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Association of Washington Business – Updated Weekly


2021 AWB Spring Meeting Virtual Event co-presented by Boeing and Avista

THIS WEEK: Get in the game at Spring Meeting!

It’s time to join a heavy-hitting lineup at this Wednesday’s AWB Spring Meeting! This year’s conference will be a new, dynamic online experience with two keynote sessions, three content track options and plenty of baseball references. Not just another Zoom meeting, this is a customizable, immersive, live virtual event. The priority deadline has passed to receive your fun fan swag and Grub Hub lunch coupon, but that doesn't mean you have to miss out on this great event. You can still get in on the action if you register now.

Together we can innovate, endure and succeed. Our theme this year is Spring Training, and truly the number of metaphors and lessons we can draw from baseball are countless. The day’s agenda includes:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Live virtual networking
  • 10 a.m. – Opening remarks
  • Morning keynote speaker: The Moneyball of the post-Covid economy - Matthew Gardner, chief economist for Windermere Real Estate
  • 11 a.m. – Choose between three content track options. You can even mix and match sessions, tailoring your personal agenda to suit your content preferences:
    • Curveballs & Sliders: Covers the latest updates on vaccine rollout, economic recovery efforts and new business best practices for your post-pandemic game plan.
    • Signs from the Dugout: Covers AWB advocacy work. Throw us some signals so we can continue to amplify your voice to drive economic prosperity throughout Washington state.
    • Home Field Advantage: Covers insights on leveraging all that the Washington business climate has to offer, and some focus on how we can preserve and advance the competitiveness of our state.
  • 2 p.m. – Afternoon keynote speakers: Meeting at the Mound - A conversation with Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame catcher Dan Wilson and executive vice president Fred Rivera, moderated by Jen Mueller from ROOT SPORTS.
  • 3 p.m. – Closing remarks

Learn more and see the entire batting order (event agenda) on the event web page.


Formal request from legislators to re-examine the Roadmap to Recovery plan

Governor pauses phase rollbacks, Pierce County Democrats call for changes

On Tuesday Gov. Jay Inslee announced a two-week pause in county rollbacks in the state’s phased reopening plan. A day before the announcement, Q13 interviewed AWB President Kris Johnson to get the employer perspective about what another rollback would mean to small businesses. He expressed hope that businesses wouldn’t have to experience another rollback (as turned out to be the case) so there would be more time for vaccines to be administered.

He also pointed out once again that Washington needs a complete road map for what a reopening plan looks like. The Washington Hospitality Association also emphasized that point with this graphic illustration showing Washington is just one of two states in the country with no plan for how to reopen. The Washington Hospitality Association is circulating a petition calling for the state to fully reopen by June 15.

Democrats in Pierce County are also unhappy with the decision to leave the state’s second-most populous county in Phase 2 while declining to move other areas into the more restrictive rules. On Thursday, eight Democrats in the House and Senate joined four Republicans in sending a letter to Gov. Inslee, saying the decision “damages both our confidence and our communities.” They said they would consider asking legislative leaders for a special session if the governor doesn’t reconsider his decision.

As of last week, more than 5.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered. More than 54% of people eligible have received at least one dose. More than 39% of those eligible in Washington are fully vaccinated.

Kris Johnson's column: Manufacturing, Technology Sectors Provide Solid Foundation Through Pandemic and Beyond

Kris Johnson column: Manufacturing, technology sectors support each other and our economy

In his latest monthly newspaper column, AWB President Kris Johnson wrote about the powerful link between Washington’s strong manufacturing and technology sectors.

A new report from AWB on the state’s manufacturing and technology sectors shows how these two areas provide a reliable foundation for our state’s overall success, from great paying jobs to billions in state revenue, Johnson writes.

Manufacturing alone employed more than 300,000 workers in 2019, which is 9 percent of the state’s nonfarm workforce. The report also shows that technology is a quickly growing sector with more than 276,000 workers in 2019. And there are 12 Washington counties with at least a thousand technology workers.

