By JOEL Martin,
For the Basin Business Journal
RITZVILLE — The McGregor Company, a Colfax-based company with locations in the Basin, was honored on Oct. 10 by the Association of Washington Business as the 2018 Manufacturer of the Year. The award was presented at McGregor’s Ritzville location during a seven-day statewide bus tour highlighting the importance of manufacturing to the state economy. The tour was joined by guests including U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Spokane Mayor David Condon and state Reps. Jeff Holy and Mike Volz, according to a press release from AWB. State Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, was also on hand for the presentation.
The award stemmed in part from board chairman Alex McGregor’s involvement in the Rural Jobs Task Force, according to AWB spokesperson Bobbi Cussins. The Rural Jobs Task Force is aimed at “ensuring that prosperity and opportunity are available in even the most rural parts of our state,” according to a press release from AWB.
“He is the chair of that task force, helping us share the message with lawmakers, policymakers, local officials on the needs of rural communities to really thrive, whether it’s workforce or access to broadband or access to capital or revitalization efforts,” said Cussins. “He’s been a strong voice in helping spread that message.”
In a video made for AWB’s “Grow Here” campaign, McGregor talked about the importance of farming and the rural communities it supports.
“Agriculture is the largest employer in the state of Washington and yet it’s fundamentally a family enterprise,” he said. “97 percent in our agricultural areas is farmed by family enterprises.
“We have a stubborn belief in small towns: to know people around the area, to build strong friendships... There’s something pretty special about these small towns.”
“He’s really bolstered the voice of rural regions, to say ‘Hey, we want that economic opportunity as well,’” said Cussins. “He is just a wonderful voice for the agricultural community. They do hard work. Agriculturists in Washington state do hard work. They grow food that literally feeds the world. Food is shipped around the world and his support of that, his voice on that, is absolutely critical.”
“There’s a sense of heritage you have here, a sense that the land matters,” McGregor said in the video. “A sense you’re doing something Important. I think that’s a vital part of what this state’s about.”