March 29, 2017

Washington State reports record wine grape harvest in 2016

Washington State WineWashington State’s wine grape harvest hit a new record in 2016, according to the Washington State Wine Commission’s Annual Grape Production Report. The report, compiled with information provided by all Washington State wineries, showed the 2016 harvest totaled 270,000 tons, a 22-percent increase over the previous year. Tonnage in 2015 was down a little compared to the previous record harvest of 227,000 tons in 2014, making the 2016 harvest the biggest ever in Washington State’s history.

Red varieties produced more tons than white, with 58-percent of the harvest. Production of red varieties showed a substantial increase of 39-percent [Read more…]

Washington Wine Foundation Adds Board Members

Long time industry leaders Brian Carter and Jerry Judkins-Smith were added to the Board of Directors of the Washington Wine Industry Foundation. [Read more…]

Keep Washington Competitive Urges Support for Millennium Bulk Terminals

Keep Washington CompetitiveKeep Washington Competitive Draft environmental impact statement released for review in advance of public hearings

OLYMPIA — Labor, business and agricultural representatives from Keep Washington Competitive (KWC) are expressing their support of the Millennium Bulk Terminals Project and the release of the Cowlitz County draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). The document, released Friday, represents a significant step forward in the regulatory process for the project. [Read more…]

Platts Finds Energy Northwest Has Lowest Nuclear Fuel Costs

An analysis recently published in Platts’ Nuclear Fuel found Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station had the lowest nuclear fuel cost of 28 plants surveyed across the country. Columbia’s fuel cost for fiscal year 2013 was 5.99 mills per kilowatt-hour of generation. A mill is a 10th of a cent. The average for the 28 plants surveyed is 8.16 mills per kwh, according to Platts.

“The plants reported their fuel costs either on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Form 1 or to Platts. [Read more…]

Governor To Sign NFIB-Backed Health-Care Costs Bill

NFIB logoAt a bill-signing ceremony scheduled for this morning at 10:30 a.m. in his office, Gov. Jay Inslee will put his signature on a measure that NFIB led the coordination and legislative passage of: An All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) that will eventually empower everyone in Washington state to compare quality and costs among health-care providers.

“Pairing cost and quality metrics in an All-Payer Claims Database is our best hope of educating and empowering employers to identify or design health-benefits plans that meet the needs of their particular workforce, and ultimately, give families and individuals access to meaningful information to guide their health-care purchasing decisions,” said Patrick Connor, Washington state director for America’s leading small-business association, the National Federation of Independent Business.

According to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Basics of All-Payer Claims Databases, “APCDs are large-scale databases that systematically collect medical claims, pharmacy claims, dental claims (typically, but not always), and eligibility and provider files from private and public payers. The first statewide APCD system was established in Maine in 2003 … Currently, more than 30
states have, are implementing, or have strong interest in APCDs.”

Senate Bill 5084, which the governor will sign into law today, had strong support among small businesses, health-care providers and patient organizations with 35 groups supporting the bill when it was initially heard in the Senate Health Care Committee and 27 groups signing in support of the House version of the bill. No group stated opposition to the bill.

SB 5084 corrects flaws in a law passed by the Legislature last year to establish an APCD. Among the problems with the existing law was that it lacked a requirement for all health insurers to submit their data. Experience in other states has shown that without a mandate, it is impossible to provide a comprehensive picture of the cost and quality of health care.

Data that would be submitted under the new law would include financial information, which would allow for analyses about health-care value—meaning quality and cost information about the cost of episodes of care, such as hospitalizations, which had not previously been broadly available.

Because the cost and availability of health care has been the No. 1 worry of small-business owners for 30 years, Connor took the lead in coordinating the activities of the Coalition for Health Care Cost Transparency. “It has been a two-year effort to enact and perfect the statutory framework authorizing a true All-Payer Claims Database for Washington state, but once it is fully up and running, employers, consumers, providers, and even policymakers should see the immense value of it in making health-care providers more competitive, the result of which will make medical coverage more affordable while improving outcomes for patients.”

