Forgot Password?

Fast Facts

Monday, May 19

Thank you for another great Spring Meeting!

Thank you for another great Spring Meeting!

AWB members packed out the grand ballroom in the Davenport Hotel last week for AWB’s annual Spring Meeting — a two-day combination of award presentations, legislative updates, networking and fascinating talks from leaders in business and politics. A few highlights:

  • Former Gov. Gary Locke, who went on to serve as U.S. secretary of commerce and ambassador to China, accepted AWB’s C. David Gordon Award by discussing the many opportunities available for American businesses in China — and the many strengths the United States has moving forward.
  • Legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle discussed transportation, taxes, education funding and the minimum wage.· Attorney General Bob Ferguson made the case for strong consumer protection as a way to defend legitimate business from unscrupulous and unfair competition.
  • Tom Malone, CEO of MicroGREEN Polymers, encouraged attendees to try to destroy his product. They couldn’t — the InCycle cups made in Arlington are not only fully recycled and recyclable, they are also indestructible. He explained how his company is rapidly growing and signing up new customers using technology born at the University of Washington.
  • AWB honored environmental excellence, community service and individual leadership with our annual awards. Newspapers including The Herald of Everett, The Vancouver Business Journal and The Tri-City Herald covered the awards.

A roundup of social media posts from the event is available on Tagboard. With Spring Meeting concluded, it’s time to save the date for the 25th annual Policy Summit at Suncadia, Sept. 16-18.

Filing week ends for election that will decide control of state Senate
Filing for the 2014 election ended Friday with candidates emerging in most races, including a last-minute Republican candidate in the key race to replace breakaway Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom in the 48th legislative district. Michelle Darnelle will face Democratic Rep. Cyrus Habib for a seat that could determine whether a moderate coalition retains control of the Senate. With Tom retiring for family and medical reasons, the only Democrat left in the Majority Coalition Caucus is Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, who faces opponents from the left and right. Sheldon received a major endorsement last week from former Republican Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna.

AWB gives automatic endorsement to 43 lawmakers for strong pro-business voting history

Eleven senators and 32 House members earned automatic endorsements today from AWB based on their lifetime record of voting to support a strong Washington business climate. Legislators who garner an 80 percent or better voting record during AWB’s annual legislative review earn the automatic endorsement. “These legislators have demonstrated a consistent commitment to supporting policies that foster a healthy and competitive business environment in Washington state,” said Gary Chandler, vice president of government affairs for AWB. Our full review of the legislative session and vote record will be published next month.

Ousted whistleblower calls for audit of Kreidler’s office

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler placed his hearings officer on leave last week after she claimed that the office’s deputy commissioner was improperly attempting to influence her rulings, according to news reports in the Puget Sound Business Journal and Seattle Times. Lawmakers and several members of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange “expressed dismay” over the move, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported. Now the ousted judge, Patricia Petersen, is calling on the state Auditor’s Office to investigate Kreidler’s office, according to reporter Valerie Bauman.

Seattle mayor adds ‘training wage’ to $15 minimum wage proposal

In a surprise move, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced last week that he wants to add a training wage to the compromise $15 minimum wage proposal announced earlier this month. This is a “significant change,” The Seattle Times reports, but one that fits with a little-used, little-known state law that allows the Department of Labor & Industries to issue certificates for “learners, student workers, apprentices” and those with disabilities to work below minimum wage for “a fixed period of time.” A restaurant owner in Seattle says a training wage “opens the door to let people get into the work force.” Meanwhile, a new poll shows widespread and growing public support for a $15 minimum wage.

Survey confirms red tape is a problem, especially for small business

At least one form of state government regulation is excessively time-consuming or costly, AWB members said in a survey conducted last month. Survey results were sent to the Department of Commerce to assist officials there in development of the Red Tape Index, a new initiative that measures the costs that businesses incur in complying with state regulations. Department of Labor & Industries regulations, tax reporting requirements and permitting delays were among the most frequently cited complaints. Check out Olympia Business Watch for more.

AWB Climate Committee to meet this Wednesday

The Climate Committee will meet this Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the AWB office in Olympia. With Gov. Inslee issuing an executive order to reduce carbon emissions and appoint a carbon reduction task force, there is much to discuss. Contact Brandon Houskeeper for more information.

Pre-register now to discuss the future of education this Thursday in Redmond

Wireless pioneer John Stanton will have an update on the Washington Futures project during a special meeting of AWB’s Education and Workforce Training Committee from 12-2 p.m. Thursday at the Microsoft campus. Richard Davis will also give an update on the proposed WEA initiative to reduce class size, and the committee will discuss topics such as the levy swap and a STEM campaign proposal. Lunch will be served. Due to security criteria, all attendees must pre-register. Please RSVP as soon as possible to Connie Grande by emailing her at or calling 360.943.1600.

Save the date: AWB Land Use Committee will meet June 3 in Seattle

The AWB Land Use Committee will discuss legislative objectives, including land use and construction, during a June 3 meeting to be held at noon in the Seattle office of Foster Pepper PLLC. A conference call option is also available. Contact Connie Grande for call-in details, or Government Affairs Director Brandon Houskeeper for information on the committee.

Joint meeting set for Education & Workforce Training, Tax & Fiscal Policy committees

Legislators will address a joint meeting of the AWB Education & Workforce Training and Tax & Fiscal Policy committees on June 17 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on the Microsoft campus. Lawmakers from Education, Finance, Appropriations and the Joint Title IX Task Force will discuss the levy swap and other issues relating to the school funding McCleary decision. Contact AWB’s Sheri Nelson for more information.

