November 16, 2015
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Manufacturing Summit highlights innovations, focuses on the future

Today's manufacturing innovations and hints of tomorrow's potential were on display last week at the 2015 AWB Manufacturing Summit. A full house at the Crowne Plaza in SeaTac heard from the next generation of manufacturing leaders after meeting teenagers and young adults who are already well on their way to careers and leadership in engineering and advanced manufacturing.

Students from WSU Everett's North Puget Sound campus drove a Mars rover prototype they designed and machined from scratch. Their neighbors at Everett Community College wowed the crowd by flying a quadcopter, or drone, they had also designed and built (their schoolwork is part of a growing emphasis in higher education on unmanned aerial systems). Even middle schoolers got into the act, showing off robotic Legos they created that can navigate obstacle courses and solve problems.

Wendy Sancewich, a partner at RSM (formerly McGladrey), discussed international business trends and presented the 2015 Manufacturing & Distribution Monitor.

Another highlight of the day was a presentation by i1 Biometrics on the hot topic of sports-related concussions. This Kirkland-based company makes smart mouthguards that can measure the force of head and neck impacts. In a dramatic demonstration, i1 Biometrics COO Ray Rhodes smashed one helmet against another as screens on both sides of the stage showed the 50-G force of the impacts.

The summit's keynote address came from the founders of Schilling Cider. This fast-growing Seattle maker of hard apple cider has encountered and surmounted all manner of production and distribution challenges. Olympia Business Watch has details on their talk.

Review other highlights from the summit in this Storify collection of social media posts here.

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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
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