Press Release

Tuesday, September 16

AWB Institute launches Leadership Washington

Program aims to equip the next generation of industry leaders

CLE ELUM — The inaugural class of Leadership Washington, a new program designed to cultivate and educate the next generation of Washington industry leaders, met today at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum to kick off a nine-month course of study.

The program, organized by the AWB Institute and sponsored by Battelle, is one way in which employers can prepare for the coming generational shift as members of the baby boom retire and leave the workforce. The oldest of the baby boomers turned 65 in 2011 and each day an estimated 10,000 additional members reach retirement age.

The mission of Leadership Washington is to develop articulate, thoughtful and well-informed leaders who can guide Washington state industry in a globally competitive economy.

“Baby boomers are already beginning to leave the workforce and we know the wave of retirements — the so-called ‘silver tsunami’ — is only going to continue growing over the next two decades,” said Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business. “And they aren’t just leaving the workforce; many of them are leaving top leadership positions. It’s important that employers identify and prepare the next generation of leaders now.”

The first meeting of the 2014 Leadership Washington class was held today in conjunction with the Association of Washington Business’ annual Policy Summit. The AWB Institute is a nonprofit affiliate of AWB.

During the next nine months, the group will meet five more times in different regions across the state. At each session, participants will be exposed to a different industry sector, from agriculture, energy and health care, the high-tech economy and manufacturing.

The first class will conclude in May with a session held in Spokane in conjunction with AWB’s annual Spring Meeting.

Members of Leadership Washington’s inaugural class are:

  • Paige Davis, Lane Powell PC, Seattle
  • Ben Doornink, St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute, Spokane
  • Emily Fleury, Inland Northwest Health Services, Spokane
  • Annette Herup, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, Moses Lake
  • David Howell, Avista, Spokane
  • Valerie Langston, State Farm, Tacoma
  • Gordon Matlock, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Richland
  • Philip Schafer, State Farm, Tacoma
  • Tonia Sorrell-Neal, Washington State Conference of Mason Contractors, Kirkland

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 more than 8,100 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, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 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

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