Around the Table: Alaska Airlines, PNNL, Washington Federal

In ‘Around The Table,’ we highlight member news and share information on industry trends. In this edition, we shine the spotlight on Alaska Airlines, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Washington Federal.

Alaska Airlines Hires 10,000th Washington Employee, Plans to Add 3,000 More in 2019

Alaska Airlines is announced this week that Alaska welcomed its 10,000th Washington state employee this November. The company also announced plans to add more than 3,000 positions here in 2019. These numbers are indicative of Alaska’s focus on creating a strong future for Washington – by growing jobs, supporting local businesses, and highlighting the benefits of economic diversity.  As shown by the results of this Economic Benefits study, Alaska’s impact on Washington’s economy totaled over $7 billion in 2017. Click here to learn more about Alaska’s impact and company plans in 2019.

PNNL’s Top 10 Research Accomplishments in 2018

From turning carbon-rich waste gases into commercial jet fuel to a sophisticated data tool that can detect patterns of cyberattacks, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory saw many impactful research breakthroughs in 2018. In an article published in the Tri-City Herald, Lab Director Steven Ashby, also a Roundtable board member, narrowed down the list of accomplishments to 10. These highlights, Ashby wrote, demonstrate how PNNL is advancing scientific frontiers and addressing challenges in energy, the environment, and national security. Read the full list by clicking here.

Washington Federal Offers Interest-Free Loans to Federal Government Employees Affected by Shutdown

Seattle-based Washington Federal will begin offering interest-free, 90-day loans to federal workers affected by the government shutdown. The program, which appears to be the first of its kind, is open to any affected resident in Washington and seven other states where Washington Federal operates. “We’re calling it a quick loan,” said Washington Federal  president and CEO Brent Beardall. “If they show us their pay stub that they’re … federal government employees and that they’ve been furloughed we will underwrite them for up to six of their paychecks.” Learn more about the program here.


Community Celebration in Honor of Blake Nordstrom to be Held Saturday

A community celebration of the life of Blake Nordstrom will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 12, at Alaska Airlines Arena on the University of Washington campus. The celebration is open to the public. Doors open at 1 p.m., and space is limited. Blake, part of the fourth generation to lead his family’s namesake retail company, died in Seattle on January 2. We have been honored to have him as a member of the Washington Roundtable for many years and are grateful for his contributions as a member of our Executive Committee and our larger community. Click here to watch an archived Seattle Times video where Blake describes the evolution of the “Nordstrom Way,” from the company’s Northwest heritage to its future in the digital age. The Nordstrom family has requested that remembrance be made to United Way of King County or University of Washington Rowing.

Our 2019 Policy Agenda

With the new year upon us, it’s time to look ahead to the start of the 2019 legislative session and where the Roundtable will focus.

Here are a few highlights from our 2019 Policy Agenda:


Most of the more than 740,000 jobs that will be available in Washington state in the coming years will be filled by workers with a post-high school credential, such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. Yet, it is estimated that only 40 percent of our students attain a credential by age 26. Our goal: Raise the credential attainment rate for Washington students to 70 percent by the high school class of 2030.

Our priorities for the 2019 session:

  • Ensure Washington’s youngest learners enter school ready to learn and excel, with a focus on expanding high-quality early learning options for low-income children.
  • Ensure students are positioned to succeed on the post-high school pathway of their choice by maintaining the state’s commitment to rigorous learning standards, assessments, and high school graduation requirements.
  • Support students who may be at risk of dropping out by establishing an early warning system that monitors if 9th graders are on track to graduate on time.
  • Reduce financial barriers to postsecondary education for Washington’s lowest-income students by fully funding the State Need Grant.
  • Support credential completion at the state’s community and technical colleges through expansion of Guided Pathways programs.

Economic Vitality

Washington continues to benefit from one of the nation’s most robust state economies, with strong projections for employment and personal income growth. However, a look beneath the statewide data indicates that prosperity is spread unevenly, and many families and communities in our state are struggling. Additionally, there is growing concern that substantial increases in state spending in recent years have not been matched with a commitment to build strong reserves. This will put recent investments in education and other state priorities at risk during the next economic downturn. We call on state leaders to focus on policies that drive inclusive and diversified growth, to ensure the state is building for – not borrowing from – its future.