Inslee meets with British delegation on climate change

Gov. Jay Inslee met with a delegation from the United Kingdom last week on a clean energy partnership with a focus on carbon markets. The UK paid for a consultant who brief Inslee’s new carbon reduction task force. Last September Inslee and the UK’s energy and climate change minister, Greg Barker, signed an agreement to collaborate on market-based solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote energy efficiency.

Washington’s unemployment rate hits lowest level since Great Recession

The state’s economic outlook is steadily increasing as the official unemployment rate hit a post-recession low of 6.1 percent in April. The job creation rate is the highest it’s been since 2005, The Seattle Times reports. While the news is good in King County — home to 7,100 of the 7,700 new jobs created last month — the situation is still grim in many parts of the state outside the Puget Sound area. The jobless rate in Ferry County is at 12.8 percent and in Grays Harbor it’s 11.4 percent.

State’s tax collection were up $36.1 million over forecast last month

This month’s revenue report from the Washington Economic and Revenue Forecast Council had good news last week, with the state collecting $36.1 million more than predicted. That optimistic report was tempered slightly by word that the state had weaker than expected growth in jobs and home construction activity.

Boeing will keep 777X tail work in Pierce County at Frederickson plant

The carbon-fiber composite tail of the 777X will be built in Federickson, near Tacoma, which is welcome news for Pierce County workers and officials. The work will take place at the same facility where the tail for the current 777 and the vertical fin for the 787 are made.

Work starts to dig big Bertha repair pit for repairs to Seattle waterfront tunnel borer

A new kind of drilling project began on the Seattle waterfront last week as crews began the preliminary work to install the underground walls for a 120-foot-deep pit that will allow work crews to repair Bertha, the world’s largest tunnel boring drill. Actual drilling to reach Bertha will begin in July (WSDOT has set up a webcam to show the access pit as it’s dug.) The state Department of Transportation and the private contractor hope to have Bertha drilling again by next spring on the much-delayed construction of a new Highway 99 tunnel.

Virginia Mason CEO named one of nation’s most influential health care leaders

Dr. Gary Kaplan, CEO of AWB member Virginia Mason Health System in Seattle, is number three on the list of the nation’s 50 most influential physicians and executives in the United States, according to a list by Modern Healthcare. Virginia Mason is known for using a Toyota-inspired lean production system, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal, and it was the only Washington hospital to make Healthgrade’s list of the nation’s 100 best hospitals.

Three AWB members make national list of best places to work in health care

A national ranking of the best places to work in health care includes three AWB members: The Everett Clinic (1,800 employees), Proliance Surgeons, Seattle (185 physicians in various specialties) and the Renton-based Providence Health & Services Northwest Region (with more than 4,000 employees). The ranking by Becker’s Hospital Review included 150 health care businesses across the nation with robust benefits, wellness initiatives, professional development opportunities and other positive benefits for employees.

Be part of the next generation of leadership by enrolling in AWB’s Leadership Washington program

The silver tsunami is coming as Baby Boomers leave the workforce. AWB is helping prepare the next wave of business leadership through our inaugural year of Leadership Washington, the AWB Institute’s new statewide leadership development program. Over nine months, young leaders will travel the state for a series of training and networking events focusing on the different industry sectors and political landscapes of Washington. Graduates from the program will be strong, articulate, informed leaders who will help Washington move forward in a globally competitive economy. Contact Amy Johnson for information. Applications for the program are due June 15.

Help inform the debate by sharing your manufacturing story during our statewide listening tour

Your input is crucial as we look ahead to how to help the state’s business climate and ensure that new workers are trained and ready to work. The AWB Institute is holding seven listening sessions around the state over the next two months. We want to hear from manufacturers as we write a follow-up to our 2012 report, Challenges & Opportunities for Manufacturers in Washington state. If you’d like to share your story about running a manufacturing business in Washington — including what could be done to ensure the industry’s continued growth and presence in our state — contact Amy Johnson to learn about a listening session near you.

Review the tricky language and clauses that can get even the best HR pro into legal trouble

Legal boilerplate — the fine print — can be a minefield of hidden traps. What do terms like “integration,” “severability,” “choice of law” and “indemnification” mean, and which ones make sense for you to include in your documents? What should you do about non-compete agreements for your company or potential employees? Find out the answers to these questions and more during a pair of seminars Wednesday, June 11 with Davis Wright Tremaine employment law attorney Greg Hendershott. Join Hendershott for the session “Don’t Get Burned by Boilerplate Contracts” or “How to Manage Non-Compete Agreements” — or sign up for both. For more information or with questions, contact Karlee Keith at 800.521.9325, or register online today.

Learn how you can use your HR resources to secure a competitive advantage, July 10 in Seattle

Explore the latest HR trends, learn about generational differences and get up to speed on employment law issues at AWB’s 2014 Human Resources Forum. The forum, “Strategies for Securing Your Competitive Advantage,” will include:

  • An interactive “LinkedIn” breakfast and with LinkedIn’s Michelle Cowden. She will examine current trends and emerging technology solutions for recruitment and maintaining your top talent.
  • Exploration of the impact of generational differences to the workplace with Michael Lee, Seattle franchise owner, Express Professionals.
  • Review of employment law nuances with Ryan, Swanson, & Cleveland’s attorneys.

The forum will run from 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in the Seattle Center. Learn more and register here.

“If it doesn't hurt a little bit, it isn't real reform.”
~ Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, during the legislative panel at last week’s Spring Meeting, discussing the need for stronger reforms as part of a transportation funding package.

If you would like to unsubscribe to Fast Facts, please contact

Back To News