Archive for the ‘News’ Category

  • Published in the April 2011 edition of the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

    by Mary Hopkin
    April, 2011
    Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

    Linda Vasquez of Manufacturing Services in Kennewick holds two circuit boards next to each other and carefully studies them, comparing each tiny filament, wire and weld.

    For 32 years, Manufacturing Services has been crafting circuit boards and doing mechanical and electronic assemblies for Mid-Columbia companies like ESTeem Wireless Modems, Bruker Handheld, PNNL and Cadwell Industries.

    Manufacturing Services is a small, family-owned company that makes a big contribution to the Mid-Columbia economy.

    According to statistics provided by the Washington Department of Revenue, the Gross Business Income of manufacturers in Benton and Franklin counties reached more than $612 million in 2010. In addition, the manufacturing GBI in the counties has doubled since 2006, when it topped $304 million.

    And those numbers don’t tell the entire story, said Mike Gowrylow of the Department of Revenue.

    “The information is based on manufacturers with a mailing address in (Benton and Franklin counties) – and generally where they are based,” he said. “It will not include businesses that are headquartered somewhere else but may have a facility in these counties.”

    Food manufacturing is the largest segment of the manufacturing industry in Benton and Franklin counties, accounting for nearly $265 million in 2010, compared to $97 million in 2006.

    But computer and electronic product manufacturing came in second, with those companies collecting more than $116 million in gross business income last year, compared to about $88 million in 2006.

    Chemical manufacturing came in third, with $68 million in gross business income last year, compared to about $3.5 million in 2006.

    John Vicklund, president of Impact Washington, a nonprofit manufacturing (organization), said manufacturing is a vast industry with many different sectors, so encapsulating information of it as a single broad industry is difficult.

    “It covers everything from aerospace to food processing – and each sector is doing differently,” he said.

    Vicklund said that during the recession, 2008-2009, many manufacturers “hunkered down,” – holding onto status quo. But according to a survey completed by Impact Washington last fall, the state’s manufacturers seem a little more optimistic.

    “Companies have started to look around and say, ‘we see some stability, don’t know that the economy will recover to where it was before but we aren’t going to wait for someone to provide a solution; we are going to see what we can do to grow our biz,’” he said.

    Michael Brown, owner of Manufacturing Services, said in 2007, his company had its best year up to that date – but things slumped in 2008 and 2009.

    “Customers had inventory and weren’t moving it as fast,” Brown said.

    So they weren’t calling as often to order new components.

    But the phone started ringing again – in earnest – in 2010.

    “From 2009 to 2010, we saw 60 percent growth and beat our previous record by 20 percent,” said Brown, who has added 11 people to his staff since 2007, bringing his total number of employees to 33.

    Brown doesn’t expect that kind of growth this year, but he isn’t pessimistic either.

    “We could easily grow by 10 percent this year,” he said. “We’ve got a few new smaller accounts.”

    Vicklund said the health of the state’s economy ties directly to the health of the state’s manufacturing industry. And his organization is working hard to help small manufacturers grow.

    Vicklund said much of that new growth could come from outside the country.

    “One of the things we are working hard on right now is helping companies that are domestic suppliers become exporters,” he said.

    Vicklund said that nationally only 2 percent of companies export and in Washington, 4 percent of businesses send products overseas.

    But Gov. Chris Gregoire wants to increase the number of companies that export by one-third over the next five years. She has tapped Impact Washington to help meet that goal.

    “We have received grants to help companies that only sell domestically to help them look at potential markets for their products and see if they can’t align themselves with other markets,” he said. “Our intent is to identify 100 companies this year that don’t currently export and work with them. By the end of the year, we want to have 35 of them exporting.”

    For more information, go to

  • Published in the December 6, 2011 Special Edition of Seattle Business Insight

    by Linda Adams, Marketing Manager
    Impact Washington

     While manufacturing is key to a strong U.S. economy, 90 percent of manufacturers are small and midsize companies that seldom have the resources to compete in an increasingly global economy. As a country, helping manufacturign thrive is one of the best investments we can make in our economy. Many people think that with so much of manufacturing moving offshore, the United States has little choice but to transition into a service economy, but Linda Adams of Impact Washington disagrees. “It’s important to fight to keep those manufacturing jobs becasue they are good jobs,” she writes. “The average salary for a worker in manufacturing is about $55,000, compared to $33,000 for the average service worker.”  Read more.


