Last fall, hundreds of Washington employers and employees stepped up and signed their names to the side of a bus during our first-ever statewide tour of manufacturers. The signers, like Michelle MacArthur at Lamb Weston in Kennewick (cover photo), did more than just sign their names. They represented employers across the state in displaying the strength and determination that is the spirit of Washington’s employer community.

The bus tour was one of many firsts in 2017. For the first time in three decades, we introduced a new logo as part of our brand update. We held two summits on rural jobs, sparking a broad discussion about how to bridge the growing urban-rural economic divide. And we hosted a Federal Affairs Summit, convening leaders from the other Washington to join the conversation about solving problems in our state.

Thanks to everyone who stepped up with. With your support, we will continue working to united diverse groups to bring economic prosperity to all of Washington.

Kris Johnson, President | Michael A. Senske, Board Chair

AWB carried out its mission to be a convener and a unifying voice for economic prosperity by reaching out to members in new ways in 2017, spurring conversation and generating fresh ideas.

New, targeted events offered relevant content on the pressing workforce needs of employers in today’s high-tech, hands-on job market and what rural communities need to expand the red-hot urban economy to their small towns. AWB’s outreach focused on giving members the opportunity to be heard and doubling down on the association’s long-standing commitment to find the best solutions to build an economy that works for everyone.

Two custom-wrapped buses, six days, more than 2,000 miles and nearly 70 manufacturing shopfloor visits is just part of the story of AWB’s first-ever statewide Manufacturing Week bus tour Sept. 29-Oct. 6.

As the state’s designated manufacturing association, AWB advocates for and works alongside manufacturers to update perceptions about the industry’s hands-on career options, to develop a robust workforce pipeline and create a competitive environment. In fall 2017, AWB took that effort to a new level, embarking on a week-long journey across the state to highlight the products and people that make up Washington manufacturing, and to show the next generation the clean, high-tech and high-wage jobs available in manufacturing.

The tour kicked off on the Olympic Peninsula. Each day, AWB staff, legislators, community leaders and others met with manufacturersof products ranging from woolen textiles and hand-carved wooden boats to french fries and world-class wines. At each stop, employees were invited to sign the bus and be part of the discussion about manufacturing and what it means to them and their communities.

As urban Washington enjoys an economic recovery that’s leading the nation, the state’s rural regions have largely been left behind. Recognizing the growing economic divide, AWB hosted two Rural Jobs Summits in 2017, prompting a long-overdue dialogue on solutions that support economic opportunity.

The inaugural Rural Jobs Summit was held March 4. The goal was to draw attention to the barriers to economic growth in rural Washington and gauge support for a larger, solutions-oriented discussion in the future. Seventy people — including lawmakers from both parties, business leaders, local economic development officials and state agency leaders — joined AWB in Olympia on a Saturday afternoon to start the conversation. The result was overwhelming support for a deeper discussion. That deeper conversation came in October when more than 200 people traveled to Moses Lake to attend AWB’s second Rural Jobs Summit.

Telling our members’ stories: AWB’s Grow Here campaign highlights how Washington employers are improving lives and strengthening communities.

M3 Biotechnology

The McGregor Company


Serving as a unifying voice for economic prosperity means advocating for employers in Olympia and Washington, D.C., ensuring that businesses of all sizes play a part in shaping the public policy that affects them, their families and their communities.

AWB offers services and products that give employers the peace of mind to know they are doing right by their business and their employees.

In today’s tight job market, AWB understands that quality, affordable benefits are an important tool for employers to attract and retain top talent. But, that’s just part of running a business. Ninety percent of AWB’s membership is made up of small businesses. They need resources. AWB has them. AWB offers members critical employment law information in time-saving ways and workers’ compensation insurance in a cost-saving way. These value-added resources allow employers to do what they do best: focus on running their business, take care of their employees and serve their customers.

The 2017 Evening of Excellence Winners:

The 2017 Manufacturing Excellence Winners:


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