February 5, 2018
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Passages: Fred Stabbert, chair of Forterra board and former AWB board chair

Former AWB Board Chair Fred Stabbert, who also served as chair of the board for Forterra, AWB's service corporation, died last Friday in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his family by his side. He was 74.

Stabbert was a longtime friend of AWB and was influential in the growth of the association, particularly during times of leadership transition and growth.

He served on AWB’s board from 1998-2004 and was board chair from 2001-2002. He went on to serve as chair of the board of Forterra, AWB’s service corporation.

"To say that Fred left a legacy within this organization is truly an understatement," said AWB President Kris Johnson. " He always challenged us to think strategically and with a long-term outlook."

Stabbert led AWB's 2013 strategic plan and 2016 bridge plan, and served on the Leadership Governance transition committee. In his role as chair of Forterra, he was instrumental in helping AWB build sustainable business products that benefit Washington employers and their employees, Johnson said.

AWB recognized his many contributions by awarding him the S. Fred Bruhn award in 2014.

Born in Tacoma, Stabbert moved to California to begin a 38-year career in the paper industry. He became president of Zellerbach Paper Co. in 1984, among many executive positions at companies in California, Pennsylvania, New York and Washington. He retired in 2006 after 13 years as president and CEO of West Coast Paper Company.

In addition to his leadership service with AWB, Stabbert also served on the boards of Crista Ministries and Seattle Pacific University.

Twenty-five years ago, he spoke to Seattle Pacific students about the search for a career, offering what was described as "an authentic and practical application of faith and work." SPU has an audio recording of Stabbert's 1993 talk, in which he challenges students to serve others, embrace change and prayerfully establish their agendas.

His online obituary has more information on Stabbert's life and legacy.

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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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