Production Begins at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories' $100M Printed Circuit Board
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories will officially begin fabricating printed circuit boards in its new, state-of-the-art facility in Moscow, Idaho, next week.
The 162,000-square-foot facility, which the company began constructing in spring 2021, will house the operation to fabricate the printed circuit boards used in its products that protect, monitor, control and automate electric power systems around the world. SEL manufactures its electronic devices in Pullman, Washington; Lewiston, Idaho; Lake Zurich, Illinois; and West Lafayette, Indiana.
“SEL folks with many different backgrounds, educations, interests and experience teamed up to conceive, design, build and produce these essential components of our products—all on our own dime without any government handouts or subsidies,” said President and Chief Technology Officer Edmund O. Schweitzer, III. “We committed to each other to do it right, and now we are safely producing the highest-quality boards in the cleanest plant, using the least amount of resources that science and engineering afford us today. This is $100M of employee owners’ money well spent on creating our future right here at home. I’m proud of our entire team and grateful for the economic and political freedom we enjoy in America.”
SEL has designed a highly automated and environmentally friendly process for manufacturing printed circuit boards that is focused on the health and safety of the community. The facility features zero-discharge water recycling and air filtration technology.
“We went into this not only thinking like a manufacturer but also like community members,” said Senior Director of Vertical Integration Jessi Hall. “So much research, learning and testing has gone into designing our fabrication processes and selecting the best equipment and tools for the job. We are excited to see everything come together and to really start realizing the benefits of these investments.”
The company will employ about 60 people in the facility. The positions range from a variety of engineering roles, including chemical, mechanical, software and computer-aided manufacturing to equipment operators and maintenance workers.
The printed circuit board process begins by layering fiberglass and copper to create a rigid and conductive base. The base board is then sent through a series of automated processes that include drilling, layering, copper plating and etching. The finished boards serve as the foundation of our manufacturing process, where integrated circuits and other electrical components are mounted to the board. Ultimately, the boards and added components serve as the information centers for our SEL products.
The SEL property team served as the contractor for the construction project and partnered with multiple companies local to the Pacific Northwest. The team was able to complete the project within the expected timeline despite global supply chain challenges.
“I am so proud of SEL’s partnership with dedicated subcontractors to find solutions when materials became scarce and timelines unwieldy,” said Vice President of Property Jana Schultheis. “Our construction teams are second to none. It is a proud day to see this factory come online as a result of their ingenuity.”
SEL plans to host a grand opening for the facility later in the year. To keep up to date with SEL Moscow news, visit selinc.com/moscow.
Individuals are encouraged to submit nominations for the Washington State University Tri-Cities Women of Distinction Awards by March 20. This award recognizes campus and community members who have made notable contributions to WSU Tri-Cities through service, teaching or involvement.
The award is presented to five distinguished individuals each year, who meet some or all of the following criteria:
“The Women of Distinction Awards at WSU Tri-Cities are important because they recognize the achievements of individuals and provide an opportunity for women or allies to connect with one another and share their experiences, knowledge, and resources,” said Sandra Haynes, chancellor at WSU Tri-Cities.
To submit a nomination and for more information, visit tricities.wsu.edu/women-of-distinction.
WSU Tri-Cities will host an award ceremony on Thursday, April 20 from 5 - 7 p.m. at the WSU Tri-Cities Art Center to honor the selected individuals, as well as those nominated for the award. The Women of Distinction Stories Exhibit highlighting previous members will be on display April 20 – 27.
This spring, Chukar Cherries—Washington State’s tree-to-table specialty food company—celebrates 35 years in business. Started on the family orchard in 1988 by Founder and CEO Pam Montgomery, the company remains family-owned and firmly rooted in Washington’s fruit lands.
March 8th is International Women’s Day, an invitation to reflect on the achievements of women. For Chukar, these achievements are obvious. From the beginning, a pioneering spirit and constant innovation has distinguished the woman-led company. The local food scene was in its infancy when Montgomery started Chukar in the 1980s. Experts at UC Davis told her that she could not dry cherries without preservatives and added sugar. Undeterred, Montgomery began drying tree-ripened cherries from the family orchard in homemade window boxes. The concept worked which led her to begin drying cherries on a larger scale and covering them in European-style chocolate.
