Monday, November 10, 2014

Col. Chuck Hodges Jr. Receives 36th Military Citizen Award

The Chamber, in conjunction with Tacoma 8 Rotary, presented the 36th annual John H. Anderson Military Citizen Award to Colonel H. Charles “Chuck” Hodges Jr.

Colonel Hodges has more than twenty- nine years of service in the U.S. Army.  He has served as Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s commander since August 2012. He and his wife, Cathy, have two children, Shelby and Sam. As JBLM Commander he leads the nearly 3,500 soldiers, airmen and civilians who comprise the Joint Base staff.

Col. Hodges’ commitment to the quality of life of more than 100,000 service members, civilian employees and family members who are assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the critical missions they support, and the communities neighboring Joint Base Lewis-McChord, make him an excellent choice for the award.

As commander of the department of defense’s largest operational Joint Base, Col. Hodges leads a team that gets results by working collaboratively with federal, state, county and local government officials, business and community leaders. These achievements include:
•    Helping reduce I-5 traffic congestion by coordinating and facilitating the construction of a Joint Base connector road and overpass. When it opens this spring, this new road will take more than 500 daily commuter trips off I-5 each day by allowing JBLM commuters to drive non-stop from Lewis-Main to McChord Field without having to use I-5 or exit and re-enter JBLM through its gates.
•    Helping replace five of six aging Joint Base Lewis-McChord schools thanks to a partnership between JBLM, the state’s congressional delegation, state and local officials.
•    Leading Joint Base Lewis-McChord to a Silver Army Communities of Excellence Award in 2013 and a Bronze Army Communities of Excellence Award in 2014 – the industry equivalent of the Baldridge Award for organizational distinction.
•    Col. Hodges has, and will continue to, help more than 8,500 soldiers and airmen each year transition from military service to the civilian workforce through a comprehensive, multi-track transition assistance program that helps service members chart their education goals, start new businesses, retrain into high-demand trades through apprenticeship programs, or to be competitive for jobs in the civilian workforce.  These efforts are the result of the strong relationship he’s helped build between Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the State of Washington, community organizations, businesses, unions, higher education and military leadership inside and outside the state. As evidence of this, Joint Base Lewis-McChord hosted a service member for life summit that ended with a hiring fair attended by approximately three thousand service members, family members and veterans. Two hundred and forty eight employers, educators and service organizations with more than 1,300 job openings attended. Approximately 212 immediate job openings were filled that day.
•    Aggressively sponsoring a growing relationship between Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the business community and unions.  These opportunities include ongoing apprenticeship and job training programs, which are putting local service members into HVAC, welding jobs, trucking, painting, and software apprenticeships and training programs. Future opportunities include job training into the solar and renewable energy areas, medical career fields, hotel management and retail.

Colonel Hodges is an excellent selection for the John M. Anderson Military-Citizen of The Year Award. The countless hours he has donated to the community will be appreciated for years to come.

Photo caption: (l. to r.) Amy Tiemeyer, ACU (Award Sponsor) and Colonel H. Charles “Chuck” Hodges Jr.

Award Sponsor:
America’s Credit Union has been serving the military here at Joint base Lewis McChord (JBLM) since 1954; ACU has been active in creating a community that is aware of soldiers needs and able to serve our military who give so much for all of us. Amy Tiemeyer, America’s Credit Union’s Military Relations Liaison, is a veteran herself and presented the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s 36th John Anderson Military Citizen of the Year award.

About John H. Anderson:
The Chamber created the John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year Award to honor an outstanding military citizen to commemorate the civic contributions by our resident military personnel. John H. Anderson, a veteran, served as Tacoma’s mayor in the early to mid-1950s. An accomplished civic leader, he is also a past Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Board of Directors, as well as a successful local businessman.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

WNG Offers ASIST Training

The Washington National Guard is offering ASIST: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Spotlight On Two Businesses

Seven Spotlight! On Business award recipients, including Veteran-Owned Business and Business Supporter of the Military, were announced at the Chamber’s awards luncheon held at Hotel Murano September 24. The Spotlight! On Business Awards recognizes the accomplishments and civic contributions that Chamber member businesses make to the community.  The selection committee, made up of volunteers, based their choices by following five criteria:  staying power, growth in employees, evidence of contributions to community-oriented projects, innovativeness of product or service and response to adversity.

(pictured to the right: Wade Stewart, Owner, Stewart & Son Computer Services)

Veteran-Owned Business Award Recipient:  Stewart & Son Computer Services
Recognized for their success, including a 31% average growth in sales every quarter since opening in 2012, United States Army veteran owner Wade Stewart, began with one important goal in mind: creating a customer-centric niche for computer, network and server support services for small businesses. Stewart and Son began with one person, then hired their first employee in May of 2013, just 13 months after starting, adding their 2nd full-time employee in September of 2013 and, as business continued to grow, hired their first part-time apprentice in February of 2014.

Finalists for this category were:
Sperry Ocean Dock
Stewart and Son Computer Services, LLC
(pictured to the left: Carlyn Roy, TAPCO, Award Sponsor, Anne Sprute & Tony Belit, RallyPoint/6 and Rick Stevens, GEICO, 2013 Business Supporter of the Military Award Recipient)

Supporter of the Military Award Recipient:  RallyPoint/6
Recognized for their strong support system in providing comprehensive resources to not only Veterans, but also to their family members and individuals who currently serve in the Armed Forces with resources that include housing difficulties, employment preparedness and search, educational opportunities, financial and legal options, and volunteer opportunities. RallyPoint/6 is a convening location in the community where the service member, veteran or family member can get connected with community organizations that will assist on their next steps forward to their new objective.

