AWB's Manufacturing Tour Celebrates Eastern Washington Employers
POMEROY — The Association of Washington Business today celebrated the innovative employers and groundbreaking research that support Eastern Washington’s economy.
AWB’s Manufacturing Week bus tour began the day at Wagstaff in Spokane. The company employs more than 400 people and makes aluminum casting equipment used in aerospace, nuclear and other industries.
AWB officials later traveled to Pullman to visit Washington State University’s Composite Materials and Engineering Center. There, scientists are developing new building materials and fuels from a variety of resources, as well as new structural systems. Rigorous testing ensures that these innovations are efficient, economically viable, and safe. WSU President Kirk Schulz and faculty met with AWB staff and signed the bus in addition to the tour.
Next, AWB’s tour visited Renaissance Marine Group in Clarkston, where the company produces welded aluminum recreational fishing boats. The business was founded in 2000 and employs 125 people.
The tour also visited Pomeroy Grain Growers in Central Ferry, along the Columbia River.
Pomeroy Grain is a cooperative owned by the farmers who produce Eastern Washington’s massive wheat crop and other products. It was created in 1930 to help producers get their crops to market, and to establish credibility as a reliable source of quality wheat and barley.
After harvest, many farmers transport their crops to Pomeroy’s grain storage facilities, where the crops are stored before being shipped to Portland for export. Pomeroy also offers fertilizer and other farm services to Washington producers.
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 Manufacturing Week bus tour is a celebration of Washington’s incredible manufacturing sector,” AWB President Kris Johnson 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 as well. 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 Whitman County, which had 2,777 manufacturing jobs that paid an average wage of $63,024 in 2017, the state Employment Security Department reports. The tour also covered Asotin County, where 473 manufacturing jobs paid an average wage of $38,324, and Spokane County, with 15,421 jobs that pay $52,884 annually.
The tour begins again Thursday morning in the Tri-Cities and concludes that afternoon in Yakima.
This year’s tour includes dozens of employers and will cover more than 1,400 miles.
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 (BrianM@awb.org) with technical questions about photos.
About the Association of Washington Business
Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes nearly 7,000 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing and Microsoft, 92 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10. For more about AWB, visit www.awb.org.