April 29, 2019
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Lunch keynote announced, plus more on what to look forward to at Spring Meeting

May 8-9 is your chance to join with fellow business leaders, employers and policymakers from around Washington to gain insights on the challenges and solutions to help your business thrive. Hear from keynote speakers and other thought leaders to get essential information on topics ranging from transportation to leadership and advocacy, as well as an update on the state legislative session and how changes may impact your businesses.

AWB is pleased to announce that the lunch keynote speaker is Bill Conerly, who has a Ph.D. in economics from Duke University. Conerly is an economist with more than 30 years of expertise helping companies adapt to and thrive in changing economic conditions. He has worked in economics and corporate planning at two Fortune 500 corporations and at a major bank, where he was senior vice president.

Conerly will discuss three broad areas during his presentation. First, he’ll provide an overview for what employers can expect for the rest of 2019, and through 2020. Second, he’ll look at the probability of a recession in the next two years, and what employers can do about it now. Finally, Conerly will show how the tight labor market presents opportunities for employers to outshine their competition.

Conerly is a contributor to Forbes.com and the author of The Flexible Stance: Thriving in a Boom/Bust Economy (2017) as well as Businomics (2007). His business consulting activity includes helping companies with capital expenditures, inventory levels, expansion into new markets, pricing, business models, and financial structure.

Afternoon sessions will feature:

  • A panel of agency directors from the Washington state departments of Labor and Industries, Ecology and Agriculture.
  • A leadership panel made up of influencers and legislators from across the state, moderated by the Spokane Journal of Business Publisher Paul Read.
  • A panel of CEOs featuring leaders from Numerica Credit Union, Wagstaff and Pearson Packaging Systems, moderated by AWB.
  • A transportation panel featuring executives from PACCAR, Uber, the Washington State Transportation Commission and the Washington State Department of Transportation, moderated by FedEx.

After an evening reception, we will cap off the day with a keynote address from Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2017-19. Prior to serving as America's 29th permanent representative to the U.N., Haley was elected twice to serve as governor of South Carolina. Her keynote address, sponsored by Boeing, will be held in the Davenport Grand Hotel's spacious ballroom.

Read more about our highly anticipated dinner keynote speaker.

For more on Spring Meeting and to register, visit AWB's website.

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Spring Meeting
Teaching for Tomorrow

STEM skills vital to rural students, too

By Kevin Chase, superintendent of ESD 105

In the next five years an estimated 225,465 jobs that earn a family-sustaining wage will require credentials that many of our Washingtonian students are not on track to earn. In south-central Washington, 14,455 high-paying jobs will need a credential in the next five years.

I see the chasm between education attainment and how that translates to employment and jobs. We have to make changes in our education system that allow our families and kids to visualize their path forward and to have local employers be able to recruit and train their workforce in novel ways. Career Connect Washington, a statewide initiative, is bringing together business, labor, government and education leaders so that young people have the education and skills needed to connect with high-demand, family-wage careers across Washington and in the Valley...

Even though we are an agriculture-based region we are not immune from changing workforce demands, as agriculture becomes more and more automated. Our students are ready and willing to step up to the challenge of 21st century work demands. It is up to us to prepare them...

Read the full op-ed in The Yakima Herald-Republic
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