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From left, Gary Christensen of R.E. Powell; Fran Forgette of Rettig of Forgette Iller Bowers LLP; Lori Mattson of the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce; Association of Washington Business President Kris Johnson; and Steve Simmons of the CG Public House in Kennewick pose with the 2019 AWB Manufacturing Week bus after touring Cascade Natural Gas in Kennewick on Oct. 10. Natural gas is important to the manufacturing industry as a dependable supply of energy. Cascade Natural Gas Corp. is one of four utility subsidiaries of MDU Resources, which provides energy to rural communities across eight states. In Washington and Oregon, it serves nearly 300,000 customers in mostly rural areas and employs 240 employees. (Courtesy Brian Mittge of AWB)

It’s time to celebrate the amazing things Washington makes

By Kris Johnson Washington makes some really cool things. We’re famous for many of them—airplanes, apples, software, wheat and more. The state’s iconic manufacturers established the foundation that our recent economic expansion is built upon. But there are many medium and small manufacturers that fewer people know about. The fishing rod manufacturer in Woodland. The…

Developers expect to break ground on 105 homes at The Heights at Red Mountain Ranch development this fall. At full build-out, the project will include 563 single-family homes and 226 multi-family homes. (Courtesy Aho Construction)

West Richland approves massive housing development on 148 acres

By Andrew Kirk A proposed housing development could increase West Richland’s population by about 15 percent. The Heights at Red Mountain Ranch will add 563 single-family residential lots on 148 acres with the option of later adding 226 multi-family homes on 36 more acres. The first phase of the 10-phase project—expected to begin this fall—includes 105…

Port of Pasco commissioners will define a vision and strategy in 2020 for the marine terminal development, a 28-acre riverfront site between this railroad bridge and the cable bridge. (Photo by Andrew Kirk)

Pasco wharf’s fate could be decided in 2020

By Andrew Kirk Plans for a public market at the Port of Pasco wharf next to the cable bridge hit a snag, but the idea is not dead in the water, said Gary Ballew, the port’s director of economic development and marketing. The port recently completed a detailed inspection of the wharf, which included professional…

Congressman Dan Newhouse, left, learns about the computerized control room inside the newly-completed Low-Activity Waste Facility at the Hanford vit plant. The analytical laboratory, one of more than a dozen buildings at the vit plant campus, is adjacent the newly-opened annex where control-room operators remotely oversee operations at the lab. (Courtesy Bechtel National Inc.)

Officials celebrate vit plant milestone with control room opening

By Andrew Kirk A major milestone has been reached at the massive radioactive waste treatment plant under construction at the Hanford nuclear reservation. Treatment of low-level waste—which makes up 90 percent of what’s in the aging tanks at the Hanford site—is scheduled to begin in 2023. That was the message during the U.S. Department of…

Sauvignon Blanc grapes arrive at the crush pad for Barnard Griffin winery in Richland. (Photo by Andy Perdue)

Washington looks forward to high quality wine grape harvest

By Andy Perdue As Washington grape growers and winemakers prepare for the 2019 harvest, they’re looking forward to a vintage with high quality, lots of grapes and a long, warm slide into autumn. Wineries such as Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Barnard Griffin already brought in some grapes in August, but harvest begins in earnest…

(Courtesy Benton-Franklin Trends)

Finding young professionals in the Tri-Cities

By D. Patrick Jones What do we know about the presence of young professionals in the Tri-City area workforce? From a data perspective, not enough. But first let’s define our terms. What constitutes “young,” for example? Data to answer that question is available, if we agree on a definition. For example, consider Benton-Franklin Trends indicator,…

Ironworkers install stairs at the vit plant’s Effluent Management Facility. (Courtesy Bechtel National Inc.)

Vit plant graveyard shift works to get it done after dark

By Darcy Richardson, Bechtel National Inc. It happens overnight. The Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant job site changes and more progress is made, moving the project forward on its path to treating tank waste. “We like to fly under the radar as much as possible, be the silent partners,” said Kelly Lofton, Bechtel National…

Martin Clubb, center, owner and managing winemaker of L’Ecole No. 41, and Dan Roberts, president and general manager of Manhasset Specialty Co., join AWB Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson, left, to discuss the value of the U.S. Export-Import Bank to their growth and success during a panel discussion at the third-annual AWB Federal Affairs Summit in Richland on Aug. 20. (Courtesy Brian Mittage/Association of Washington Business)

Help Washington growers, manufacturers get their products delivered

By Kris Johnson As summer turns to fall and farmers wrap up their harvests, the changing season is a good reminder about the importance of trade and infrastructure for Washington’s economy. Apple growers in Wenatchee and Yakima, wheat growers on the Palouse, Mid-Columbia potato growers and Washington’s celebrated wine industry all rely on export markets…

Beau Ruff, Cornerstone Wealth Strategies

An invisible hand to steer college savings: the education trust

By Beau Ruff There are many options available to pay for the education of a loved one. There are direct gifts, state-sponsored 529 plans and educational savings accounts, to name a few. But, if a person wants to use funds that are not available until after death and wants to influence how the money is…

More than 50 people attended an Aug. 6 hearing in Kennewick—one of seven meetings held across the state—to provide feedback on Labor and Industries’ proposed changes to significantly increase the minimum amount employees must earn before they can be exempt from receiving overtime pay. (Photo by Andrew Kirk)

Tri-City employers balk at state’s overtime proposal

By Andrew Kirk Several Tri-City employers and nonprofit leaders criticized the state’s proposal to overhaul its worker overtime exemption rule at a recent public hearing, citing concerns about their bottom lines and ability to serve customers and clients. More than 50 people attended an Aug. 6 hearing in Kennewick—one of seven meetings held across the state—to…

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