rank Washington as one of America’s four best managed states over the course of his two terms. He oversaw the gain of 280,000 private sector jobs and more than doubled the state’s exports to China.

Mr. Locke continued to demonstrate his innovative leadership capabilities serving first, as U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 2009-2011, and then as U.S. Ambassador to China from 2011-2014. He has also been a senior advisor and consultant for the Davis Wright Tremaine (DWT) law firm where he consults with DWT’s domestic and international clients in several areas including trade, regulatory, and investment issues from local to international levels.

Higher Education

Not resting on his laurels, starting June 15th Mr. Locke will become the interim president at Bellevue College. His immediate priorities are paraphrased and quoted below:

  1. Campus Culture: Bring healing and calm to the campus, which has recently been torn apart after the defacement of the art installation that marks the anniversary of the Japanese internment camps in World War II. A recent Seattle Times article reported that “more than a fifth of the college’s 29,120 students and 1,508 employees are Asian and Pacific Islander, according to college demographic data.”
  2. Educational Experience: How do you provide personalized, enriching and meaningful instruction in a Covid-19 environment with so much being done online? You can’t teach welding or brain surgery over the Internet.
  3. Budget: With the looming state budget cuts because of the drop in revenues due to this economic freefall, how do you pay for instruction on campus at a time when more students will be signing up for courses?

“Our higher education system has to be a part of the economic recovery strategy.”

Interesting Foresight

Mr. Locke’s second priority is especially interesting given his history. In 1998, the New York Times published an article about 850 professors at the University of Washington who had signed an open letter to Gov. Gary Locke because they were worried about the enthusiasm he had shown for instruction via CD-ROMs and the Internet. What is incredible about the timing is that the group Locke tasked to envision the future of education was called the “2020 Commission.” Locke never said that the internet should completely replace the importance of in-person education, but the mere idea of it playing a central role in the learning experience hit a nerve. It was a misunderstanding. In a recent interview with Geekwire, Locke confirmed his views – then and now – by saying:

“I’ve always been a major proponent of that personal interaction between the faculty and the students,” he said. “Clearly, using technology can make it easier for both faculty and students. But there’s still no substitute for that human interaction.”

More from our conversation:

How do we engage the world as we emerge from Covid-19?

I think you are going to see a move to diversify supply chains. Goods will be produced more locally so you are not dependent on the supply chains and politics of other governments. And these goods will range from medical supplies to computer chips and semiconductors, to key components that are used for high tech, military and space applications. Is the state of Washington uniquely positioned in that restructuring of the economy? I think so. We need to build off many of our strengths in high tech, life sciences, aerospace and food processing. We also have low costs for energy.

You have so much to be proud of in regards to your work with Asia and China specifically. What do we still need to do going forward?

We need to showcase the fact that this Washington has always been outward looking and outward leaning. We are a relatively young state filled with an incredible diversity of people and different cultures. It has really become a part of the fabric of the Pacific Northwest. For example, so much of the art and architecture of the Puget Sound area is influenced by Asia.

“We need to let people know that we are a very welcoming state, and that we have an incredible diversity of people and cultures from around the world, and we view that as our strength.”

What steps do we need to take to grow our exports and improve our trade relationships given recent challenges? What are some new opportunities for us?

So much of what we make and produce is highly valued and in great demand around the world. We just need to help our local companies more with exporting. 60% of the US companies that do export only do so to one country, typically Canada and Mexico. We should be helping them export to two or three additional companies. We need to focus more on partnerships and collaborations with the U.S. Commerce Department and their Gold Key Service program – to state efforts like the Department of Trade and Economic Development who hosts trade missions – to regional efforts to work with existing companies to help them find new international customers.

Economic development is a very competitive sport with other regions offering low costs for doing business, incentives and strong university systems. And these areas will probably up their game even more to recover quickly from Covid-19. What do we need to be doing?

First, we need to focus on our existing companies and shore up our base. For a lot of these companies, after an economic downturn, they don’t typically return to their same job levels. How do we ensure that the workers who are affected by all of this are still able to have a future? We need to put much more effort into training and retraining and upgrading of skills – so that these companies can be competitive and nimble – and that workers have a future either with these companies or others.

Historically, Washington has not utilized incentives like other regions. Does that need to change to address economic recovery?

I think we can be more focused and surgical with tax credits when it comes to job training, retraining, and, perhaps, on retention of existing companies. A McKinsey report said that by the year 2030, 5-10% of the world’s workforce will be displaced by AI and robotics. Do we really want to wait until 2030 to address this? We need to start thinking now about tax incentives and public/private partnerships for job training. Perhaps we need to rethink employment insurance as well. Should we use it like a flexible saving account for job training?

What is your Greater Seattle message to the world?

We are a pretty easy going. Pretty humble community. A lot of pride, but we like a bit of obscurity. We like to tell people it rains a lot because we don’t want too many people moving into the area. We like our local traditions, festivals and community gatherings. We are kind of quirky. But there is a big spirit of community involvement and people pitching in and caring for each other. We are actually a pretty cosmopolitan city with a small town attitude.

We are always open to new ideas. The incredible diversity from around the world, and that constant infusion of new ideas, cultures and perspectives, is what really makes our region so dynamic and exciting.

What would you advise a future Governor on steps that he or she should take to position this region effectively?

Making sure the needs of citizens are addressed, and that the government is efficient, responsive and taking care of their priorities. Citizens want to know that their tax dollars are being spent wisely. There will never be enough money to pay for everyone’s wish list, so it is really important for government to prioritize and do a few things well verses trying to do too many things in a mediocre fashion. But we have to ensure we have a good foundation for future success, which means investing in education. K-12, but also our higher education institutions. They are economic engines.

Mr. Locke, it was a pleasure speaking with you. Thank your for providing your perspective, and we wish you great success in your new role at Bellevue College.