These industries undoubtedly helped maintain Washington’s state budget over the past year. A recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that Washington is No. 1 among 50 states in terms of revenue growth since the start of the pandemic.

“As state and federal lawmakers work to help us bounce back from Covid-19, it’s critical to support policies that help these sectors thrive,” Johnson wrote.

For more details on the manufacturing and technology study, register here for a May 19 webinar featuring Spencer Cohen from High Peak Strategy.

photograph of the Washington Excellence Awards

All it takes is five minutes to submit your nomination

Entering the AWB awards program is your chance to showcase your Washington business. This week, we feature two of our 13 award categories:

  • Washington Veterans & Families Award: Recognizing hiring and retention best practices for addressing the employment challenges faced by veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses.
    2020 winner: Nine9Line Veterans Services
  • Manufacturing Excellence Award for Green Manufacturing: For maximizing energy efficiency levels, going above and beyond regulatory requirements, minimizing waste from the production process and reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
    2020 winner: Yakima Chief Hops

Click here to read about all of our Washington Excellence Award and Manufacturing Excellence Award categories. Nominations are all submitted online. Employers are even encouraged to self-nominate, and nominations are easy! Complete our simplified, online form to nominate your own or another company today. Nominated companies are then invited to submit supporting documentation and all nominations are peer-reviewed by member companies with expertise in the related award categories. The deadline to enter is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30.

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Paycheck Protection Program is out of money

The federal government’s signature pandemic relief program for small businesses ran out of funding last Tuesday, four weeks before its scheduled end. Congress had allocated $292 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in its most recent round of loans; nearly all of it is exhausted, so lenders closed off new applications. Since its creation last year, the PPP has disbursed $780 billion in forgivable loans to 10.7 million applicants.

There is still about $8 billion available for set-asides for community financial institutions that usually lend to businesses run by women, minorities and other underserved communities. There are also new grant programs for businesses in the live events and restaurant sectors.

This week: AWB’s Spring Meeting!

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First class of WSU medical school graduates collects diplomas in Spokane

The first-ever graduating class of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine received their degrees last week, The Spokesman-Review reports. The school was formed four years ago with a mission to increase physician availability, especially in rural areas.

The 121 graduates included 55 receiving medical doctor degrees, 25 earning degrees in nutrition and exercise physiology and 41 in speech and hearing sciences.

Boeing sponsors ‘Signing Day’ for students going into STEM fields

On April 29, Boeing, Tallo, and the Partnership for Learning celebrated 46 high school seniors from Washington state at the 2021 STEM Signing Day, an annual event to recognize students who are committing to study a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) discipline after high school. A video of the national signing ceremony is online (Washington’s event begins at 40 minutes and 30 seconds into the video.)

“It’s great to be here today among such inspiring students. Completing high school and setting your intention to study a STEM topic are a big deal,” said Kim Smith, 747/767 vice president and general manager, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Your passion is infectious and gives us all optimism about the future.”

Former GSI head Rich Hadley honored as a ‘Business Icon of the Inland Northwest’

The third-annual Business Icons of the Inland Northwest ceremony, held virtually last week, honored Rich Hadley, former CEO of Greater Spokane Inc., as an icon of the region’s business community.

AWB President Kris Johnson gave the video presentation of the award to Hadley and was quoted in the Spokane Journal of Business article about Rich’s decades of service to the Lilac City and surrounding area. Hadley has also been instrumental in establishing AWB's Grassroots Alliance.

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AWB Webinars - Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program Webinar

How to navigate the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program

AWB will host a webinar, “How to navigate the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program,” on Tuesday, May 18, at 11 a.m. It will cover the recent changes to the program (LTSS Trust Program). In 2019 the state enacted a long-term care insurance benefit for all eligible Washingtonians, funded by worker contributions into a trust fund. During the recent legislative session, lawmakers made changes to this program, which is now known as the Washington Cares Fund.

