Press Release

Thursday, September 17

AWB 'Advocate of the Year' award presented to local chambers of commerce

Association of Washington Business recognizes three local chambers of commerce for their advocacy work in the 2015 legislative session in conjunction with the association’s Grassroots Alliance

CLE ELUM — The state's largest business organization honored three local chambers of commerce with the first-ever Association of Washington Business (AWB) Advocate of the Year award for their efforts in the Legislature as part of the AWB – Local Chamber Grassroots Alliance partnership.

The award recipients are: the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce; the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce; and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber. They were recognized for their advocacy work at the state and local level on the bipartisan, statewide transportation funding and reform package signed into law earlier this year. It is the first transportation investment package passed in a decade.

"Our relationship with local chambers has always been strong, but as we considered how to build upon our strengths, we saw an opportunity to combine the local chambers’ advocacy clout with our state policy work to achieve big goals,” AWB President Kris Johnson said. “One of the main issues we had in common was the desire to see a transportation funding package pass. Together, after three years of hard work, we were able to get a statewide investment package through the Legislature along with cost-saving reforms. This was a great victory and, I believe, just a taste of what the growing Grassroots Alliance has in store for the future."

The Grassroots Alliance was formed with 34 chambers in the fall of 2014 and has grown to 49 chamber members over the year. The group harnesses the statewide advocacy efforts of AWB and the local outreach and advocacy efforts of the local chambers of commerce. The Alliance collaborates on key issues determined prior to the session and works together to move forward policies in the Legislature that promote job growth and prosperity in every corner of the state.

The awards will be presented to each recipient at their chamber’s board meeting at dates later this year.

Below is more detail on the award recipients:

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber: Tom Pierson, president and CEO, was a strong advocate on behalf of his membership in the Legislature. Between the chamber’s social media, email and other outreach, the message of the importance of the package to the region’s mobility and economy helped sway legislators’ opinions of the $16 billion investment in roads, bridges and highways.

Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce: Lori Mattson, president and CEO, and Austin Neilson, government and economic affairs director, traveled to Olympia to testify in favor of the transportation funding and reform package before the Legislature. The chamber was also active in engaging its members to contact local lawmakers to ask for their support of the package. Their social media and public relations efforts also helped move the transportation package over the finish line.

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce: Kelly Love, CEO, president and CEO, is proof that even chambers with a small staff can take on big tasks. Love traveled to Olympia to testify on behalf of her members to encourage lawmakers to support long-overdue transportation funding and reform package, making a strong case for how improving roadways is a building block to a strong economy.

Photos from AWB's Policy Summit will be posted online at

For more information about the Policy Summit, visit or follow the Policy Summit on Twitter at @AWBSummit or #AWBSummit15.

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 7,900 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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