The Washington Roundtable recently welcomed new members to our board. Get to know Brian McGuigan, CEO of Laird Norton Company; Chad Robins, CEO, Co-founder, and Chairman of the Board for Adaptive Biotechnologies; Jeremy Lott, President and CEO of SanMar; and Jim Morehead, President of Bank of America Seattle.
Why did you decide to join the Washington Roundtable?
BM: My predecessor as CEO of Laird Norton Company, Jeff Vincent, speaks very highly of the Washington Roundtable as a valuable and effective link between the business community and state legislators. I strongly agree. This is an essential business-to-government communications process. Further, I look forward to getting to know the other members of the Washington Roundtable who represent some of the state’s most impressive organizations.
CR: Adaptive Biotechnologies is a company headquartered in Washington State and we are committed to advancing the economic and social well-being of our communities. It is within our power to solve our state’s problems and create a path toward prosperity and equity, but we can only do that by working together. Joining the Washington Roundtable is an opportunity to collaborate with other business leaders in the state to do that.
JL: As a lifelong Washington resident and business owner, I am deeply committed to the mission of the Roundtable, effecting positive change that supports the state’s economic vitality and fosters opportunity for all Washingtonians.
JM: Washington has been my home for 20+ years, and I want to be part of efforts to strengthen our communities. Bank of America has been working to advance racial equality and economic opportunity for many years, by focusing on how we and our partners can connect people to good jobs, ensuring access to adequate health care and capital to grow their small business, and providing a solid base of affordable housing. By supporting organizations like the Roundtable, we seek out opportunities to deliver for our clients and communities by trusting our partners to direct resources where they are needed most, which often includes capacity building, staffing investments, and resource acquisition.
Can you comment on the role the business community can and should play in our state through the work done via organizations like the Roundtable?
BM: Business must communicate effectively with state and local government. We live and work in volatile economic times. Change happens quickly. Business leaders must keep our political leaders up to date on what is needed to assure that Washington’s businesses and industries will continue to have a robust opportunity for success.
CR: As a company dedicated to improving human health, we believe that the business community has an important role to play in supporting the health of our communities. It is also in the interests of all businesses to operate in communities where people are happy and fulfilled. This fact is critical to one of the life sciences industry’s biggest challenges: developing, retaining, and attracting talent. As beneficiaries of healthy communities, we have an obligation to participate in making our communities healthy.
JL: I truly believe that businesses can and should be a force for good in the communities where we operate. When business leaders join together on important issues, we can leverage the strength of our combined voices to influence action and enact change.
JM: The business community can bring innovative thinking and energy to important conversations about policies that improve the well-being of all Washingtonians. Workforce development is important to us and to the local economy because advancing economic mobility – enabling individuals to achieve their goals and contribute to economic growth – is how we collectively build a more sustainable future.
One of the Roundtable’s biggest areas of focus is working to ensure more young Washingtonians complete the post-high school credentials that our state’s economy demands. Why is it important to you to participate in efforts to ensure students’ success in their education and careers?
BM: An appropriately educated and trained workforce is the backbone of our economy. So, as a business leader, I am very interested in work that seeks to strengthen and increase the number of highly trained workers. More personally, I was brought up in a home that put a high value on education and was fortunate to have wonderful educational opportunities that quite literally changed my life. I would like to believe that Roundtable and Partnership for Learning can be part of creating life-changing educational opportunities for young people in Washington.
CR: At Adaptive Biotechnologies, we believe that education is the foundation for a successful and fulfilling career. It is also foundational to building a strong, talented, and diverse workforce and a more prosperous and equitable future for all Washingtonians.
Our company hires many people with highly specialized skills and knowledge, often requiring years of postsecondary education and training. We are committed to supporting efforts to ensure that all students in our state have access to the educational opportunities they need to succeed in their chosen careers.
JL: It is critical that we have a workforce with the skills necessary for the challenges our business faces today and in the future. Our continued growth in Washington depends on the next generation of young people prepared for the workforce of tomorrow and I believe that is best served through completing post-high school credential programs.
JM: The strength and vitality of our state and its future depend on a healthy economy and engaged citizens, which require young people to have access to education and promising career pathways. We assist partners like the Technology Access Foundation in their mission to provide collaborative, equitable learning for all students, as well as Career Connect Washington in their mission to provide practical, real-world experiences to young workers. We also support the Seattle Colleges Foundation and the Aerospace Machinists Joint Training Committee in their quest to provide trade and manufacturing pre-apprenticeship training for low-income youth and adult job seekers.