Finalists for this category were:
Boots to Shoes Foundation
Kel-Tech Plastics, Inc.
Nisqually Red Wind Casino
Pierce Transit
Summit Strength & Conditioning

The Chamber applauds the award recipients and finalists for their contributions to the community and Pierce County’s economy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Crowdfunding Campaign Starts for Veteran & Business Service

The Chamber's Veteran & Business Service promotes to businesses the Veteran Advantage for transitioning and separating service veterans to entrepreneurship, professional careers and apprenticeship opportunities.

The US Department of Labor has reduced funding to our funding sources, the local workforce development councils, so they see a reduction from what they received last year, because the whole state was allocated $3.7 million less in the Workforce Investment Act in 2014-15.

With the reductions in force currently underway at JBLM, nearly 400 service members monthly desiring to have jobs in our community, will have less help doing so. The proposed reduction of up to 16,000 civilian (many vets) and military jobs at JBLM over the next five years will put increasing pressure on the local ability to help these service members.

Our Veteran & Business Service has been honored as a “Chamber of Valor” (three stars, the highest level), by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Our service providers, Greg Mowat and Terrence Hodge, who you will learn more of in the video and at our website (see above URL) are qualified, skilled and passionate about their service.

Our program last year was a huge success. Our funding partners have enthusiastically communicated their satisfaction with our services. But they have already done all they can to support our budget.

We’ve pared back our expenses by 53%. But we cannot sustain our services at that level. For $166/day, we can sustain our service levels having both our staff service providers doing their great job promoting the Veteran Advantage.

Visit our campaign at to donate and help spread the word!


Monday, September 29, 2014

State Receives DOD Grant for Military Downsizing Impact Preparation

Washington state has received a $4.3 million Department of Defense (DOD) grant to support local efforts to address the impact of potential downsizing of the state’s defense industry, Gov. Jay Inslee announced today.

The funding, from the DOD Office of Economic Adjustment’s Defense Industry Adjustment program, is matched by more than $500,000 in state and local dollars through the newly-formed Washington Military Alliance. The alliance was convened by the governor to prepare for military downsizing and includes a diverse group of military and defense stakeholders that represent industry, veteran, workforce and economic development interests across the state.

In 2012, Washington’s military industry accounted for 136,000 jobs and $15.7 billion in economic activity. There are more than 1,500 companies doing defense work in 35 of 39 Washington counties. Washington has the sixth largest military presence in the nation with personnel at bases and assets throughout the state. The industry supports military personnel as well as civilian jobs in cybersecurity, aerospace, advanced manufacturing, clean technology, and information and communications technology. 

“The military and defense sector is an economic backbone for many Washington communities and a driver of economic development statewide,” Inslee said. “As the DOD reduces military assets around the country, we want to make sure we are prepared and ready. By planning ahead, we will ensure Washington remains in a strong position to support our military and defense infrastructure, its diverse industry supply chain and the tens of thousands of jobs associated with this industry.”

The DOD grant will help implement a plan to minimize the impacts of military downsizing on regional businesses and communities. The plan, called the Washington State Military and Defense Sector Industry Adjustment Analysis and Strategy, was developed in collaboration with the Washington Military Alliance and the Department of Commerce. It will:

•    Assess the extent of the military and defense contracting footprint in the state,

•    Create a strategy and support system to reduce the exposure of regional businesses that are overly reliant on military and defense spending,

•    Support capability for technology transfers and advanced commercial spin-off of DOD programs to the private sector,

•    Generate a seamless transition to retrain and place dislocated defense contract employees in new jobs,

•    Study future opportunities for industry growth in both the public and private sector in order to meet defense needs, and

•    Focus on retaining and strengthening Washington state’s defense sector businesses and workforce.

Jorgensen Forge, a Tukwila company doing U.S. Navy contract work, is a prime example of the type of company that can benefit from the grant, said Kristin√© Reeves, the state Department of Commerce’s military and defense sector lead.  The company, like several others in the state, has reduced its workforce as defense contracts have declined.

“This plan was fostered by the state’s Department of Commerce in response to community need and involves a partnership with eight local private organizations and several state agencies,’’ said Rich Hadley, president emeritus of Greater Spokane Inc. “This will touch all corners of Washington and demonstrates great public/private collaboration and a coordinated effort to keep this important industry an economic driver.”

“One core tenet of our statewide economic development and competitiveness strategy focuses on developing opportunities in key industry sectors,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “This is the same approach we take with the aerospace, life sciences and other key industries and provides the focus we need to ensure that Washington remains highly competitive for jobs today and well into the future.”

“As we work to represent four of the five largest defense communities in our state, the Puget Sound Regional Council is proud to partner with the Governor’s office, the state Department of Commerce and others to marshal our resources and strategically focus our efforts on understanding the defense supply chain in our state and then working to ensure that supply chain is prosperous and can grow for years to come,” said Pat McCarthy, president of the Puget Sound Regional Council.

About the Washington Military Alliance
The WMA provides a forum for collaboration in the state between local governments, military installations, state agencies and federal agencies. It serves as a policy advisor to the governor, other state agencies, the Legislature and others. Inslee signed a memorandum of understanding with Washington’s congressional delegation and more than 30 military, business and economic development organizations from across the state.

The group was originally convened to collaborate on production of the Washington Military Alliance Report, which identified impacts to Washington’s military and defense infrastructure and develop initial recommendations in response to a possible Base Realignment and Closure Commission action. Inslee reconvened the group to ensure the state’s ongoing response and preparation during DOD deliberations.

For More Information about the military and defense sector or the Department of Defense grant, please contact Kristiné Reeves at 206-910-1624 or

from Office of the Governor press release 9-25-14