The Roundtable urges the 2019 Legislature to:

  • Deliver a 2019-21 biennial budget that is sustainable, predictable, and supports diversified and inclusive economic growth. This includes maintaining the state’s commitment to the four-year balanced budget requirement, building sufficient reserves to weather an economic downturn, and avoiding budget gimmicks or other actions that drain the state’s rainy-day fund.
  • Eliminate duplicative regulation and ease regulatory burdens, particularly in rural areas.
  • Support policies that promote economic development and job growth, particularly in non-urban regions. This includes support for business attraction and retention efforts, incentives for greater intercounty and public-private cooperation, and expansion of broadband infrastructure to underserved communities.

Click below to view a report we released in 2018 about how to unlock Washington’s full economic potential:

There are great opportunities ahead for Washington. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working together on these important issues. Click here to read our full 2019 Policy Agenda, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for updates throughout the legislative session.

Washington Roundtable Announces 2019 Leadership, Welcomes New Members

The Washington Roundtable is pleased to announce a new board leadership team for 2019. Ron Armstrong, CEO of PACCAR, will serve as our chair this year. Brian Stading, West Region President for CenturyLink will serve as vice chair, and Reggie Fils-Aime, President & COO of Nintendo of America, Inc. will serve as secretary/treasurer. Thank you to our 2018 chair, Betsy Cowles, who led several member visits to Olympia during the legislative session and helped build awareness and support for the Roundtable’s 70% postsecondary attainment goal as well as our efforts to promote diversified and inclusive growth statewide.

We are also pleased to announce the addition of three board members: Aric Coffman, MD, CEO & Market President of The Everett Clinic, Jim Mortensen, President & CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd, and Devin W. Stockfish, President & CEO of Weyerhaeuser. Thank you for your interest in making a difference for people in our state. Welcome aboard!

Aric Coffman, MD, is Chief Executive Officer of The Everett Clinic and Northwest Regional President for DaVita Medical Group. In addition to the Everett Clinic, his direct responsibility includes Northwest Physicians Network, an Independent Physician Association (IPA) based out of Tacoma. Dr. Coffman previously served as the president for DaVita Medical Group New Mexico and has held several leadership roles within that team for the last 12 years. Prior to becoming the president in 2015, he served as the residency program director, associate medical director of specialty care, senior medical director, and chief medical officer.

In his current role, Dr. Coffman plays a key role in the planning and operations throughout all Washington clinics. His experience and expertise in the healthcare industry will help expand the Washington region through planned growth, business development, and the transformation of care delivery.  He was honored with the DaVita Core Value Award for Fulfillment, has been named a Top Doc, and received a lifetime achievement award from the University of New Mexico for resident education. 

Jim Mortensen serves as President and Chief Executive Officer for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd. He was appointed to this position in September 2018.  He is an accomplished general manager with more than 25 years of global experience in consumer-packaged goods businesses. His career spans several continents and senior level leadership positions including Region President, Latin America & Canada for Philip Morris International (PMI); Managing Director, Mexico, Ecuador & Peru; President, Philip Morris Japan K.K.; Senior Vice President, Sales & Distribution for Miller Brewing Company; and Vice President Trade Marketing for Philip Morris USA. In addition to his general management, sales and marketing expertise, Mortensen has substantive experience in building human capital capability, having served as Senior Vice President Human Resources at PMI in Lausanne, Switzerland.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and an MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Devin W. Stockfish assumed the position of President and Chief Executive Officer for Weyerhaeuser Company in January 2019. Previously, he served as the company’s Senior Vice President, Timberlands; Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary; and as Vice President, Western Timberlands. Before joining Weyerhaeuser, Stockfish was Vice President & Associate General Counsel at Univar Inc., where he focused on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and securities law. Previously, he was an attorney in the law department at Starbucks Corporation and practiced corporate law at K&L Gates LLP. Before he began practicing law, he was an engineer with the Boeing Company. He received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado.