Press Release

Friday, October 4

AWB Honors Cascade Designs with Manufacturing Excellence Award

SEATTLE — The Association of Washington Business today honored Seattle’s Cascade Designs with the 2019 Manufacturing Excellence award for Operational Excellence as part of the 2019 Manufacturing Week tour.

Cascade Designs was recognized for its distinctive manufacturing process, including continuous improvements and innovations. Operational excellence is one of four Manufacturing Excellence awards presented by AWB each year.

The award-winning outdoor equipment company was founded in 1972 and produces many of the products today’s car campers and mountain climbers can’t live without, from the Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad to the Mountain Safety Research WhisperLite stove. The company has also invested significantly in new technologies to bring clean water to off-grid communities around the globe.

Cascade is a family-owned company in Seattle’s Industrial District that employs 500 people worldwide.

“Cascade Designs creates great products and good manufacturing jobs in the heart of Washington’s largest city,” AWB President Kris Johnson said. “Their hard work and innovations have undoubtedly improved backcountry safety and global health over the years, truly remarkable achievements.”

AWB is touring the state to highlight the nearly $59 billion in economic output and more than 287,000 good-paying jobs of Washington’s manufacturing sector.

AWB’s Friday stops also included Boeing’s fabrication site in Auburn, Pioneer Human Services, which helps people release from prison reenter society, and the thriving Seattle Makers space in the South Lake Union neighborhood.

“AWB’s Manufacturing Week bus tour is a celebration of Washington’s incredible manufacturing sector,” AWB President Kris Johnsons says. “Manufacturing means good jobs, great products and a solid foundation for the economic health of our state. We’re proud to represent such extraordinary employers, from thousands of family businesses — many of them starting in a garage or basement — to some of the world’s biggest companies. We look forward to hearing their stories along the way and learning how we can help them advocate for smart policies that help manufacturers grow.”

Manufacturing has a big impact on Washington’s working families and communities, too.

More than 287,000 people worked at 7,636 manufacturing firms in 2017. The average compensation was more than $88,000 per year. Many of these jobs offer training and career opportunities without a traditional four-year college degree and are popular with those seeking to avoid student loan debt.

Today’s tour covered King County, where more than 102,000 people work in manufacturing jobs that pay more than $83,000 a year, the state Employment Security Department reports.

The tour resumes on Monday at Alcoa’s Intalco Works in Ferndale, and the rest of Washington through Oct. 10. The tour will cover outdoor equipment manufacturers, maker spaces, community colleges, boat manufacturers and more.

This year’s tour is expected to include several dozen employers and cover more than 1,400 miles.

Follow AWB’s 2019 Manufacturing Tour in real time on AWB’s Olympia Business Watch blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, and Vimeo channel.

For high-resolution photos from AWB’s Manufacturing Week tour, including print-quality photos from each tour stop, visit AWB’s Google Photos account. All photos are available for media use in print and online. Contact AWB Photo Editor Brian Mittge ( with technical questions about photos.

For B-roll of any event during the tour, contact Brian Temple ( or Andrew Lenderman (

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