Press Release

Wednesday, September 20

AWB Institute 2017-18 Leadership Washington Class Begins

Fourth year of program to host 13 future business leaders for a year-long educational tour of state to learn about Washington’s diverse economy, industry sectors and policy issues

CLE ELUM — The fourth class of the Association of Washington Business Institute’s (AWBI) Leadership Washington program kicked off its nine-month, seven-stop tour of the state’s diverse industry sectors today at the association’s annual Policy Summit at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum.

Sponsored by Battelle, Leadership Washington is the premiere statewide program to cultivate and educate the next generation of Washington industry leaders and advocates.

Members of AWBI Leadership Washington’s 2017-18 include 13 professionals from across the state and from a variety of industries. They are:

  • Brent Downey, Kaiser Aluminum
  • Ryan Eddy, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories
  • Matt Hawley, Lamb Weston
  • Mike Kennedy, Energy Northwest
  • Kevin Leneker, Single Handed Consulting
  • Josh Lozano, Office of Congressman Dan Newhouse
  • Brodey Mann, State Farm Insurance
  • Joey Mertlich, Wilson Albers & Community
  • Katherine Morgan, Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Marcela Navarro, Cadet
  • Dustin O’Quinn, Lane Powell
  • Andrew Thompson, Granite Construction Company
  • Eric Wolf, Workforce Training & Education Board

The goal of Leadership Washington is to ensure participants are exposed to the many diverse industry sectors that make up Washington’s economy through a nine-month, seven region tour of businesses across the state. The meetings showcase a variety of sectors as a way to foster an understanding of how they work together and complement one another.

“When people think of Washington state, a couple of iconic industries come to mind, tech and aerospace. But, our state has so many more sectors – health care, advanced manufacturing, biotech and more – and that’s what Leadership Washington shows its participants,” said AWB Government Affairs Director and AWBI lead Amy Anderson. “Most importantly, the program shows the up-and-coming industry leaders how every sector works together to make the economy strong and what can be done at the state and local level to make them even more vibrant.”

“Washington’s economy is incredibly diverse – from agriculture to high-tech. The Leadership Washington program helps participants be informed and recognize not only what will drive their specific industry forward, but what the other industries that support them need to thrive as well,” said AWB President Kris Johnson. “It’s great to see these leaders embrace how their industry’s success depends on or is tied to the success of another. Leadership Washington is that stepping stone for these individuals as they move into leadership roles within their companies.”

The group’s seven educational tours and the issues they will learn more about, beginning this month, will be as follows:

  • Session One: Orientation, public policy and the economy will be held at AWB’s annual Policy Summit, Suncadia Resort, Cle Elum, Sept. 19-21.
  • Session Two: Agriculture, food processing and energy will be held in the Tri-Cities Oct. 26-27.
  • Session Three: Import/export, technology and research will be head in Seattle Nov. 16-17
  • Session Four: The role of business in public policy and politics and military will be held at AWB’s annual Legislative Day & Hill Climb in Olympia Jan. 15-17.
  • Session Five: Transportation, timber and media training will be held in Vancouver March 1-2.
  • Session Six: International commerce, border communities and tourism will be held in Bellingham and Mount Vernon April 5-6.
  • Session Seven: Health care, education and class graduation will be held at AWB’s annual Spring Meeting in Spokane May 7-9.

High resolution photos of each participant can be downloaded at this link.

For more information on this program and when applications will be accepted for the 2018-19 Leadership Washington class, contact Amy Anderson at 360.943.1600 or

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