December 1, 2017

EDB investors trek to Frederickson

EDB investors get rare look inside Boeing Frederickson plant

In October a group of about 40 leaders representing Tacoma-Pierce County business, manufacturing, education, health care and government donned visitor badges for a rare tour of the Boeing Frederickson fabrication site. The Frederickson plant manufactures Boeing’s aircraft wing components, including the carbon-fiber composite tail of the 777X jet.
EDB board member and Boeing Frederickson site director Adi Singh extended the invitation for EDB investors to see and learn more about the products Boeing manufactures in the heart of Pierce County. “It was a great opportunity to share Boeing’s journey and raise awareness with local leaders,” Singh said. “We look forward to them being messengers for us, and talking about our impact on Pierce County’s economic development.”
Attendees were impressed with the Boeing operation on multiple levels. “As an HR professional and admitted ‘safety geek,’ I thoroughly enjoyed the walkabout of the plant,” said John Wyman, Human Resources manager for BPI Medical. “As a small company, we are growing our lean manufacturing capabilities every day. It was inspiring to see them in full practice in the facility.”
“We all know the Frederickson plant is an integral part of Boeing operations,” said EDB President Bruce Kendall. “To get an up-close look at what’s happening there was pretty special.”
Timely, too. Just a few weeks after the Frederickson site tour, The Boeing Company announced plans to fill open manufacturing positions. Four job fairs were held throughout the state in November, including one in Tacoma at WorkSource Pierce County.
 EDB investors and staff recently toured the Boeing Frederickson Fabrication plant.

Building socially responsible business leaders

This is the second in a series on innovative programs through the University of Washington Tacoma.

When Gary and James Milgard made a generous gift to the University of Washington Tacoma in 2003, part of the endowment was earmarked for a Center for Leadership and Social Responsibility (CLSR). Since 2007, the center has carried out the Milgards’ vision by developing socially responsible business leaders who will build sustainable organizations and communities.
“When people think of sustainability, they often think about the environmental aspect,” said Joe Lawless, executive director for the Center for Leadership and Social Responsibility. “That’s a piece of it, but it’s really about sustaining business.” And that’s a three-part process, he said: Being environmentally responsible (reducing risk), being good to employees (long-term cost reduction) and being good to shareholders (generating profit).

Doing the right thing provides a safety net when things go wrong, said Lawless. “If you’re invested in engaging your stakeholders and employees, and investing in your values as a company, that is really an insurance policy against reputation risk.”

With an eye on developing the next generation of thoughtful business leaders, CLSR offers programs that hone leadership skills and enhance understanding of social responsibility, including career workshops and student case competitions. A board governance course matches students with local nonprofits so they can gain practical knowledge of governance in action. In addition to its online Certificate in Sustainable Business, the center now offers undergraduates a minor in corporate responsibility, a recent development that’s drawn enthusiasm from students and business people alike.

For businesses and organizations, the center offers the annual Corporate Social Responsibility Conference. An advisory board representing a variety of corporate and academic interests offers guidance, advocates for the center’s programs and provides insights into real-world applications of social responsibility. Plans are in the works for a Corporate Responsibility Forum for business leaders in February. The inaugural forum will focus on the positive environmental, social and economic impacts businesses have on the community, and offer strategies for corporate responsibility. Lawless hopes the event will spark a regional conversation that boosts the positive impacts companies have on the South Sound while recognizing efforts to reduce the negative ones.

“It’s important to bring people together and have conversations,” Lawless said. “Corporate responsibility is a broad brush. We plan to find out what people want to hear about and what’s most important to them.”

Collaboration, excellence marked Gaines’ tenure at TPU 

After 10 years at the helm of Tacoma’s largest utility company Tacoma Public Utilities Director Bill Gaines stepped down this month. Gaines announced his retirement in August 2017.
During Gaines’ tenure as chief executive officer, TPU worked with the EDB on dozens of projects that resulted the creation and retention of thousands of jobs for South Sound residents. Thanks to the team he put in place, the power, water and rail divisions of TPU are well managed, customer-oriented and innovative. TPU is regularly recognized as one of the best public utilities in the nation.
“Bill Gaines is a true professional and he will be greatly missed as a leader in this community,” said EDB President Bruce Kendall. “We have been extremely fortunate to have him leading our largest utility for the past ten years.”
The TPU board is in the recruiting process to hire a new director.

Amazon bid buzz continues

Tacoma/South Sound’s bid for Amazon‘s second headquarters is generating some major buzz, including more than 130 stories and media mentions.
It’s no surprise. The HQ2 RFP process brought to light our business-friendly environment, great site options, ability to attract and retain talent, and stellar quality of life.

EDB Annual Meeting is just around the corner 

EDB Annual Meeting
March 8, 2018
Greater Tacoma Convention Center
More details are on the way, including new technology to enhance your registration and meeting experience.

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