CWU News

CWU and Washington Business Week Celebrating 40 Years Together

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Central Washington University’s involvement as a host institution for Washington Business Week (WBW).

“I’m proud to be a part of an organization that has helped more than 69,000 Washington state students discover their place in the business world,” said Herman Calzadillas, WBW executive director. “I applaud the leadership of CWU and AWB (Association of Washington Business) for their vision, which has produced such positive outcomes—helping students better understand who they are today and, more importantly, the professionals they want to be in the future.”

The annual, week-long summer programs aid high school students prepare for the workforce through helping them learn and hone business skills, while instilling in participants the confidence and values needed to succeed. It is built around business simulations where, with guidance from business-community mentors, participants compete as industry professionals.

Former CWU President James Brooks (1961-1978) was instrumental in the development of Washington Business Week. He brought together state business and education leaders for discussions on why high school students were graduating without critical skills that employers were seeking. Those discussions led to the inaugural WBW, held in 1976 at CWU.

The 40-year milestone will be marked by a noon ceremony on Friday, July 29, in the CWU Student Union and Recreation Center Ballroom. Along with Calzadillas and Brooks, those scheduled to attend include:

• 13th district state Senator Judy Warnick and Representative Matt Manweller;
• Kathryn Martell, CWU College of Business dean;
• Linda Mackintosh, former WBW executive director;
• James Garnett, WBW board chair and program manager at The Boeing Company;
• Marv Bouillon, WBW board member and former CWU accounting department chair; and,
• Don Ide, marketing teacher and DECA student organization advisor at Lynnwood High School. Ide was a student-attendee of the first WBW, after graduating from Eisenhower High School in Yakima.

“We take it for granted today, but, back then, doing computer-generated business simulation was a really big deal,” recalled Ide of the original event. “I remember well playing the simulation and having to answer questions about pricing and promotions.”

Ide graduated with a business degree from CWU and then went into a 15-year career in the airline industry. Transitioning back into education, Ide says he quickly became an “eager supporter” of WBW. Six of his students will attend this year.

“I’ve been sending students for a long time,” Ide acknowledges. “It was fun for me when I attended, but my students have also had some wonderful experiences. To see high school students get so excited about a summer program is really very cool.”

WBW now serves more than 3,000 teens annually from across the state at four universities, presenting programs featuring businesses leaders and working professionals from construction, healthcare, manufacturing and other fields, including agriculture and energy, which are specific to CWU.

This year in Ellensburg, about 190 students are registered. Ide says the participants will be exposed to valuable, contemporary information about the current business environment.

“One of the keys is helping students successfully develop the ability to work in teams—that’s paramount,” he added. “The change you can see [in students] in a week can be remarkable.”

Media contact: Alicia Crank, WBW director of development and strategic partnerships, 253- 815-6900,

July 21, 2016