November 16, 2015
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Manufacturing Excellence Awards given to state's industry leaders



A highlight of the Manufacturing Summit was presentation of the 2015 Manufacturing Excellence Awards.

A panel composed of former winners chose five award recipients from among a record 38 nominations this year.

The awards, sponsored by RSM (formerly McGladrey), are presented annually by the Association of Washington Business and its workforce development arm, the AWB Institute, to member companies demonstrating green manufacturing, operational excellence and innovation.

"Today's manufacturers are breaking the mold of what people envision when they think about manufacturing," said AWB President Kris Johnson. "They’re creating new products, building strong communities, creating great jobs and leaving a legacy of environmental stewardship for which Washington state is known. They are great ambassadors for the future of manufacturing in our state."

Manufacturer of the Year went to Seattle-based Fremont Brewing Company. Founded in 2008 as the Great Recession took hold, conservation and cost-saving efforts became part of the DNA of the brewery. It has quickly grown to become one of the largest in the state, while providing top benefits to its employees. (Video)

The Claar Wine Group, Pasco, received a Green Manufacturing award for its ongoing environmental efforts, including an extensive outside review to ensure its practices protect air, water and soil. (Video)

Earth Friendly Products, Lacey, also received a Green Manufacturing award for its carbon-neutral, sustainably-produced line of toxin-free household and commercial cleaning products. (Video)

The Operational Excellence Award went to The Lighthouse for the Blind. Founded in 1918, the company has created industry-leading manufacturing work opportunities for the blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind in the community. (Video)

Broetje Orchards, a family-owned fruit growing and packing company in Prescott, received the Manufacturing Innovation award for many reasons, most notably for being the sole American grower of the Opal apple -- a popular new variety recently profiled in a Seattle Times story looking at "better than Honeycrisp" varieties. (Video)

Read more about the awards in this press release and blog post.

For more information on the AWB Institute and the Manufacturing Summit or workforce issues, contact Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson at 360.943.1600.

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Slowdown Hurt Everyone

Congress Must Act On Ports

By The Editorial Board of The Columbian

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, has brought about legislation that would trigger federal involvement in port disputes. In introducing the bill named Ensuring Continued Operations and No Other Major Incidents, Closures or Slowdowns -- ECONOMICS -- Newhouse said, "We must take the lesson of the most recent ports slowdown to heart that two parties cannot hold hostage the nation's economy." Among the co-sponsors are Republican Washington lawmakers Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Reichert.

In February, the International Business Times reported that the slowdown was costing the U.S. economy about $2 billion a day, and others have asserted that it contributed to anemic national economic growth at the end of 2014 and through the early months of 2015. That impact was particularly strong in Washington, the nation's most trade-dependent state, a fact that makes legislative action especially pertinent to the region and calls for the rest of the area's congressional delegation to support the proposed bills.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Columbian
An Educational Monopoly

Is Public Education a 'Natural' Monopoly That Needs to Be Broken Up?


By Sean Gill, research analyst at the University of Washington's Center on Reinventing Public Education


There are many reasons why education does not fit the definition of a natural monopoly. Schools are human-driven enterprises. They are hugely dependent on people -- that is the teachers who are so important to education. Yes, schools have to have buildings and textbooks, but these capital costs don't outweigh the cost of labor.

Further, education is the provision of learning and knowledge -- it is about as far away from the definition of commodity as possible. My neighbors and need exactly the same electrical service -- an electron is an electron. But learning can take an infinite number of forms, based on children's needs and interests.

A top-down, centralized approach isn't going to meet these needs and interests.

Click here to read the full blog post via the74million.org
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