October 10, 2017

Manufacturing Week: 2,000 miles, nearly 70 shop floor visits and four award winners

By: Jason Hagey   Comments: 0
Two buses, six days, more than 2,000 miles and nearly 70 manufacturing shopfloor visits. AWB's first-ever statewide bus tour celebrating Washington's diverse, vibrant manufacturing sector was a big undertaking - and a big success.

The week started Friday, Sept. 29, when the first of two buses rolled out of Olympia for stops on the Olympic Peninsula. The tour resumed Monday with two custom-wrapped buses stopping at nearly 70 manufacturers in every corner of the state, including Manufacturing Day events.

The tour also included several schools that are helping prepare the next generation of manufacturing employees, including Lower Columbia College in Longview, Delta High School in Pasco and Raisbeck Aviation High School in Tukwila.

On Thursday, the buses stopped in Seattle for AWB Institute's annual Manufacturing Summit, which included a panel on apprenticeship programs, the importance of the U.S. Export-Import Bank to growith Washington and American exports, and the presentation of the 2017 Manufacturing Excellence awards. The awards recognize manufacturers of all sizes and producing a variety of goods for overall excellence, innovation, environmental stewardship and operational ingenuity.

To wrap up the week, AWB joined in the national Manufacturing Day celebration on Friday, Oct. 6, as the bus tour made its final stop in Tumwater at Alaffia, a fair trade manufacturer of skin care products with a compelling story to tell about alleviating poverty and promoting gender equality.

The goals of the bus tour was to highlight the importance of manufacturing to the state's economic health, particularly in rural regions of the state, and to show the next generation the clean, high-tech and high-wage jobs available in manufacturing.

By all accounts, it was a successful week as employers and their employees signed the sides of the vinyl-wrapped buses and added company stickers.

“We appreciate your support,” said Dan Roberts, president of Yakima-based Manhasset Specialty Company. “It’s important for manufacturing to stay strong in this country.”

In addition to highlighting the importance of manufacturing, the tour called attention to ways that lawmakers and others can support manufacturers and help them grow. That includes reinstating the business and occupation (B&O) tax relief for manufacturers that lawmakers approved this year but was later vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee.

All along the tour route, employees signed a petition calling on the Legislature to restore the B&O tax relief.

It’s not too late to sign the petition. Download your copy here and invite your employees to sign it, as well. Signed petitions can be scanned and emailed to Eric Lohnes or mailed to AWB, P.O. Box 658, Olympia, WA 98507.

It was a remarkable week and it was documented in real-time on social media and video. A round-up of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts can be seen here. Highlights of the tour stops are also available on AWB’s blog, Olympia Business Watch, and video recaps are available for tour stops Oct. 2-6:

Thanks to everyone who helped make AWB’s first statewide manufacturing bus tour a success, including employers that hosted a tour stop, and everyone who signed the bus and signed the petition to support manufacturing.

And thanks to government and elected officials who came out for the tour, including state Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, Rep. Michael Chapman, D-Port Angeles, and state Department of Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.