Around the Table: Wells Fargo, Mckinstry, Microsoft, Boeing

Happy to share some recent announcements from some of our members:

Commitment to sustainability: Wells Fargo continues to direct funds toward sustainable products and services as part of its commitment to deploy $500 billion in sustainable financing by 2030. As part of its commitment to a healthy environment, McKinstry is partnering with the City of Tacoma to process biogas found in wastewater into a renewable fuel source.

Innovate for Inclusion: In their ongoing effort to increase transparency and accountability, Microsoft shared data from their Global Diversity and Inclusion Report highlighting the continuous year-after-year effort to increase representation across the workplace. “While always committed, we’re now unapologetic in the standards we’ve set and the behaviors we expect,” said Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, Chief Diversity Officer at Microsoft.

Supporting student success: Boeing is investing in a new student success center in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture on WSU’s Pullman campus to provide 4,200 students access to mentoring, tutoring, advising, and career services.

A conversation with the new Washington Roundtable members

Washington Roundtable recently welcomed new board members. To get to know them better, we asked them questions about their new role. Learn more below from Earl Overstreet II, President Emeritus of GMI, and Frank Armijo, Principal of The Armijo Group.

Why did you decide to join the Washington Roundtable?

EO: My first impression of the Washington Roundtable was decades ago. The context was related to business taxes or regulation. The organization seemed to be an influential, prestigious group that advocated for the interests of big businesses. In the last few years, I have seen the Roundtable in a much broader role. I have observed and engaged with the Roundtable in two areas that are personal passions: education and equity. Joining the Washington Roundtable gives me the opportunity to participate directly in an organization that has the credibility and connections to bring forward ideas and build coalitions to address the large and complex challenges and opportunities facing our community.  

FA: For a very long time the Roundtable has been a leading voice for a strong business environment in Washington state. The Roundtable has many of the companies and leaders that drive innovation and business diversity of our economy. Being able to participate and support the continued strength of our state and way of life is an honor.

What role can and should the business community play in our state through the work done via organizations like the Roundtable?

EO: Sustainable thriving communities have business, government, nonprofit, and community groups that work together to tackle problems and capitalize on opportunities.  The resources, diversity, flexibility, and long-term viewpoint of the business community can often break down silos and act as a bridge or catalyst to help the community find and implement solutions.

FA: The leadership of the Roundtable often observes key trends and issues before they become evident to policymakers. Through business trends or our national or international operations, issues and opportunities can be identified early.  Roundtable members often discuss these issues and compare notes. We can then start a dialog with state business and policy leaders in support of our state’s success.  As a business from Eastern Washington, I also hope to continue voicing key issues and opportunities for all of Washington to work together on.

                                 

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?

EO: I know as a Black person, based on personal experience and stories of countless others, that education is the great equalizer. My parents moved to Cleveland, Ohio from the South after World War II in search of the opportunities that employment and education can bring. They could see doors opening in the corporate world for Blacks.  They wanted us to be prepared to walk through those doors. The Roundtable’s focus on post-high school credentials sets an important goal as we strive to close achievement gaps in our community. Post-high school credential attainment is the next step to eventually embracing life-long learning as a cultural norm in our community.

 FA: An educated and skilled workforce is critical to our state’s economy. As business leaders and Roundtable members, we understand our businesses cannot achieve our goals without students having the educational foundation that will support their careers. I have always been passionate about education, especially STEM education and first-generation college students. I am glad the WRT will continue to focus on this effort.

Meet our New Board Members: GMI, Armijo Group, and Ziply Fiber

We are thrilled to welcome three new members to the Washington Roundtable board: Earl Overstreet II, President Emeritus of GMI, Frank Armijo, Principal of The Armijo Group, and Harold Zeitz, Chief Executive Officer of Ziply Fiber. Learn more about them below.

 Earl Overstreet II

President Emeritus,

GMI

Earl Overstreet II founded GMI in 1983 and holds the role of president emeritus. GMI delivers end-to-end security, collaboration, networking, and data center solutions for clientele. The company has received numerous awards, including the distinguished business of the year award from the University of Washington, and three supplier of the year awards from the Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council.

Overstreet began his career at the General Electric Miniature Lamp Department where he held positions in manufacturing, sales, and marketing. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Case Institute of Technology and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University. In 2014, Governor Inslee appointed Overstreet to serve on the Western Washington University Board of Trustees, of which he was the 2019-2020 chair. Previously, Overstreet served as the chair of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He is a proud member of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Tabor 100, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. In 2014 he was inducted into the Case Western Reserve University Spartan Club Hall of Fame for Football and Track and Field.

Frank Armijo

Principal,

The Armijo Group

 Frank Armijo is a retired Lockheed Martin executive with a wealth of experience leading several lines of business. Armijo served as president of Lockheed Martin Energy Engineering, Procurement & Construction (LM EPC), president and general manager of the Mission Support Alliance, as well as chairman of Missile and Fire Control’s STELaRLab, Lockheed Martin’s only non-USA Research and Development laboratory.

Armijo has served on several education-focused boards, including the Columbia Basin College Board of Trustees and Washington Learns. He co-founded and is chairman of the Hispanic Academic Achievers Program (HAAP) and is also a founding board member of the National Reading Foundation. In addition to being a Paul Harris Fellow, Armijo was named a Top 100 Corporate STEM leader in 2014.

Harold Zeitz

Chief Executive Officer,

Ziply Fiber

Harold Zeitz serves as the CEO of Ziply Fiber, a telecommunications company with a mission to bridge the digital divide that exists within communities by building fiber and delivering the best-connected experience to residences and businesses. His passion for technology stems from a 30-year career spent delivering quality experiences to customers across various industries.

Prior to joining Ziply Fiber, Zeitz served as president and COO of Wave Broadband. He now sits as the managing director at WaveDivision Capital, a broadband infrastructure investment and advisory firm.   Zeitz has also held several leadership roles at leading digital and telecommunication companies in the U.S. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Northwestern University and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. He sits on the board for Vexus Communications and is a board trustee at Horizon House. As a native Northwesterner, Zeitz’s deep understanding of the Northwest market and telecommunication landscapes has played a key role in Ziply Fiber’s rapid fiber expansion efforts.

Roundtable members open career pathways for WA students

Students from underrepresented communities are gaining improved access to career pathways through hands-on learning opportunities at Washington Roundtable member companies like Avista Utilities and Fred Hutch. Internships and research programs in energy and biomedical sciences, respectively, provide the chance to work with professionals, learn by doing, receive mentorship, build their networks, and more.

Avista’s Energy Pathways is a four-week paid summer immersion opportunity developed by the Spokane-area utility company to introduce incoming high school juniors and seniors to the energy industry.

“Some of the benefits that we receive – someone that’s familiar with the industry and already knows that this is a fit that they’ve discovered,” said Jeremy Gall, Avista’s director of safety and craft training. “Another benefit that we get as a company is expanding our pool of candidates and bringing more diversity in that pool of candidacy.”

Research shows employers in Washington will create an estimated 373,000 net new jobs over the next 5 years, a majority of which will be filled by workers with a post-high school credential, such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. In Partnership for Learning’s latest blog and video series about Avista’s Energy Pathways program, learn how students are working toward their credentials and cultivating their paths to promising careers. Find PFL’s blog and video series about Fred Hutch’s student pathways here.