December 14, 2018
2018 Year in Review

From AWB President Kris Johnson...

This year has been spectacularly productive -- starting in January with the Legislative Day and Hill Climb and culminating with the 30th annual lighting of the Holiday Kids' Tree Dec. 7. This special year-in-review newsletter covers it all and takes a peek at what's ahead in 2019. We can't do all we do without you, our members, so thank you for all your support. And, thank you for all you do to strengthen communities, lift up families and create a welcoming place to live and work. From all of us at AWB, merry Christmas and happy New Year. We look forward to working alongside you next year and for years to come.

Lending the employer voice to public policy

At the heart of AWB's Mission and Vision statements is advocacy, leadership and being a unifying voice for solutions that support the employer community and grow the economy. The bulk of the government affairs team's work takes place in the Legislature and is cataloged in AWB's annual Legislative Review and Vote Record.

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Access to broadband, growing manufacturing jobs focus of work to expand economic opportunity to rural Washington

AWB's main goal is to advocate on behalf of the employer community, sharing what it needs to create jobs and foster healthy communities in every corner of the state. Two of the many efforts by the AWB government affairs team this year were working to reinstate a tax rate reduction for the vital manufacturing sector and seeking solutions to expand high-speed internet access to rural Washington.

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AWB's Mission, Vision and rebranding inspire headquarters remodel

The AWB office entryway and conference spaces got a makeover this year. Started in 2017, the remodel and technology upgrades were completed in time for Energy Northwest's three-day board meeting in January. The remodel was the last piece of the association's rebranding work finalized in 2017 with a new logo and brand language.

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2018 Legislative Day and Hill Climb gives voice to employers

AWB's annual Legislative Day and Hill Climb Jan. 16 featured expert panels on everything from climate policy and workforce development to the state's economy and education policy. The day-long event mixed thoughtful discussion on issues that matter to employers and the state's competitiveness with in-person visits with legislators during the hill climb portion of the event.

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Second-annual Workforce Summit explores apprenticeship, work-based learning

Creative solutions to closing the skills gap and filling open positions was the focus of the AWB Institute's second-annual Workforce Summit in Bellevue March 21. The event was headlined by Matt Poischbeg, vice president and general manager at SEA-LECT Plastics in Everett, who shared how his company flipped the script from scouring the region for the skilled workforce it needs to building their workforce from within through apprenticeships and on-the-job training.

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Supporting employees, building tomorrow's workforce focus of Early Childhood Learning event

Partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, AWB hosted its first-ever Early Childhood Learning event April 17 in SeaTac. The goal of the event was to start the conversation on the barriers and solutions to access to affordable child care and quality early learning, and how employers are an important part of the solution.

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Spring Meeting draws record attendance at new, larger venue

Hundreds of employers, policymakers and experts gathered in Spokane May 14-16 at The Davenport Grand Hotel to focus on solutions to the state's top economic challenges, including the impacts of rising trade tensions. Captain "Sully" Sullenberger capped-off the event with a powerful keynote on leadership and teamwork.

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Second-annual Federal Affairs Summit was employers' chance to connect with Congress

Trade, infrastructure and workforce development were just a few of the topics discussed by members of Washington's congressional delegation Aug. 14 at AWB's second-annual Federal Affairs Summit in Tacoma. The day also featured unique insights into the U.S. Supreme Court from former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, who discussed the confirmation process and made his prediction on the most recent nominee for the high court.

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Policy, people, place the focus of this year's Policy Summit

AWB's premiere event at Suncadia Resort highlighted education, what the state can and should do to make Washington more competitive and what measures can be taken to support the quality of place residents enjoy. The event's keynote speakers shared insights on the state of today's politics and a data-driven look at the mid-term elections.

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Manufacturing Week bus tour celebrates employers, employees and diversity of sector

More than 2,200 miles traveled, 50 shop floor stops and seven days on the road made up this year's second-annual Manufacturing Week bus tour. AWB's custom-wrapped bus crisscrossed the state Oct. 4-12 to visit some of the state's smallest manufacturers and some of its largest to tell the story of manufacturing and the impact it makes on the economy and in the lives of families.

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AWB hosts third Rural Jobs Summit in southwest Washington

Thoughtful solutions to boost job creation and the economy in rural regions of Washington were on the table Nov. 8 at AWB's third Rural Jobs Summit in Longview. Topics included support for the iconic natural resources sector, access to health care and child care, broadband expansion and more. The day-long event convened 150 community leaders, issue experts and a bipartisan group of policymakers.

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AWB's Evening of Excellence honors six employers for excellence, innovation

Wagstaff Inc. of Spokane Valley earned AWB's Employer of the Year honors at the 2018 Evening of Excellence Nov. 28. This year's event honored 18 finalists in front of our biggest crowd yet at the beautiful Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Six award winners were recognized for exemplifying the innovation, community spirit and environmental stewardship that make Washington a great place to live, work and play.

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AWB members travel to nation's capital for fifth D.C. Fly-In

Washington employers and AWB staff traveled to Washington D.C. Dec. 4-6 to connect with Congress and executive officials on the issues that matter most to Washington's business community, from international trade to agricultural policy and more. There during the honoring of former President George H.W. Bush, the group also took the opportunity to pay their respects to the 41st president.

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Holiday Kids' Tree brightens the Capitol, the season for rural families

One of the brightest moments of the year happens at the state Capitol rotunda in Olympia. The 2018 Holiday Kids' Tree arrived in Olympia Dec. 4, and the 30th annual tree lighting ceremony took place Dec. 7. Led by Gov. Jay Inslee and First Lady Trudi Inslee this year, the tree lighting ceremony is considered the official kickoff of the holiday season. The event is part of the AWB Holiday Kids' Tree Project, which raises funds to support rural families in need.

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Telling the employer story in creative, authentic ways -- and being recognized for it

AWB's Grow Here employer image campaign was in the spotlight this fall, receiving an honorable mention at the 2018 PR News Platinum Awards in New York. The communications team also received top awards for video, photography and writing.

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Supporting AWB members with timely webinars, seminars

The AWB events team not only coordinates events throughout the year like Policy Summit, Spring Meeting and others, it also lines up webinars and seminars on timely topics like employment law and implementation of the new Paid Family and Medical Leave law. The goal of these events is to make it easy for small businesses to access the information they need to be successful and prepared for new and updated workplace laws.

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A look ahead to 2019

The calendar is already filling up for 2019. The Legislature convenes Jan. 14 for a 105-day session that will include the crafting of the new two-year state budget and events are already being planned -- from webinars to our largest events. The year kicks off with the annual Legislative Day and Hill Climb Jan. 29 in Olympia with a new venue and format and moves to a third annual Workforce Summit, the annual Spring Meeting and more.

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Video Highlights

Policy Summit

Manufacturing Week

Evening of Excellence

Publication Highlights

Rural Jobs Report

Celebrating Manufacturing

Anatomy of an Economy

2018 Legislative Review

Op-Ed Highlights

Spokesman-Review: Washington's dams balance clean energy needs, fish protections

The News Tribune: Solutions to trade gap must protect Washington economy

Tri-City Herald: New pulp plant will invigorate Columbia County

AWB News Highlights

It's Time to Let All Manufacturers Win

Early Childhood Learning

Federal Affairs Summit