AWB Institute Celebrates First Leadership Washington Graduates

The first-ever class of Leadership Washington, AWB Institute’s (AWBI) premiere program  to cultivate and educate the next generation of Washington industry leaders graduated recently. A ceremony was held at AWB’s annual Spring Meeting in Spokane.

Kicked off at AWB’s Policy Summit last September and sponsored by Battelle, the class of nine Leadership Washington members met six times over nine months at different locations across the state. At each session, participants were exposed to diverse industry sectors, including agriculture, energy, health care, high-tech, military and manufacturing.

“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,” said AWBI Director Amy Anderson. “Based on what we saw from this group, Washington’s future looks bright. Going into the program, these were all smart, motivated young professionals. Thanks to their experiences in Leadership Washington, they now have a deeper knowledge of Washington’s diverse economy. They also gained valuable connections that should serve them well in the coming years.”

Timing for the program could not be better. The oldest of the baby boomers turned 65 in 2011 and each day an estimated 10,000 additional members reach retirement age. Equipping the generation to fill that employment gap is critical.

“Dubbed the ‘silver tsunami,’ baby boomers are leaving the workforce in large numbers, many of whom are vacating top leadership positions,” said Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business. “That’s why it was so important for AWBI to put in place a top notch program that helps employers identify and prepare tomorrow’s leaders today.”

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

The Institute is currently recruiting for the second class that will hold its first meeting at the AWB Policy Summit Sept. 15-17. For more information and how to apply to the program, contact Amy Anderson at360.943.1600 or


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

AWB presents environmental excellence, leadership awards

The Association of Washington Business has recognized five employers that are finding creative ways to incorporate environmental sustainability within their businesses with their Environmental Excellence Award. The group also honored retired U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings with its C. David Gordon Award for his many years of service, and two state business and public service leaders for their dedication to making Washington state a great place to live, work and raise a family.

From a world-class laboratory to a bag making and printing company and a top business leader to former member of Congress, this year’s award recipients represent the diversity for which the state is known. The award winners were presented their statue at the annual AWB Spring Meeting luncheon and dinner events in Spokane.

The 23nd annual AWB Environmental Excellence Awards were presented by Jim Bruce, senior vice president for public affairs, energy and environment for UPS. The award winners are:

Sustainable Communities & Green Buildings

Resource Conservation/Pollution Prevention


Resource Conservation/Pollution Prevention


Leading Environmental Practices


Leading Environmental Practices


The leadership and service awards were presented by AWB President Kris Johnson at the evening dinner event. This year’s award recipients are:

  1. David Gordon Award

  • Former Congressman Doc Hastings


Judy Coovert Award

  • Catherine Brazil, Cowles Company, Spokane


Bruce Briggs Award

  • Gebbers Farms, Brewster

AWB President Kris Johnson congratulated this year’s award winners for upholding the values of service, sacrifice and stewardship.

“These companies and state leaders we honored today are exceptional, but they are not the exception,” Johnson said. “They represent how businesses across our state and in every sector set environmental goals and then seek new and innovative ways to reach them. And, we’re blessed to have great business and elected leaders in Washington that share our collective goal to leave a legacy of hard work and commitment to grow strong communities.”

Complete information on the award winners is listed in this year’s awards program. High-resolution photos of the event and award winners will be available soon on AWB’s website. Videos featuring each Environmental Excellence Award recipient’s company will also be available online.


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

Taste Washington on the Farm

Taste Washington on the FarmJoin Taste Washington on Friday, March 27 for a new experience where you will visit local farms and meet the people who grow and produce gourmet, artisanal products from the beautiful Pacific Northwest. At each unique excursion you will meet the farmers, get your boots dirty and enjoy a variety of delicious food and wine.

