Press Release

Thursday, October 10

AWB Manufacturing Tour Celebrates Mid-Columbia Employers

SUNNYSIDE — The Association of Washington Business today celebrated the innovative Washington employers that provide good jobs and great products throughout Central Washington.

AWB’s Manufacturing Week bus tour began the day at Cascade Natural Gas in Kennewick, to highlight the importance of reliable natural gas for the state economy.

Cascade Natural Gas Corp. is one of four utility subsidiaries of MDU Resources, which provides energy to rural communities across eight states. In Washington and Oregon, the company serves nearly 300,000 customers in mostly rural areas and employs 240 people.

AWB officials also visited UniWest in Pasco. The company is a leader in the sensing technology industry, and designs, manufactures and services products in a variety of settings.

Next, AWB officials visited Plastic Injection Molding in Richland. This family business designs and manufactures competitively priced, quality injection molded parts for companies around the country. Examples include parts for Mountain Safety Research and Rhino Camera Gear.

The tour also visited Barnard Griffin Winery in Richland, a great example of Washington’s powerful agriculture sector.

The final stop of the seven-day tour was at Yakima Chief Hops in Sunnyside. This is a 100% grower-owned network of family hops farms in Central Washington. The company aims to be the global hop supplier of choice, focusing on sustainability and innovation.

AWB is toured the state to highlight the nearly $59 billion in economic output and more than 287,000 good-paying jobs of Washington’s manufacturing sector.

“AWB’s Manufacturing Week bus tour is a celebration of Washington’s incredible manufacturing sector,” AWB President Kris Johnson says. “Manufacturing means good jobs, great products and a solid foundation for the economic health of our state. We’re proud to represent such extraordinary employers, from thousands of family businesses — many of them starting in a garage or basement — to some of the world’s biggest companies. We thoroughly enjoyed hearing their stories along the way and learning how we can help them advocate for smart policies that help manufacturers grow.”

Manufacturing has a big impact on Washington’s working families and communities as well. More than 287,000 people worked at 7,636 manufacturing firms in 2017. The average compensation was more than $88,000 per year. Many of these jobs offer training and career opportunities without a traditional four-year college degree and are popular with those seeking to avoid student loan debt.

Today’s tour covered Benton County, which had 4,503 manufacturing jobs that pay an average wage of $58,032, the state Employment Security Department reports.

The tour also covered Franklin County, with nearly 4,000 manufacturing jobs, and Yakima County, with more than 9,300 manufacturing jobs.

This year’s tour covered several dozen employers and more than 1,400 miles.

For complete coverage of this year’s Manufacturing Week bus tour, please visit AWB’s Olympia Business Watch blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, and Vimeo channel.

For high-resolution photos from AWB’s Manufacturing Week tour, including print-quality photos from each tour stop, visit AWB’s Google Photos account. All photos are available for media use in print and online. Contact AWB Photo Editor Brian Mittge ( with technical questions about photos.

For B-roll of any event during the tour, contact Brian Temple ( or Andrew Lenderman (

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