February 5, 2018
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Jeff Bezos, with help from Amazon's Alexa, opens 'remarkable' Spheres

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos officially opened the company’s Spheres workspace last week to much fanfare. These three conjoined glass domes contain about 400,000 plants and reach four stories high, providing an urban oasis in the heart of a major American city and Amazon’s campus.

The company often preferred to “operate under the radar,” the Seattle Times wrote, but now that’s changed.

“But in the Spheres, Amazon has built an architecturally ambitious focal point and symbol of its status as Seattle’s largest employer and one of the most dynamic entities in corporate America,” the Times wrote.

USA Today, ABC News, The Verge and Architectural Record were among the many news outlets to cover the opening.

This space is mostly private, but there are ways for the public to see it. The Spheres Discovery at Understory is open seven days a week, and admission is free. Reservations are required. Visit www.seattlespheres.com/visit-understory to make a reservation.

(Photo via GeekWire).

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Manufacturing Bedrock

Work to ensure Boeing builds its next jet in the Puget Sound region

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Glowing praise of the Puget Sound region by Boeing's chief executive is reassuring as the state of Washington seeks to land production of the company's next jetliner.

"Puget Sound is part of Boeing for the future in a very strong way," Dennis Muilenburg said in an interview with Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates.

But the region and state must continue working hard to convince the company that its hometown remains the best place in the world to manufacture its next plane, informally dubbed the 797.

A task force convened by Gov. Jay Inslee last year is making progress and preparing to submit a bid if there's a formal request for site proposals later this year. Regional groups in areas such as Snohomish County and Spokane also are making their case. This is a critical effort to retain and grow an industry that's a cornerstone of the state's economy.

While Muilenburg didn't tip his hand on the 797, which Boeing hasn't yet committed to build, he did drop hints about where Washington can improve its competitiveness.

One is the cost of living and doing business in Seattle, which are "higher than most of our other sites," he said...

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
Hard Work Remains

Competitiveness Redbook highlights Washington's successes, opportunities

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Washington's economy is the envy of many states across the country. Job growth in our urban areas is booming and cranes pepper the Seattle and Bellevue skylines.

All that points to a robust statewide economy today and into the future. Or, does it?

Each year, the Association of Washington Business (AWB) digs deeper into the state's economy and competitiveness, going beyond the headlines and accolades from outside groups, to determine where Washington can improve and harness opportunities for growth.

AWB's 2018 Competitiveness Redbook, released last month, is a data-driven guide to Washington state's economic health that uses comparisons -- 59 tables in all -- with other states to benchmark performance in key indicators.

One important indicator is job growth. The latest numbers show job growth remains a strength, with nearly 80,000 new jobs added over the past year. Looking deeper, however, that's actually 21,000 fewer jobs than the previous year, dropping our state down one spot to sixth in the nation...

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
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