  • The ExporTech program is a national success story, helping companies nationwide.  Below is a success story about a company from Lebanon, Missouri, who was featured in the USA Today in April of 2011.

    Small Businesses Look Across Borders to Add Markets
    by Paul Davidson, USA Today

    Reprinted from April 8, 2011 Edition

    Executives at Osagian Canoes of Lebanon, Mo. never thought much about selling their product outside the U.S.  Shipping costs for the 17-foot long alumnium canoes seemed exorbitant. And John Carr, vice president of Osagian’s parent company, Carmeco figured he’d have to learn new languages and worried international sales contracts couldn’t be enforced.  But since attending a workshop last year developed by the Commerce Department, Osagian has opened a small factory in Denmark and exports are on pace to comprise 15% of sales this year.  Read more.


  • Published in the July 22, 2011 edition of the Vancouver Business Journal

    by Nicholas Shannon Kulmac
    July 22, 2011
    Vancouver Business Journal

    That’s the overall consensus from Donn Bash, inventory manager at Smith-Root Inc., and other participants of a recent Manufacturers Lean Consortium, funded by the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC) through a state grant.

    The program, a unique 10-day mix of classroom and on-site customized training, featured four participating local manufacturers (Smith-Root, Cadet Manufacturing, CID Bio-science Inc. and Last US Bag Co.) and encompassed a number of topics including: lean manufacturing, computer skills, supervisory training, project management and ISO certification.

    Partnering with SWWDC on the consortium was Clark College, Lower Columbia College and Impact Washington, the state Manufacturing Extension Partnership agency. Instruction was provided by Keith McPhun, director of operations for nLight Photonics.

    “We had been working with some small businesses that couldn’t afford to do customized training on their own,” explained Bonnie Moore, director of business services for the SWWDC. “Customized training for lean can cost anywhere from $35,000 to $80,000 for a manufacturer. So what we ended up doing was designing a consortium for multiple businesses and then coupled it with a grant, thereby reducing the cost.”

    Michelle Giovannozzi, Clark College’s corporate relations manager, said feedback from participating businesses following the consortium has been overwhelmingly positive.

    “The learners found the lean training to be a springboard for improvement,” Giovannozzi wrote in an e-mail to the Vancouver Business Journal. “They learned effective, practical principles that are easy to follow and implement in their respective organizations. They also learned that lean principles not only apply to manufacturing processes; they can be employed in administrative environments as well.”

    Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the lean training experience, according to the participants, was the fact that they spent two days at each company implementing hands-on projects.

    “The proof is in those eight days we spent at other companies,” said Bash. “The results were just amazing. And our management team has been pretty impressed with what they’ve seen. Now they’re planning on having some executive training in lean manufacturing come October. I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed that class.”

    Bash said Smith-Root has been able to reduce its product repair turnaround time from 14-and-a-half calendar days to just eight days — a result he directly attributes to the lean training.

    “The results from the two days we spent here at Smith-Root have been tremendously beneficial to our customers,” added Bash.

    Will Macia, president of Last US Bag, said his company also witnessed measurable success as a result of the training.

    “In one cell, we were able to take about a 23-24 percent reduction in workforce labor per part,” said Macia. “That’s a very measurable statistic of value. And the great thing is we’ve basically rubber stamped that same process and now we’re applying it to each individual cell within the company.”

    Macia said lean manufacturing is the only direction his company will continue to move toward at this point, calling it “common sense manufacturing.”

    “Lean manufacturing has always been our target and we’ve always practiced it, but never in a formalized way,” Macia explained. “So this training was a wonderful opportunity for us to have experienced leaders to come into our facility and give us hands-on, day-to-day, real world application oat a significantly reduced cost over what we would typically pay a consultancy to do.”