The May 18 webinar will inform employers and individuals about how the changes to the LTSS Trust Program will impact them and how to address those impacts. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has more information on the LTSS here. This webinar is free and open to all to participate.


AWB Webinars - Washington Manufacturing Webinar

Webinar: Manufacturing critical to Washington’s economy

Manufacturing is the linchpin of Washington's economy. Manufacturing punches above its weight — the sector is responsible for more than 11% of gross state product. It is also increasingly overlapping with another key pillar of the state’s economy: information & communication technology. The distinction between these sectors is becoming less defined. What’s ahead for the future? Find out on Wednesday, May 19 from 11 a.m.-noon, during a manufacturing webinar from AWB. This event is free for AWB members, $35 for non-members.

This live webinar will focus on the Manufacturing and Technology Study that was recently published by AWB and High Peak Strategy, take a look at the advocacy issues impacting the industry, and discuss best practices and new opportunities for the future, with an exclusive Q&A opportunity with report author and regional trade economist Spencer Cohen. Event speakers include:

  • Spencer Cohen, Ph.D., High Peak Strategy LLC
  • State Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle
  • State Rep. Matt Boehnke, R-Kennewick
  • Cynthia Powell, director of the energy processes and materials division at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Allison Budvarson, COO and co-owner of Out of the Box Manufacturing, will moderate.


2021 Human Resources & Employment Law Webinar series by AWB Events logo

AWB’s popular HR webinar series returns June 9

The 2021 Human Resources and Employment Law webinar series continues June 9. Register now to gain access to the expertise of Washington’s highest-caliber law firms on human resources, office administration and employment law. The next webinar topic will focus on non-compete agreements, confidentiality agreements, non-solicitations and intellectual property protection.

Find full series details and register online. Continuing education credits are available for HR professionals, attorneys and others. The webinar includes all presentation materials and instructor-provided resources. Non-member pricing is also available.

logo for Don C. Brunell scholarship with the motto Excellence in business for future leaders

Application for Don C. Brunell Scholarship open to support future business leaders

The children or grandchildren of AWB member employees are encouraged to apply for the 2021 Don C. Brunell Scholarship for Future Leaders. The scholarship was established by the AWB board and funded by members in honor of former AWB President Don Brunell to inspire and aid Washington’s future business leaders.

Recipients may receive up to $1,000. The scholarship is targeted to undergraduate, graduate or career/vocational students currently pursuing or who intend to pursue a course of education that will lead to a degree or certification in business from any public or private university, community or technical college, or private career school.

The deadline for submitting applications is June 30. Scholarships will be announced and awarded on or about Aug. 31.

For complete details on eligibility, application packet and instructions to complete the application click here. Or contact the scholarship administrator, Sarah Rith.

AWB Rebound and Recovery logo in white text on a blue background image of storefronts

Stay safe with AWB’s Covid-19 resources for employers

Washington employers continue to supply the personal protective equipment to power the state's economic recovery.

Find gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer, signs and more for your business at AWB's Rebound and Recovery website. Buying from these local suppliers saves jobs and keeps money in the region, making the state's eventual economic recovery that much faster.

AWB has also created the Stay Safe Washington campaign, which helps employers get the word out to their employees and communities about how wearing masks can protect public health and keep the economy open at the same time. The message is simple -- Your mask today saves our jobs tomorrow.

Finally, there are a variety of grant and loan opportunities, the latest vaccine information and a list of answers to frequently asked questions at AWB's Covid-19 Resources web page. Check it out today, and feel free to send suggestions to

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Tweet from @awbolympia: AWB staff and local chamber of commerce leaders across WA are working w/ Erin Jones today on diversity, equity & inclusion. She's inviting us into a 'brave space' of growth. You could work with Erin, too! She's our 'leadoff hitter' at AWB Spring Meeting next week. Register now!

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“The vaccine is the way out of this… We have vaccinations that work. Get one.” ~ Jon Scholes, president and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association.
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