Press Release

Thursday, October 4

AWB Manufacturing Tour Visits South Puget Sound, Kitsap Peninsula

Tour highlights good jobs at Callisons, Inventech Marine Solutions, Watson Furniture and more

PORT ANGELES — Employers and employees celebrated Washington’s diverse manufacturing sector today and signed the Association of Washington Business tour bus as it crossed the South Puget Sound on the first leg of a seven-day, 1,500-mile cross-state tour.

U.S. Reps. Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer, along with Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, joined the tour, which visited a custom aluminum boat maker, Washington's only optics manufacturer, and more.

AWB’s custom-wrapped tour bus began the day with a kickoff event at Callisons in Lacey, which is a leading supplier of mint oils and flavors. The company employs 195 people at two sites in Washington and other facilities across the globe. The tour continued with a walk through the family-owned Print NW in Lakewood, the Tacoma Clean LNG site in Tacoma, Inventech Marine Solutions in Bremerton, and R. Mathews Optical Works and Watson Furniture Systems in Poulsbo.

Manufacturing supports 22,736 jobs in Thurston, Pierce and Kitsap counties, with average annual wages that range from $50,689 to $61,415.

Clif McKenzie, CEO of Watson Furniture Group in Poulsbo, employs 225 people and is actively hiring. The company designs cutting-edge furniture and emergency consoles purchased by companies such as Boeing, Google and even the Memphis Police Department. McKenzie said he is proud to provide manufacturing jobs for a diverse workforce in a rural community.

"We give them a chance to work with their hands and do something beautiful," McKenzie said to AWB's bus tour group.

Kitsap County supports 2,699 manufacturing jobs. Thurston County supports 3,407 manufacturing jobs; Pierce County, 16,630 manufacturing jobs.

Statewide, Washington state’s economy is home to 282,431 manufacturing jobs at 7,326 different employers.

“Manufacturing is vital to Washington’s economy, even as our economy grows and evolves,” AWB President and CEO Kris Johnson says. “Manufacturing continues to offer a solid pathway to the middle class with an average wage of more than $72,000 a year and opportunities for advancement. AWB is committed to working with our state and federal officials to support policies that allow Washington employers to succeed and continue creating jobs for working families.”

AWB’s 2018 Manufacturing Week tour began today in Lacey. The seven-day bus tour is scheduled to include about 1,500 miles and dozens stops in every corner of the state, from paper mills to airplane manufacturers to wineries and farms.

This is AWB’s second-annual Manufacturing Week bus tour, coinciding with the nationwide Manufacturing Day celebration Oct. 5.

Follow AWB’s 2018 Manufacturing Tour in real time and download new content daily on AWB’s Olympia Business Watch blog, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr accounts, and Vimeo channel.

For high-resolution photos from AWB’s Manufacturing Week tour, including print-quality photos from today’s tour of this area, visit All photos are free for media use in print and online. Contact AWB Photo Editor Brian Mittge at with any technical questions about photos.

Video footage including B-roll is also available here. Contact video editor Brian Temple with questions at

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