    Given the positive feedback from participants, Moore said the SWWDC plans to continue and sustain this lean training model moving forward so that other local businesses can benefit. Unfortunately, Moore said, grant dollars have dried up, so the agency is trying to get creative about how to do it. However, Giovannozzi said Clark College also has access to state and federal funds, so businesses should not hesitate to inquire.

    “I would love to see more companies get involved in this sort of thing,” said Bash. “I think it’s very valuable.”


  • Published in the June 12, 2011 edition of the Tri City Herald
    by John Trumbo, Herald Staff Writer
    June 12, 2011
    Tri-City Herald
    Richard Bogert dreams big, hence the 6-inch-tall “DREAM” sign above his desk.
    “I like to say it took me 25 years to be an overnight success,” said Bogert, whose Pasco company, Bogert Group, is growing beyond even his expectations.
    Bogert and his sister, Cathy Bogert, run what, from the outside, looks like a humble machine shop in the Tri-Cities Airport business park next to the rail yards on the north end of Pasco.
    No fancy facade, no manicured landscaping out front, no security badge required for entry.
    There wasn’t even heating and air conditioning in the shop until three years ago.
    Yet inside, the Bogerts have built a national reputation for their hydraulic jacks, specifically for the U.S. military and General Services Administration.
    The company also designs and builds items for airplanes and marine use, and even a heavy-duty bed frame.
    The Army contract was for 108,000 jacks, and the Bogert Group recently won another contract for an even bigger jack with a remote pump that will pump another $1.5 million into the Tri-Cities economy.
    Richard Bogert modestly notes his homegrown business has earned a reputation with the military by providing rapid prototypes, on-time deliveries and solid customer service.
    And he credits all of it to the way his employees pull it all together.
    The shop is nothing less than an innovation kitchen where new ideas are cooked up daily.
    “Everything starts with a dream. You can’t build it if you can’t imagine it,” he said.
    Richard Bogert may be the boss, but he readily admits the employees are key to the still emerging success story.
    The average age at the shop is well under 30, and many employees are in their first or second jobs, having been hired right out of the classrooms of Columbia Basin College in Pasco.
    “Being aware and awake to possibilities, people here can look around and see opportunities,” Richard Bogert said.
    “A bunch of them came to us as students by day while working part time after classes. It worked out really good for them, and they got the training,” he said.
    “There are some really bright kids here, some real thinkers, and everybody understands innovation,” said Cathy Bogert, who does the financial side of the business.
    Warren Hughs, 25, oversees product development at the facility on Swallow Avenue. He scrunches his long, lanky frame up against a desk in a corner and hovers over a small keyboard, focused on solving problems.
    The handwritten sign on the door to his office, which he shares with marketing clerk Julie Murphy, advises all who enter to consider the culture of the workplace.
    “Warning. ‘Can’t’ is not accepted beyond this point.”
    Hughs said the goal is to find solutions, not admit defeat.
    “I was the second guy hired on in this building,” said Hughs, who is responsible for product testing, some product development and is supervisor of fabrication, welding and machining.
    After five years on the job, Hughs said he has no plans to do anything else.
    “We’re doing something different all the time. I don’t have engineers breathing down my neck saying it has to be perfect. And we’re allowed to go off the reservation a bit to see how to make things better,” he said.
    Hughs, the son of a patent attorney, had been taking classes in welding and machining at CBC when he saw a help wanted ad in the newspaper.
    He called Bogert Group, and one interview later, the job was his.
    Murphy, also recruited from CBC, where she had a job, said the company’s culture really makes the job.
    “You’re given a lot of freedom to participate in the creative process,” she said.
    After three years doing computer-assisted drafting work at Bogert, Andrew Willis didn’t hesitate. “I love this job,” said the 26-year-old Kennewick man and CBC graduate in machine technology. “It’s family.”
    For Nick Schmeck, it really is family. As Bogert’s stepson, Schmeck, 24, literally grew up in the family business.
    I was home-schooled, and part of it was working with him,” Schmeck said. “Back then it was him and Cathy. The company was in our garage. He’d work all day, have dinner, and then go back to the garage to paint the parts he built during the day,” Schmeck said.
    Richard Bogert, who describes himself as a farm boy from Sunnyside “who didn’t take to farming,” either has a knack for hiring creative, imaginative people, or he cultivates it in them early on.
    “We innovate here every day. Not every idea is a ‘Holy Cow’ idea, but we’re constantly trying to make things better, either by saving work time or having a more efficient idea for layout of the work area,” he said.
    Saving time and steps is second nature to Richard Bogert, who spent more than two decades running his two-person family business out of a two-car garage.
    Growing up on a farm taught Richard Bogert what every farmer eventually learns: how to make it work, or make it better. It’s the bailing wire school of engineering, and it led him to the west side to Clover Park Vocational Technical Institute.
    Being a young pilot and graduate of an airframe and powerplant school was followed by several aircraft mechanic jobs in Yakima and Richland.
    Building and fixing airplanes gave Richard Bogert the idea that maybe he could build and sell aircraft parts that were better than original equipment.
    What followed was an extended period of self-imposed self-employment, or as Richard Bogert prefers to put it, “I haven’t had a real job since 1983.”
    A film crew spent several days documenting Bogert Group’s journey for a presentation for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s annual convention in Orlando, Florida last month.
    The business got a heavy leg-up to success in 2005 when he connected with the Washington Manufacturing Service, now called Impact Washington, which is paid for by the Washington D.C.-based Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
    Patric Sazama of Impact Washington coached Richard Bogert and gave him assignments to help take what had been a business stuffed into a two-car garage to a manufacturing enterprise with excellent growth potential.
    “Richard values his employees highly. He knows that with us his dreams can come true,” Murphy said.
    The sign above her desk said: “Dream, care, imagine.”
    “We’ve got a lot of great folks here. Instead of being a one-man band, I get to be the conductor and let people make their own music,” Richard Bogert said.
  • Impact Washington Client Featured in Video Released by Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership

