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Commentary: Washington Employers Shine in Annual Awards Ceremony – Centralia Chronicle

By Kris Johnson / Affiliation of Washington Enterprise

Washington is lucky to be a state stuffed with robust, resilient, and progressive employers. We had been reminded of that final month throughout the annual Affiliation of Washington Enterprise (AWB) awards ceremony in Tacoma. 

AWB handed out a report 13 awards on the Night of Excellence gala Nov. 17 in classes starting from Employer of the 12 months and Producer of the 12 months to Entrepreneur of the 12 months and Inexperienced Manufacturing. 

The previous couple of years have been exceptionally difficult for employers, however we will draw inspiration from the methods all of the winners and finalists responded to problem. Like many employers, Richland-based Apogee Group — the 2022 Employer of the 12 months — shifted to distant work throughout the pandemic, and proprietor Salina Savage continues to exit of her strategy to deal with workers by paying 100% of the medical insurance premiums for workers, amongst different advantages. 

Step by Step, winner of the Washington Resiliency Award, opened Farm 12, a restaurant and occasion venue in Puyallup, simply earlier than the beginning of the pandemic. They vowed to not lay off any workers for eight weeks. The enterprise utilized for loans, stayed on prime of the ever-changing security pointers, provided counseling in response to rising psychological well being issues, and raised cash to assist employees and the group. Eight weeks was two-and-a-half years, however nobody misplaced their job and the restaurant by no means closed.

Supporting navy veterans is one other approach Washington employers shine. NineLine Veterans Providers of Fife, winner of the Washington Veterans and Households Award, transformed 5 properties into reasonably priced shared housing for veterans in 2021, and continues to innovate new methods of offering transitional assist for veterans, households, and the broader group. 

And Senske Providers of Kennewick, winner of the Excellence in Household-Owned Enterprise Award, offers again to the communities it serves by a number of charitable actions. The corporate hosts an annual vacation mild present at its headquarters in Kennewick that raises 1000’s of {dollars} for the native meals financial institution. By means of its Embellished Household Program, Senske installs vacation lights for veterans and deployed navy personnel.

Two of the winners have connections to the warfare in Ukraine. SAFE Boats Worldwide, the 2022 Producer of the 12 months, just lately obtained the most important contract in firm historical past to supply eight Mark VI patrol boats for the Ukraine Navy. 

And Seattle-based BRINC Drones, winner of the Manufacturing Excellence Award for Innovation, has manufactured drones which were used to seek for survivors in buildings hit by Russian missiles in Ukraine.

Washington has lengthy been a pacesetter on environmental points, and that was evident within the awards. Bellevue-based QFC, winner of the Main Environmental Practices Award, is working towards a aim of zero starvation and nil waste within the communities it serves. And within the Spokane area, Inland Empire Paper Firm, winner of the Inexperienced Manufacturing award, has diminished its carbon footprint by 30,000 tons per 12 months.

As we enter one other interval of uncertainty with issues a few recession, persevering with excessive inflation and a protracted legislative session scheduled to start out in January, it’s clear that extra challenges stay for employers and for the financial system.

However the annual Night of Excellence award program was a fantastic reminder that Washington’s employer group is robust, progressive and resilient.


Kris Johnson is president of the Affiliation of Washington Enterprise, the state’s chamber of commerce and producers affiliation.

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