Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Ferguson Enterprises Groundbreaking
December 18, 2002

Thank you Bill.

Good afternoon everyone—it’s a pleasure to be here.

It’s always a pleasure to take part in good news.

On behalf of the citizens of this state, I would like to welcome Ferguson Enterprises and Chip Hornsby, the President and CEO.

Welcome to Washington!

We talked several times on the phone to encourage you to locate in Washington. I’m glad to meet you in person!

We are honored that you have selected this state and this community for the new distribution center, serving your Famillian Northwest stores.

Many of you may know that Ferguson is the parent company of Famillian Northwest, the region’s largest wholesaler of plumbing and heating supplies.

There are Famillian Northwest stores all across our state. In fact, I am a customer of their plumbing products!

Washington is a great state for first-rate companies.

And Ferguson Enterprises is a first-rate company.

This company has a long and impressive track record.

Next year Ferguson celebrates fifty years in business.

And Ferguson employs nearly 12,000 people with 700 locations in 49 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Barbados and Trinidad.

That’s impressive.

But perhaps most impressive of all is Ferguson’s philosophy of business.

The Ferguson mission includes the goal:

“To make a contribution to our communities as individuals and as a company.”

This company not only cares about its employees, but also about the communities where its employees live and work.

We’re always enthusiastic to welcome such responsible and compassionate employers to Washington.

This is a great day for Richland and the Tri-Cities area.

Ferguson Enterprises will be a welcome addition to this area.

Ferguson brings good jobs and a substantial capital investment.

The company will employ 80 people at the start of operations, growing to as much as 200 over time. And the construction of your two facilities will generate hundreds of construction jobs!

We value every single one of those family-wage jobs, especially right now when jobs are so crucial to our state.

This is a community with great energy and aspirations.

A community that welcomes active, caring employers—employers like Ferguson Enterprises.

One of the key factors in Ferguson’s decision to locate in the Tri-Cities was the strong community partnership here.

I want to congratulate the Tri-Cities Industrial Development Council—TRIDEC—and the city, port and county authorities for working together to make this a great place for Ferguson Enterprises.

This industrial park symbolizes the power of community partnership – the power to turn dreams into reality.

I know we wouldn’t be here today without the hard work of our state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED).

Robin Pollard, CTED’s assistant director for economic development, is with us today and will be speaking in just a few minutes. Robin and her staff played a big role in attracting Ferguson to our state.

They showed the company several sites in Washington state, and it was the strong community partnership in the Tri-Cities that convinced them to locate here.

Washington is a great place to do business.

Through the work of several state agencies, including CTED, as well as local economic development councils, we are able to offer companies a wide variety of incentives to grow or locate here.

Our state’s tax structure is very beneficial to companies that want to open distribution centers in Washington state.

In fact, Ferguson is the third major distribution center this year to announce plans to locate in Washington.

Safeway will soon begin construction of a 1.4-million-square-foot, five-state regional distribution center in Auburn, employing one thousand workers.

And Wal-Mart last spring announced plans to build a 900,000-square-foot multi-state distribution center in Grandview, employing several hundred people.

All three chose Washington state over Oregon.

Here in the Tri-Cities, Ferguson Enterprises is taking advantage of several incentives from the state, the city of Richland and TRIDEC, including:

· A state warehouse and distribution center sales tax exemption program;

· Training cost assistance from the state and local level;

· A Job Skills Program Grant to develop a customized training program;

· Very low land costs and local grants and loans from the city of Richland and TRIDEC; and

· Road and rail extensions to this business park made possible from $963,000 in assistance from the state Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB).

A lot of hard work went into making this new center a reality.

Thank you all for your commitment to job creation.

And again, on behalf of the citizens of Washington, I welcome Ferguson Enterprises to our state.

We look forward to your prosperous future here in the Tri-Cities, and we are pleased that you will be a part of this community’s and our state’s success.

Thank you.

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