Press Release

Tuesday, October 17

AWB to host statewide Rural Jobs Summit Oct. 24 in Moses Lake

OLYMPIA —Building on its first-ever rural jobs meeting in Olympia March 4, the Association of Washington Business (AWB) will host a statewide Rural Jobs Summit featuring lawmakers, rural economic development councils, port officials, chambers of commerce and key employers from rural regions across Washington on Oct. 24 at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake.

Metropolitan areas are seeing record job creation, lower unemployment and rising wages, which is a vivid contrast to what Washington’s rural regions are experiencing – chronically high unemployment levels and stagnant economic growth.

AWB’s statewide Rural Jobs Summit will take a deeper look at what Washington’s small towns, rural counties and employers need, including infrastructure investment, access to water, regulatory and tax certainty among many other actionable items. The goals of the summit are to create a Rural Caucus within the Legislature and a bipartisan legislative agenda to help level the uneven economy between the state’s urban and rural regions.

Members of the media who would like to attend the event should RSVP to AWB Communications Manager Bobbi Cussins at 360.943.1600 no later than Friday, Oct. 20.

WHO: Association of Washington Business

WHAT: Rural Jobs Summit

WHEN: Oct. 24, 2017

WHERE: Big Bend Community College

7662 Chanute Street N.E.

Moses Lake, WA 98837


8 a.m. Opening Remarks

Mike Ennis, director, government affairs director, AWB

Paul Kimmell, business and public affairs, Palouse Region, Avista Corporation

8:10 a.m. Keynote Address: Alex McGregor, managing general partner, The McGregor Company

8:30 a.m. State Agency Panel

Kelly Fukai, regional affairs representative, Schweitzer Engineering, Laboratories and Chair, AWB Regulatory Reform Committee, moderator

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz

Janea Eddy, program director and tribal liaison, Community Economic Revitalization Board, Department of Commerce

Dale Peinecke, commissioner, Washington Employment Security Department

9:15 a.m. Rural Airports

John Marc Swedburg, chief flight instructor, Big Bend Community College, moderator

Rep. Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake

Rob Hodgman, senior aviation planner, WSDOT Aviation

Ryan Sheehan, C.M., director of operations and maintenance, Spokane Airports

10:05 a.m. Exporting, New to Market

Allan Peterson, certified business advisor and global business professional, Grant County Economic Development Council, moderator

Andrew Crowder, clean technology and advanced manufacturing trade specialist, Washington State Department of Commerce

Vern W. Jenkins, international trade specialist, Spokane Export Center

Rebecca Weber, international marketing trade specialist, Washington State Department of Agriculture

Housing & Workforce

Jonathan Smith, executive director, Yakima County Development Association, Moderator

Roger Bairstow, director, Corporate Responsibility and Human Resources, Broetje Orchards

Ian Carey, general manager, RDO Equipment

Tim Probst, director of workforce initiatives, Employment Security Department

11 a.m. Infrastructure

Stephen McFadden, director, Adams County Economic Development, moderator

Jeffrey Bishop, executive director, Port of Moses Lake

Eric Temple, president, Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad


Mike Schwisow, director government relations, Washington State Water Resources Association and Columbia River Basin Development League, moderator

Dr. Matt Bachmann, hydrogeologist, U.S. Geological Survey

Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake

12 p.m. Lunch - Challenges and Best Practices

Kris Johnson, president and CEO, Association of Washington Business

Mark Sweeney, senior principal, McCallum Sweeney Consulting

Jeff Sayer, former commerce secretary, Idaho

1:30 p.m. Economic State of the State and Policy Priorities

Sean Mathewson, project leader, Boston Consulting Group

2 p.m. Local Governments

Eric Johnson, executive director, Washington State Association of Counties, moderator

Scott Hutsell, commissioner, Lincoln County

Soo Ing-Moody, mayor, Town of Twisp

Vickie Raines, commissioner, Grays Harbor County

Steve Taylor, city manager, City of Kelso

2:50 p.m. Access to Capital in the Rural Areas

Mark Scheffel, senior vice president, Advantage Capital

3:35 p.m. Rural Broadband

Monica Babine, senior associate, Washington State University, moderator

Betty Buckley, executive director, Washington Independent Telecommunications Association

Milt Doumit, vice president, Washington state government affairs, Verizon

Joseph Williams, director, Economic Development for Information and Communication Technology Sector, Department of Commerce

4:20 p.m. Legislative Leadership Report

Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville

Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, D-Seattle

Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline

Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm

5:20 p.m. Closing

Gary Chandler, vice president, government affairs, Association of Washington Business

5:30 p.m. Adjourn

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