    June 29, 2011

    MUKILTEO–Impact Washington client, The Bogert Group, was honored at the 2011 National Innovation Conference in Orlando, Florida as a shining example of an American manufacturing success story. A video highlighting the Bogert story, produced by the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), was introduced at the conference by Roger Kilmer, Director of the MEP, and premiered to over 700 attendees at the conference.

    The video tells the story of an American small manufacturer who continues to grow and thrive thanks to continuous innovation practiced throughout the organization. See the video here:

    “Since we started working with Impact Washington and the MEP, our business has grown 10,000%,” said Cathy Bogert, CFO/CIO of The Bogert Group. “With the growth came situations we weren’t familiar with, and Impact Washington’s coaching, mentoring and nationwide network of advisers have proven to be invaluable.”

    “The Bogert Group is a great example of what a manufacturer with a culture of innovation can achieve,” said John Vicklund, Impact Washington President. “They have been an ideal client for us because the leadership has adopted the kind of organizational culture that provides a sustained competitive advantage.”

    Impact Washington began working with Bogert back in 2005 when they had two employees and worked out of a two-car garage. Today, Bogert has over 25 employees, and their local supply chain helps account for many more jobs in the Tri-Cities. Impact Washington has been an integral partner with Bogert, helping them achieve their growth by providing coaching, resources and services to get them to the next level.


  • In Clallam County, the recession forces a rethinking of the economic development model.

    by Manny Frishberg
    April 2009
    Seattle Business Magazine

    In the Incredible Shrinking Economy, the competition among cities for new business development has reached a fever pitch. Communities of every size are outbidding each other with tax incentives and infrastructure projects to attract new enterprises to their locales.

  • Guest Editorial

    January 30, 2009
    Puget Sound Business Journal – by John Vicklund and Rep. Maralyn Chase

    Washington state is home to some of the greatest innovative minds in the country. We have been recognized as such by the Kauffman Foundation, a private nonpartisan research group, which named us as one of the top five states for innovation. That same foundation that also noted that Washington holds the second most patents per capita.

  • As healthcare organizations look for new and improved ways to reduce costs and still offer quality healthcare, many are turning to the Toyota Production System of doing business. Rather than focusing on cutting personnel and assets, “lean Healthcare” looks to improve patient satisfaction through improved actions and processes.