Thirty-five years later, Chukar has grown from a fledgling enterprise into an iconic Northwest cherry and chocolate gifting brand. Everything is still made at the original location in south central Washington. Chukar dehydrates nearly 500,000 pounds of fresh Northwest cherries annually and employs 50+ team members at the factory headquarters in Prosser, WA and at the company’s store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. While Chukar is famous for their no sugar added dried cherries (the original product), they now offer over 18 varieties of chocolate covered cherries, berries, and nuts as well as a host of sauces, baked goods, and Pacific Northwest gifts. Along the way, they’ve notched top awards such as Small Business of the Year from the Washington State Small Business Association, Outstanding Product Line from the Specialty Food Association, and Food Processor of the Year Silver from the Washington Manufacturing Awards.
Chukar’s leadership over the past decades has included several other notable women. Chukar’s Director of Operations, Kathleen Young, has been with the company for 24 years. Sales Manager Teresa Garcia has been a team leader for 20 years. Recently, Montgomery’s daughter, Wynne Auld, joined the team as Marketing Manager. Founder Pam Montgomery emphasizes, “All of our team members at Chukar have an opportunity to succeed commensurate with their commitment and efforts. We are fortunate to have great leadership, and many of our executive leaders over the past decades have been women.”
In the coming years, Chukar’s goals include increasing customization so that customers can send gifts with a personal touch, expanding Chukar’s retail experiences so that customers get a sense of the majesty of the Yakima Valley and the dedication and skill of local cherry growers, and taking active steps to reduce carbon emissions and move to plant based packaging. “We continue to expand our offerings of locally sourced, tree-ripened fruit and premium, craft chocolate. Our customers enjoy the unique flavors of the Northwest, best-in-class customer service, and goodies that are always made fresh, shipped fresh,” assures Montgomery.
Chukar’s cherry specialties can be purchased at their flagship store and factory headquarters in Prosser, at their store in the center of Seattle’s Pike Place Market, or at chukar.com.
Lourdes Health is pleased to announce that Pamela Morris, ARNP-C, has accepted a position as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner at Lourdes Occupational Health and will begin seeing patients in February 2023.
Pamela will see patients for pre-placement and post-offer physicals, diagnosis and treatment of work-related injuries, Department of Transportation physicals, respiratory protection programs, hearing conservation programs, medical surveillance, fitness for duty, and more.
“We are growing our Occupational Health services and are grateful to bring Pamela on board to our team,” said Alana Pumphrey, Lourdes Occupational Health Clinic Manager. “She brings many years of service to the table with a diverse range of experience and will be a valuable asset and resource to our patients.”
Pamela comes to Lourdes Occupational Health from Prosser Memorial Health Family Medicine where she was the medical director and treated occupational health patients. She previously practiced with Total Care Clinics and 8 AM to 8 PM Family Medicine in Kennewick and cared for patients in the surgical unit and served on the trauma and code teams at Kadlec Regional Medical Center. She also worked as an associate professor for 15 years in the Department of Nursing at Columbia Basin College.
“Pamela is highly proficient and skilled and treats her patients with respect and compassion,” said Kevin Taylor, MD, Lourdes Medical Director. “Her expertise, approach and experience will serve our patients and area employers well.”
Pamela earned her Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and Master of Nursing with Summa Cum Laude recognition from Washington State University. She also received her Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles. Pamela is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support in addition to her certifications as an FNP, RN and ARNP. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the Department of Transportation National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Pamela practices at Lourdes Occupational Health, located at 9915 Sandifur Parkway in Pasco. Patients can schedule an appointment by calling 509.546.2222.
Anneke Rachinski, joined Washington State University Tri-Cities as senior development director Feb. 13. In that role she will develop, implement and administer the Tri-Cities campus development efforts to support annual fundraising goals.
