Water rights, education top new BIAW president’s priority list

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Water rights and education are among the top priorities for the new president of the Building Industry Association of Washington.

Ted Clifton recently stepped into the leadership position of the Olympia-based association that represents member companies in the home-building industry.

He was in the Tri-Cities last month to make sure he heard from local members about their concerns, because “it’s a different world than in Western Washington.”

Clifton, 61, who lives in Coupeville on Whidbey Island, said the state association has 7,500 members, down from the 13,000 it had before the economic downturn. He joined the agency in 1993.

Some members were lost from attrition, he said. “So much of our industry is 60-plus,” he said.

That’s why training a younger work force is critical, he said.

“We have kids looking at their devices saying, ‘I want to build one of these someday,’ and not looking up at tall buildings and saying, ‘I want to build one of these someday,” he said.

Among his goals as president of the state organization is to improve the organization’s builder education program. More than 2,400 people attended 230 classes offered through the BIAW education program last year.

“One of my pushes is to get our education aimed at the worker. The more my worker knows, the less I have to explain three times,” Clifton said, who also said that when you “train a work force, you can start being profitable.”

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Kristina Lord

Kristina Lord

Kristina Lord has more than 21 years of journalism experience and has been editor of the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business and Senior Times since July 2016. She spent more than 17 years at the Tri-City Herald and also worked at weekly newspapers in Prosser, Grandview and Yelm. She’s a longtime member of the Society of Professional Journalists’ William O. Douglas chapter and a board member of Warrior Sisterhood, a Tri-Cities Cancer Center support group. She and her husband have two young daughters and they live in West Richland.

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