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AWB Institute Celebrates First Leadership Washington Graduates

ByJoe Connector

May 13, 2015

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 AmyA@awb.org.


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 www.awb.org.