Rachinski comes to WSU Tri-Cities with a background in higher education fundraising. Most recently she led development and growth of a major gifts and planned giving program. She has also led alumni relation and cultivation efforts. Prior to her fundraising roles, Rachinski worked for WSU Tri-Cities as a project coordinator for the Hanford History Project and a program assistant in the development department.
Rachinski has a Master of Science in Management and Leadership from Western Governor’s University and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Western Washington University. She is also a graduate of Leadership Tri-Cities, Class XVV, and received the Young Professionals Award from the Tri-City Area Journal of Business in 2022.
“I am excited to be joining the WSU Tri-Cities campus and working with our local and regional partners to promote research, provide access and opportunities, and build community connections,” said Rachinski.
On Tuesday, February 14, 2023, at its regular Commission meeting Port of Kennewick honored James Cox as a champion in the revitalization of Kennewick’s Historic Waterfront; and recognized him with their 2022 Friend of the Port award.
According to port staff, Cox has personally supported efforts to transform the east Columbia Drive neighborhood into the Columbia Gardens Wine & Artisan Village. Stated Port Director of Real Estate, Amber Hanchette, “From notifying port staff when he sees abandoned cars, vagrants, graffiti, or offending activity—to patronizing the businesses and visiting with guests—to keeping a vigilant eye on the port’s investments—Jim has taken it upon himself to serve as volunteer “watchman” for the entire neighborhood. And his notifications are saving tax dollars and ensuring a safe and attractive waterfront.”
Port staff reported that when a food truck’s equipment was inadvertently left unattended, Cox secured that equipment overnight for the vendor. And several times he secured fencing for the contractor during construction of the tasting room building. He often calls port staff about broken sprinklers and lights; and his frequent notifications are appreciated as they allow for swift repairs to minimize damage.
Port staff shared that Cox is an Army veteran and former long-haul truck driver who loves the Kennewick community. And despite many hardships in his life, he continues to give of his time and talents by working to ensure the Columbia Gardens Wine & Artisan Village, Food Truck Plaza, many public artworks, and Duffy’s Pond nature trail are all inviting and welcoming to the neighborhood’s residents, businesses, employees, and guests.
Commission President Skip Novakovich shared that the port team is proud of the work James Cox is doing and wanted to honor him for his generous heart and caring spirit. Stating, “It is with sincere appreciation that we thank him for his past service to our country and recognize his current service to the community as a partner in neighborhood revitalization.”
Yakima Federal Savings and Loan is pleased to announce a contribution of over 3,600lbs of food to local distribution centers serving Central Washington. The donation was given to Second Harvest and Northwest Harvest, regional organizations which supply food to local food banks, shelters and food programs.
The donation was the result of a January-long food collection drive at ten local Yakima Federal Savings and Loan locations. During January, Yakima Federal customers were encouraged to make donations of non-perishable canned and dry foods at their local branches. Yakima Federal employees also held “jeans days” to collect food in exchange for wearing jeans on selected days.
“Despite the abundance so many of us enjoy here in Central Washington, there are still too many people who lack access to nutritious food. I am very pleased that our loyal customers and employees were able to step up and help out during this food drive.” said Leanne Antonio, President and CEO of Yakima Federal. “I encourage those who are able to continue giving as the need is ongoing”.
If you would like to donate or find a local distribution center in your area, see www.northwestharvest.org and www.2-harvest.org .
Ben Franklin Transit Extends Route 64 to Increase Service to East Pasco and Amazon Beginning March 12, 2023
Effective March 12, 2023, Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) will extend Pasco’s Route 64 service to include the new Amazon warehouses as well as the communities of Tierra Vida and Lakeview near Highway 12 in east Pasco.
This service will provide greater access to public transportation for both east Pasco residents and those commuting to the new Amazon facilities. Historically, Amazon has sought public transportation options for its employees rather than commuting via personal vehicles. This route extension will also help eliminate barriers to education and provide needed support for students participating in afterschool activities.
