September 17, 2018
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Top Stories

AWB is in Suncadia for this week's sold-out Policy Summit

Policy Summit begins Tuesday with a slate of insightful and engaging speakers, with plenty of time for discussion and networking. Keynote speakers will include Politico Editor-in-Chief John F. Harris, former Congressman George Nethercutt, pollster and author Kristen Soltis Anderson, and data security expert Jennifer Golbeck. Follow along with all the Policy Summit discussion on Twitter and Olympia Business Watch.

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Discussion intensifies on carbon 'fee' initiative

National eyes are settling on Washington, where Initiative 1631 could be the first time voters enact a statewide "fee" on carbon emissions. On the other hand, observers say that increasing the costs of manufacturing, fuel and energy use in Washington could push even green companies out of state. New sites opposed to the initiative have come online at, with regular updates on Facebook and Twitter.

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National attention focuses on Snake River dams after Pasco congressional hearing

With members of Congress meeting in the Tri-Cities last Monday, more national attention than usual came to the network of dams that provide energy, freight mobility and recreation while protecting salmon runs on the Columbia-Snake river dam system.

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Teacher strikes end in Tacoma, Tumwater and Battle Ground

Students are heading back to class in Tacoma, Tumwater and Vancouver, as labor strife appears to be over for this school year. The Tacoma School District and its teachers' union agreed on a tentative contract Thursday afternoon, ending a weeklong strike. Teachers and districts also came to agreement in Tumwater and Battle Ground over the weekend.

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Alaffia wins U.S. State Department's 2018 award for Corporate Excellence in Women's Economic Empowerment

Tumwater-based Alaffia will be presented with the U.S. State Department's 2018 Award for Corporate Excellence in Women's Economic Empowerment next month in Washington, D.C. Alaffia, a fair-trade skin care and cosmetics company, was founded to support women-run enterprises in Togo. AWB profiled Alaffia in the 2017 Grow Here campaign.

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Other News

Higher health insurance premiums coming to state's health-care exchange

Premiums on the Washington state health-insurance exchange will increase by about 14 percent next year. That will mark the fourth year in a row that premiums have increased, including a 24-percent increase this past year.

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WSU sets statewide enrollment record for the third straight year

With campuses in nearly every corner of the state, Washington State University is seeing its enrollment surge -- especially at its flagship campus in Pullman.

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Starbucks announces global 'Greener Stores' commitment

Building on its legacy as the world's largest retailer builder of LEED-certified stories, Starbucks has committed to designing, building and operating 10,000 'Greener Stores' across the globe by 2025.

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Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce hires Lance Beck as president and CEO

The Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce has tapped Lance Beck, an experienced marketing executive with deep Spokane roots, to serve as president and CEO. The Spokane Valley Chamber is an active member of AWB's Grassroots Alliance.

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September is Paid Family and Medical Leave Month: Employment Security Department hosting public forums, rolling out Voluntary Plan application

It's a busy month for the state Employment Security Department as the agency raises awareness among employers and employees about the new Paid Family and Medical Leave program that begins its first phase on Jan. 1, 2019.

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AWB Events & Resources

Newly announced event: OSHA 10 Training, Oct. 22-23

AWB will offer a two-day OSHA training program at its headquarters in Olympia in October. It's designed for construction workers, foremen, job supervisors and anyone involved in the construction industry.

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Get ready for Manufacturing Day and AWB's Manufacturing Week bus tour Oct. 4-12

Mark your calendars for Washington's biggest celebration of manufacturing. As part of national Manufacturing Day celebrations, AWB will again tour the state in a custom-wrapped bus this October. AWB's Manufacturing Week will celebrate and promote the vital role manufacturing plays in supporting Washington's communities and economy.

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Rural Jobs Summit to be held this fall in Longview

AWB's ongoing focus on statewide economic development, which started with two summits last year, will continue with the 2018 Rural Jobs Summit Nov. 8-9 at Lower Columbia College in Longview. Reserve your spot here.

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Celebrate Washington's extraordinary employers at AWB's Evening of Excellence Nov. 28

AWB will roll out the red carpet again this year for its third-annual Evening of Excellence awards gala at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on Nov. 28. It's AWB's chance to celebrate innovation, environmental stewardship and the overall community spirit of Washington's diverse employer community.

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Best of the Blog

Detailing the differences: Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family and Medical Leave

While they might sound the same, there are many important differences between Washington's Paid Sick Leave program (established by initiative) and its Paid Family and Medical Leave program (voted into law by a bipartisan negotiation process through the Legislature). Learn the differences, and how your business could be affected, in this AWB blog post.

Tweet of the Week

Curing Alzheimer's

They Said It

Supporting the Snake River dams

"I believe it's important that Congress is educated about how vital our federal river power system is to the Pacific Northwest." ~ U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, during a congressional hearing about the role of the Snake River dams to the region's communities, commerce, agriculture and lifestyle.

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From Japan to Ritzville

My experience harvesting wheat

By Yoichiro Yamada, Consul General of Japan in Seattle

About two months ago, I received an email from Washington State Senator Mark Schoesler's office, inviting me to join the Senator as he reaps wheat in his fields in early August... When we arrived at the farm, the first impactful thing we noticed was the vastness of the crop fields. As far as the eye can see were golden wheat fields owned and operated by Senator Schoesler and his extended family...

Senator Schoesler operated a combine harvester for the first time when he was 11 and still operates the combine every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. -- a total of 14 hours -- during harvesting season. His son also learned how to use a combine from age 13 and paid his way through university. Since our intention was not to be treated as guests, but work until we were completely sweaty, I prepared a number of clothes and entered the farm entirely ready. In the end, we did not get sweaty, but rather we were blessed to listen to Senator Schoesler speak about agriculture while reaping the expansive wheat fields...

According to the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Japan's self-sufficiency rate for food in 2017 is the lowest in the developed world at 38% (based on a calorie-expended basis). Japan imports a large amount of food from all over the world to meet demand. Wheat imports account for 5.7 million tons, with 53% (or 3 million tons) coming from the United States. Washington State is one of the leading wheat producers in the United States. Even the day before I visited, employees of a major flour milling company from Japan came to check on the situation of wheat in Ritzville...

Washington State has a long and deep relationship with Japan not only in aircraft and technology industries, but also in agriculture.

Read the full story in as Consulate-General of Japan's website
Rising Above

Lampson Beating Odds for Family-Owned Businesses

By Don Brunell

When one approaches the Tri Cities, it is impossible to ignore Lampson International's monstrous cranes in its Pasco assembly yard. Those gantries stand out like the Space Needle in Seattle and reach over 560 feet into the sky.

Like the Space Needle, Lampson is built on a solid footing. Last month, Construction Review Online (CRO) ranked Lampson as the world's third largest crane company.

It is a very innovative family-owned manufacturer which has defied the survivability odds. According to The Family Firm Institute, only about 30 percent of family-owned businesses survive into the second generation and fewer than 12 percent are still viable into the third generation.

As Lampson's third generations move into leadership, the company is well positioned for growth and success. Today, it has a fleet of hoists capable of lifts from 350 to 3,000 tons (US)...

Read the full column in The Chronicle
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