October 10, 2018

Manufacturing awards announced during fifth day of statewide bus tour (w/ video)

By: Jason Hagey   Comments: 0

AWB announced a pair of awards and The Spokesman-Review put a spotlight on manufacturing Wednesday as the seven-day statewide bus tour rolled into Spokane.

Several guests also joined the tour AWB’s tour highlighting the importance of manufacturing to the state economy including U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Spokane Mayor David Condon and state Reps. Jeff Holy and Mike Volz.

The day began at Wagstaff, the world leader in the technology used to make equipment that transforms molten aluminum into solid shapes.

The company was founded in 1946 by George Wagstaff and now employs 350 people in its Spokane Valley headquarters and another 75 throughout the U.S. and abroad. It’s been growing steadily for years, adding building space and hiring staff.

The tour moved onto Hotstart, a fourth-generation, family-owned company also located in Spokane Valley. It employs 210 people and manufactures engine heaters for use in locomotives, trucks and other applications.

Following a tour of Pearson Packaging Systems, AWB President Kris Johnson announced the first of three awards that will be revealed during the bus tour. Formal award presentations will take place in November at AWB’s Evening of Excellence award program in Seattle. Pearson, a company led by Michael Senske – AWB’s immediate past board chair- is the recipient of the 2018 AWB Manufacturing Excellence award for Innovation.

Reporter Becky Kramer of The Spokesman-Review joined the tour group at Hotstart and Pearson Packaging Systems and she wrote about both companies in a story highlighting local manufacturing.

Senske is quoted in the article saying, “A lot of manufacturing still takes place here in the U.S. – and Spokane – despite stories to the contrary.”

Later in the morning, The McGregor Company was announced as the recipient of the 2018 Manufacturer of the Year award during a stop at the company’s Ritzville location. Sen. Mark Schoesler joined the tour and took part in the visit.

AWB President Kris Johnson shared the news with McGregor Company Chairman Alex McGregor, company President Ian McGregor and several McGregor employees.

Wednesday’s tour also included stops at::

· CF Industries in Ritzville. The terminal supplies fertilizer to growers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

· Columbia Pulp in Lyons Ferry near Starbuck. The revolutionary plant, which is under construction, will process 240,000 tons of straw per year when it’s up and running, taking what has historically been a waste product and turning it into pulp used to make paper and other products. It will employ as many as 70 people at the plant and an additional 20 at the company’s Dayton office.

· Dunham Cellars in Walla Walla. For 20 years, the winery has been located inside a former World War II air base maintenance hangar. Its most popular wine, Three-Legged Red, is named in honor of Port, a three-legged dog rescued by founding winemaker Eric Dunham.

· Northwest Wine Services near Burbank. The company stores wine for later shipping inside a 760,000 square-foot facility that’s capable of holding 7.1 million cases. That’s the equivalent of 17 football fields, including endzones, under one roof.

Click here to read about day six.