November 13, 2017
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Finalists announced for AWB's Evening of Excellence awards, winners will be announced Nov. 29 at black-tie event in Seattle



This year's soiree promises to be equally enjoyable. From the red-carpet entrance to the surprise announcements of each winner, the Evening of Excellence is AWB's way to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of Washington's many great employers.

Mark your calendars for this year's Evening of Excellence, which will be held Nov. 29. Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle will again be the venue for this reception and awards gala. All 18 finalists, three for each of the six awards, will be recognized at the event and winners, who do not know they won, will be announced in Oscars fashion.

The finalists for this year's awards are:

  • Employer of the Year: Recognizing an employer that has implemented innovative job retention, creation, benefits, and/or compensation plans that fosters a thriving work environment. Finalists: Bellmont Cabinet Company, Rite in the Rain and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Given to an entrepreneur whose business is less than 5 years old and has made a significant impact in their industry. Finalists: Aslan Brewing, C2S Technologies and Schilling Cider
  • Achieve Award: Recognizing a business who has excelled in creating, implementing or supporting a high-caliber education and/or workforce development system aligned with closing the employment gap. Finalists: Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC), Greater Spokane Incorporated and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Connect Award: Recognizing a business whose products and/or services have positively impacted the way in which Washington employers and communities are connected to each other and the world. Finalists: Alaffia, Expedia, Inc. and Frontier Communications
  • Leading Environmental Practices Award: Recognizing a business that has put a priority on environmental improvement, education or outreach to their business sector and/or community. Finalists: Earth Friendly Products, Honeywell International Inc. and Nucor Steel Seattle, Inc.
  • Advance Award: Recognizing a business who has had a significant impact in their sector, contributing to the advancement of their community and/or statewide economy. Finalists: A&R Solar, Western Institutional Review Board and WGU Washington

And remember that award nominations are open year-round, so it's never too late (or too early) to nominate your company or a business you admire for AWB's awards. The deadline to apply for a 2018 Evening of Excellence award is June 30.

Online registration for the event is now open. For more information, contact Kelli Schueler at 360.943.1600.

Read about the 2016 award winners here.



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Rural Jobs Summit


Why Rural Economic Development Is Top of Mind in Washington State and Elsewhere

By Joshua Wright

Rural economic development is a thorny, multi-layered topic with many challenges and few obvious answers. But the summit -- hosted in Moses Lake by the Association of Washington Businesses -- was encouraging, not just because it focused on solutions for small towns and regions but also because so many people attended the event.

Sweeney himself said it speaks well for Washington that 250 decision-makers from every part of the state came together to talk rural jobs and economies.

"We put our focus on where the need is, and the need is the biggest in rural communities," said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington Department of Commerce.

Read the full essay at EconomicModeling.com
Quality Health Insurance


Association Health Plans offer model for the nation

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Since they were created, Association Health Plans (AHP) have grown in popularity, insuring as many as 400,000 people at their peak. Many of those people were not previously insured. For AWB's plan, approximately 40 percent of employers did not have prior coverage. It's clear that AHPs expand health care access and choices for small employers, their employees and families.

What's more, employers that start with an AHP tend to renew. Historically, as many as 90 percent renew coverage year after year...

Washington's AHPs offer high-quality health insurance plans with consumer protections like guaranteed issue (nobody can be denied coverage) and renewal built in. They are fully insured and comply with all state and federal mandates, including those contained in the Affordable Care Act such as dependent coverage up to age 26, lab and X-ray, preventative care and mental health services.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
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