Articles by Robin Wojtanik

Robin Wojtanik spent most of her career in broadcast journalism, working at television stations around the country. She spent nearly a decade managing newsrooms in the Tri-Cities and Yakima. She enjoys volunteering for Junior Achievement and Christ the King School and serves on the board for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Northwest chapter. She lives in Richland with her husband and children.
WHECO Corp. recently opened in Pasco, adding a second Tri-City location to its list of nationwide and international facilities for machinery repair. Its corporate headquarters are in Richland. (Courtesy WHECO Corp.)

Crane repair company expands
Tri-City footprint

A 51-year-old crane repair company recently opened its second location in the Tri-Cities. WHECO Corp. started out as a parts supplier in Dayton and then expanded to six facilities across the U.S. over the decades, along with a rebuild center in the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific Ocean. The Pasco site at 525 S.…

The number of employees in manufacturing roles increased about 0.3% year over year. While this is an upward trend, manufacturing employment has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels, estimated at 8,200 jobs in the industry. (Courtesy Pasco Machine)

Area manufacturing jobs rebound but not to pre-pandemic levels

The state predicts the number of manufacturing jobs will drop in the next decade, yet industry groups intend to do everything they can to not only buck that trend but double the number of both manufacturing positions and manufacturing companies in Washington. “If the Legislature does nothing, we will have fewer manufacturing jobs,” said Dave…

Sergey Oleynik, instructor at Pasco’s T Enterprises, trains students to receive their commercial driver’s license. (Photo by Robin Wojtanik)

Demand for truckers keeps CDL schools ‘busier than ever’

Truck drivers are in demand for jobs based in the Tri-Cities. Teresa Maki, who has been in business for more than 30 years as owner of T Enterprises, a Pasco private trucking school certified in Commercial Driving License (CDL) training by the state Department of Licensing, said her enrollment has almost doubled since 2020. “The…

Construction to add a lane on Highway 395 in Kennewick and an underpass in the Southridge area is expected to shift cars back onto the roadway this summer before wrapping up work this fall. (Courtesy WSDOT)

Roundabout to alleviate Hanford traffic delayed until next year

A roundabout planned to alleviate Hanford traffic in north Richland is now delayed until next spring. A traffic circle is planned at the intersection of Highways 240 and 225 and Route 10 adjacent to the Hanford nuclear site. “There’s been a lot of near misses in the area and also a lot of congestion, especially…

Nate Taylor is general manager of Boiada Brazilian Grill, a restaurant that opened in Kennewick and is expanding to Spokane. (Photo by Robin Wojtanik)

Tri-City businesses find success with new locations in Spokane

While many business owners felt fortunate to have emerged from the pandemic still operating, a handful of Tri-City entrepreneurs decided to take the plunge and expand – often to Spokane. After noticing other businesses entering the market two hours north, Rich Breshears of Breshears Professional Photography jokingly questioned, “Is that the new black – to…

Entrepreneur Chauné Fitzgerald has a wide-ranging influence on the Tri-City community: empowering other business owners, speaking for the voiceless and creating positive change. (Courtesy Chauné Fitzgerald)

Longtime community leader works to make an impact

Chauné Fitzgerald continues to make a mark on the Tri-City community through her volunteer work and advocacy, operating her own business and starting a successful nonprofit. She’s also working to launch a Tri-City chapter of the Washington African American Chamber of Commerce. But the Richland entrepreneur says she regularly feels unseen or invisible and works…

Chris Corbin, far right, stands with his family, from left, parents John and Kathy and wife Jennifer Corbin, at the site of his $3.5 million development at 6481 W. Skagit Ave. in Kennewick, adjacent to Chuck E. Cheese, where he plans to welcome dozens of food trucks in one location. (Courtesy Chris Corbin)

Food truck pavilion targets spring opening

First stop – Kennewick. Followed by the remainder of the Tri-Cities, every college town, and then the rest of America. Chris Corbin’s dream for his food truck pavilion has no bounds – and why should it? He’s already overcome a huge obstacle by cementing private financing for the $3.5 million development after getting turned down…

As one of the only compounding pharmacies in Eastern Washington, Malley’s Compounding Pharmacy in Richland helps with bioidentical hormones, often for menopausal symptoms, and also dispenses veterinary medications. (Courtesy Malley’s Compounding Pharmacy)

As pandemic pushes people to be healthier, pharmacy is ready to help

Since the start of the pandemic, Malley’s Compounding Pharmacy has weathered a prescription-filling rush, a shutdown, a slowdown and then a shift to steady business with more customers focused on prioritizing health and wellness, including adding more supplements to their routine. “We’ve seen an increase in business with people just wanting to be healthier,” said…

Swimming lessons at CBRC Health & Wellness Clinic have ongoing demand but finding enough certified lifeguards and other staff has been a challenge. (Photo by Robin Wojtanik)

Tri-Cities’ largest gyms see mixed demand in wake of pandemic

The largest fitness centers in the Tri-Cities are seeing mixed results on membership numbers since getting the green light to reopen after initial Covid-related shutdowns. At a time of year when gyms tend to see a boom of interest from those with a “new year, new me” mentality, CBRC Health & Wellness Clinic in Richland…

Richland Energy Services’ Matt Suarez, left, meter, power and protection lead, and Trevor Wilkerson, power operations manager, stand with Richland Energy Services’ first AMI meter, which arrived in April 2021. (Courtesy city of Richland)

Richland improves metering efficiency, renewable energy use

Richland is preparing to launch final testing of a new utility metering system prior to its rollout in 2022, ending the need for dedicated meter readers to visit the 27,000 homes and businesses throughout the city. Officials hope to have new electric and water meters installed in most locations by the end of next year.…

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