May 6, 2019
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It's here! Join us in Spokane for Spring Meeting this Wednesday

AWB's Spring Meeting kicks off this Wednesday. This 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 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.

The day begins with a reception at the Davenport Grand. 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. Conerly is a contributor to and the author of The Flexible Stance: Thriving in a Boom/Bust Economy (2017) as well as Businomics (2007).

Conerly will provide an overview for what employers can expect through 2020, he’ll look at the probability of a recession in the next two years and what employers can do about it now, and give insights on how the tight labor market presents opportunities for employers to outshine their competition.

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 legislators from the “four corners,” 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
Last-Minute Legislating

Spin Control: Doing the budget the way it's always done doesn't make it the best way

By Jim Camden

Legislators are apt to defend their budget process as "this is the way it's always done." If that was a good reason, one might think we would still be hanging horse thieves, placing miscreants in the stocks and throwing debtors into prison for not paying bills, or doing any number of imperfect things we've stopped doing.

In truth, the "always done" defense is only applied by people who do it that way because it suits them.

It suits legislative leaders to hold on to the budget until the very end of the session to have some leverage over hard-to-handle lawmakers. It suits budget writers from each chamber to sequester themselves somewhere away from the madding crowd of colleagues and lobbyists to avoid being pestered for everyone's favorite six-, seven-, or eight-figure project. And then there's always that familiar refrain that negotiators can't speak freely if discussions are in the open, because they might be criticized for suggesting something that doesn't sit well with the folks back home, even if it does break a logjam that leads to the deal.

This process keeps the people and businesses who will pay for all the programs and salaries out of the loop for most of the key decision points...

Read the full column in The Spokesman-Review
Talent and Capital

The Seattle-area economy punches above its weight -- and that's a huge strength

By Jon Talton, The Seattle Times

Newcomers -- and there are many -- might think that the Puget Sound region's economy is so hot because of two Big Tech headquarters, along with the "legacy" power of Boeing.

It's understandable. Amazon and Microsoft are two of the five giants that make up America's technology royalty (Apple, Facebook and Google are in the Bay Area). We're on the cutting edge of software, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and so much more.

Boeing's operations, especially commercial airliners, anchor one of the world's top aerospace clusters (the other being Airbus in Toulouse, France). The company is not only the nation's largest manufacturing exporter, but also, especially with its defense divisions, a strategic asset.

Together, the three employ about 166,000 here in well-paid, high-skilled jobs. Boeing is Washington's largest private employer, with a workforce of 69,830 as of February.

It's hard to think of another similar-sized metropolitan area in the United States with anything close.

But this is only a start in explaining why Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue enjoys one of the strongest economies in the nation. How strong? Per capita gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, was nearly $81,000 in 2017. That compares with $61,000 in San Diego and $63,000 in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Larger Phoenix lagged in at $45,000...

Read the full column in The Seattle Times
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