There are three distinctively different experiences to choose from, including an exploration of the artisanal cheese movement with Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island, a farm-to-table lunch featuring ultra-fresh produce in the lush Snohomish Valley, and a deep dive into oyster growing at Taylor Shellfish on Samish Bay.

Purchase your tickets today to be a part of this new and unique culinary experience. Space is extremely limited.

CITC Hires New Regional Coordinator and Opens Spokane Facility

Ken Hill - CITCThe Construction Industry Training Council of Washington (CITC) has hired Ken Hill as the Eastern Washington regional coordinator. He will be responsible for CITC’s newest facility in Spokane, Wash. CITC also has facilities in Bellevue and Vancouver, Wash.

Hill graduated from CITC and became a journeyman electrician in 1993. Then, after working in the field, he took further training with CITC and earned an administrator certification for the state of Washington in 1999. He was the president of Mastercraft Electric for two years then opened his own firm, KM Electric.

He has served on CITC’s electrical apprenticeship committee since 1995 and has been an instructor for CITC since 2014. He will split his time between Bellevue and Spokane until June so he can fulfill his teaching commitment at CITC’s Tacoma location for the balance of this school year.

“Opening this new facility fulfills a huge need for trained construction workers in Eastern Washington,” said CITC president, Halene Sigmund. “We currently have more than 60 apprentices who will be attending classes in Spokane and have the capacity to easily double that number.” The nearly 13,000-square-foot space will house classrooms, labs and staff offices. “Within the next two years we anticipate some major growth in the Spokane area and plan to meet the needs of the industry with excellent apprenticeship and craft training opportunities for those who want to become skilled craft workers,” said Sigmund

When begin classes begin this September CITC will provide apprenticeship training for carpenters electricians, laborers and plumbers, If there is sufficient demand, HVAC classes will also be offered. In addition the facility will run continuing education classes for electrical and plumbing license renewals and task training courses such as crew leader and project supervisor certificate classes.

The Spokane facility is located at10424 W. Aero Road in Spokane. For information call 1-877-707-2482m or visit the CITC website at:

About CITC

CITC provides state-approved apprenticeship and craft training in the carpentry, electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, heavy equipment operator, painting, plumbing, laborers, residential electrical, low energy and sheet metal trades. CITC also runs continuing education classes for license renewal for plumbers and electricians. The program is dedicated to training, developing and retaining a skilled labor force for the construction industry and is both a nationally accredited and state-approved apprenticeship training program.

AWB Statement on Benefits of Aerospace in Washington

The Association of Washington Business, Washington state’s largest business organization representing small, medium and large employers, issued the following statement from AWB President Kris Johnson regarding the Legislature’s attempt, through yesterday’s introduction of House Bill 2147, to erode the state’s competitiveness by reducing successful incentives for aerospace companies:

“Washington state is an aerospace hub for hundreds of employers who employ thousands people, who supply parts and innovate to make the sector successful and make Washington a great place to live.

“The fact is, aerospace incentives provide a significant return to Washington’s taxpayers. According to the state’s own estimate, the 2013 incentives will generate more than $21.3 billion in state and local tax revenue over 16 years —nearly three dollars in increased revenue for each dollar of incentives. This money will pay for vital public services including education, social services and infrastructure.

“Threatening to reduce the incentives is counterintuitive to the one sure-fire way to improve the state’s budget situation – get people back to work. These incentives not only encourage job growth in the aerospace industry, but they boost the whole economy.

“While it may be popular to focus on Boeing, hundreds of companies take advantage of the aerospace tax incentive, or other tax preferences, approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor. Reducing incentives sends the wrong message to current and potential employers about Washington’s business climate and severely harms the state’s competitiveness.

“AWB has a long history of advocating for job creation as a way to uplift communities and make the economy strong in every corner of the state. Unfortunately, this measure would do just the opposite. I urge the Legislature to put Washington’s competitive advantages above the fray. The many workers in all job sectors who depend on a strong aerospace industry need certainty that the jobs they have today will be heretomorrow.”

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 8,200 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