“I am excited to announce that Ben Franklin Transit will begin service to two additional communities in east Pasco, and we have partnered with Amazon to make transit services available to their employees as soon as the facilities are up and running,” said BFT General Manager Rachelle Glazier. “Because of the forward-thinking work of our Planning Department and our recent hiring event, we are able to provide these much-needed services.”
The City of Richland is developing a Comprehensive Safety Action Plan (CSAP) to guide future transportation safety improvements. The City is seeking the input of citizens to help identify the community's transportation safety concerns in the City of Richland.
Richland currently has a 2022 Local Road Safety Plan (LRSP) adopted by City Council on March 1, 2022 (Resolution 2022-33). It was developed in conjunction with the City’s consultant DKS Associates and used to apply for the 2022 City Safety Program under the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) administered by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The purpose of the LRSP is to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes using engineered infrastructure solutions. The plan studied crashes on Richland’s entire road network, developed priorities for safety improvements, and proposes solutions to mitigate crashes on Richland’s street system. The City was awarded two City Safety grants offered by the WSDOT in 2022. The current LRSP requires the completion of a CSAP in order to be eligible for additional grants.
This upgrade of the City of Richland’s 2022 LRSP to a CSAP will allow the City to apply for a “Safe Streets and Road for All” Implementation Grant in the future.
The survey is open through March 10, 2023.
To complete the survey, visit: bit.ly/richlandsafety
To review the project website, visit: bit.ly/richlandcsap
Please leave your feedback by dragging the icons at the top of the page to any point on the map. We appreciate your comments, suggestions, and concerns.
Energy Northwest: Tri-Cities Nuclear Power Plant Produces Record Amount of Energy for Northwest
In 2022, Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station produced enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes across the region – powering our way of life and keeping the lights on.
The Pacific Northwest’s only nuclear generating station produced a record amount of electricity last year — more than 9.8 million megawatt-hours, all of it carbon-free – supporting the region’s clean energy transition. It is the highest output for any calendar or fiscal year in the station’s 38-year history.
“This record demonstrates our team’s commitment to excellent performance, and the immense value that 24/7 baseload power brings to our region,” CEO Bob Schuetz said.
Columbia produces energy around the clock but can also flex power output as needed to support regional power needs. Energy Northwest works closely with the Bonneville Power Administration and can reduce generation during periods of excess supply or run at 100% power during times of high demand, such as extreme cold and heat events.
BPA markets the output of Columbia as part of its clean energy portfolio that includes power generated by 31 federal dams in the Columbia Basin. Bonneville is a nonprofit, self-funded federal power marketing administration under the Department of Energy that provides about a third of the region’s electricity, delivering wholesale power to consumer-owned electric utilities throughout the Northwest.
During the majority of December, Bonneville requested Energy Northwest limit any maintenance activity at Columbia that would either require a reduction in power or pose a risk to sustaining 100% generation due to increased demand for electricity and cold temperatures in the region.
“When we have extreme temperatures, the region – and our public power members – rely on the full-time capacity that nuclear energy has to offer,” said Schuetz.
Energy Northwest and BPA have worked together for years to manage Columbia’s power supply for grid reliability. When the station reduces power at BPA’s request, the agency grants EN economic dispatch credits, which acknowledge the amount of power the station would have produced if it had continued running at full-strength.
In addition to a new generation record, Columbia’s capacity factor in 2022 was 99.4%, meaning it was producing power almost the entire year. Nuclear energy has the highest capacity factor of any energy source. Columbia produces 1,207 gross megawatts when operating at 100% power.
“We applaud Energy Northwest’s continued focus on producing reliable, carbon-free electricity,” said BPA Administrator and CEO John Hairston. “They continue to be a valuable partner that BPA, our utility customers and the region can count on.”
Energy Northwest will take Columbia offline for about 40 days beginning in May for its biennial refueling and to complete maintenance that has to be performed when the station is offline.
Email your press release and a photo to Austin Regimbal, Marketing & Communications Director. Press releases are posted in their entirety. This is a free benefit for members of the Tri-City Regional Chamber.