The Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance Announces Aerospace Industry Excellence Awards

EDMOND, WA – March 15, 2021 –

Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA), the region’s largest and longest running aerospace trade organization, presented four aerospace industry awards, including Aerospace Company of the Year, Aerospace Executive of the Year, the Inspire Award, and the Chairwoman’s Award during its 20th Annual Aerospace Conference: Advance 2021, which was held virtually February 8-11, 2021. For more information, contact Melissa Atienza (Marketing and Promotions Coordinator Intern) at

PNAA’s Aerospace Company of the Year Award is presented to the aerospace company located in the Pacific Northwest that has exhibited exceptional organizational and managerial characteristics while continually maintaining a strong competitive posture, thus raising the industry standard for the Pacific Northwest. PNAA’s Board of Directors awarded Blue Origin its 2020 Company of the Year Award for its outstanding commitment to aerospace excellence.

Blue Origin was founded in 2000 by Jeff Bezos and is currently guided by CEO Bob Smith. Blue Origin’s vision is to enable a future where millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth. Headquartered in Kent, Washington, Blue Origin is working to fulfill its vision by developing partially and fully reusable launch vehicles that are safe, low cost, reliable, and serve the needs of all civil, commercial and defense customers.

Of its many notable accomplishments, Blue Origin built the largest liquid rocket engine since Apollo that is not only using a new fuel, but is also reusable and will power two of the newest rockets fielded in this decade. It won the largest Base Period award to go back to the Moon and is one of only two companies in history to land boosters. In a three-year period, Blue Origin has scaled up the size, maturity, and complexity of its business. Blue Origin has added more than 900 new employees since the beginning of
2020 and has continued to support hundreds of suppliers (many in the Pacific Northwest), a testament to its growth despite the pandemic and rocky aerospace economy.

Blue Origin’s efforts to fly astronauts to space on New Shepard (its fully reusable suborbital launch vehicle), produce reusable liquid rocket engines, create a highly reusable orbital launch vehicle with New Glenn, and return Americans to the surface of the Moon will add new chapters to the history of spaceflight and move it closer to fulfilling its founding vision.

PNAA Board Vice Chair, Jim Lee, praises Blue Origin as a front-runner in space exploration. “This company embodies progress and mobility creating safe launch vehicles through true reusable operations, paving a reliable access to space. Blue Origin recently celebrated their fourteenth consecutive flight to space and back using a fully reusable rocket, the New Shepard, demonstrating their payload program and moon landing technology. We look forward to learning more about their development programs as they scale their capabilities to serve the orbital market and the aerospace industry.”

PNAA’s Board of Directors awarded Frank Nichols the 2020 Executive of the Year Award for his outstanding leadership of Silicon Forest Electronics and the significant contributions he has made to the advancement of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Industry.

Frank Nichols has been at the center of Silicon Forest Electronics for over 20 years. Founded by Mr. Nichols in 1999 as a “green field” start-up bringing quick turn and rapid response operations to the Pacific Northwest, Silicon Forest Electronics’ marketplace has expanded to both a national and international reach. With 86 full-time employees, including a highly experienced management team, skilled engineers, and business development executives, Silicon Forest Electronics has a current revenue of approximately $22 million.

Headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, Silicon Forest Electronics is a full-service electronics manufacturing company providing prototype and full turnkey production services for leading-edge electronic manufacturing from aerospace, defense, unmanned systems, medical, industrial, and
instrumentation sectors. Its customers range from the US Department of Defense to Aerospace Tier one contractors and small start-up entrepreneurs. Frank brings 48 years of complex manufacturing history to
these markets.

Despite the onset of the global pandemic in March and the slowdown of the aerospace industry, COVID19 has not slowed the revenue growth. Silicon Forest Electronics’ highly diverse customer base and product mix helped reduce market risks and balance demand cyclicality across uncertain markets. Nikki Malcom, PNAA Chairwoman, describes Frank as “a true visionary. Through his leadership, vision, and discipline to stay with that vision he has helped support Silicon Forest Electronics to thrive during the pandemic. His generosity in sharing his knowledge and purpose into the industry helps drive collaboration and connection at a time when it is needed the most.”

Orion Industries was awarded PNAA’s 2020 Inspire Award for its dedication to its employees by creating an on-premises Learning Pod for children of Orion employees when schools were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. PNAA’s Inspire Award honors businesses and individuals in the aerospace
community that have shown exceptional creativity in working with young people and diverse populations in effort to promote diversity and inclusion in the aerospace industry and cultivate interest and skills leading to aerospace careers.

Founded in 1957 as a vocational school for students with disabilities, today Orion Industries is proudly providing career pathways to individuals with barriers to employment, such as learning disabilities, substance abuse, poverty, homelessness, and mental health concerns. With headquarters in Auburn, Washington and an additional facility in Mukilteo, Orion Industries believes that everyone should have the opportunity to work and that the company has a responsibility to serve its community. Orion Industries’ nationally recognized Transitional Employment Model uses operations in its aerospace manufacturing division, Orion Aerospace, as a platform to teach people job skills through a combination of classroom
instruction and paid training, including mentoring and internship programs.

Orion Industries’ record of successful placement of individuals in the workforce is impressive. In 2019, Orion provided paid, on-the-job training to 372 people and placed 125 into living wage jobs. Of the people Orion served in 2019, 94% were living at or below the federal poverty level and 82% of those served had one or more disabilities. Over the past 10 years Orion has supported over 2,300 people in its training programs and has placed almost 1,000 people into careers.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools in the state of Washington to shift to remote learning, Kristina Pressley, Orion’s Human Resources Manager, spearheaded the effort to organize Orion’s on premises Learning Pod. Kristina and Orion’s staff formed a cooperative to provide a safe supervised space and learning resources for children of employees. Orion’s Learning Pod consists of 20 children from 13 families and 6 school districts. Nikki Malcolm, PNAA Chairwoman, notes “Orion’s out of the box
thinking created a way for their employees to be at work and relieve some of the stress that parents are facing with homeschooling and working a full-time job.”

Impact Washington was awarded PNAA’s 2020 Chairwoman’s Award to honor its outstanding accomplishments which have significantly contributed to the support, growth, and future of the aerospace industry, throughout the greater Pacific Northwest.

With regional offices throughout the state, and headquartered in Bothell, Impact Washington’s dynamic team represents over 225 years of experience. Impact Washington is led by President/Center Director Deloit R. Wolfe Jr., a seasoned professional with more than 30 years of managerial experience, who holds an MBA in Business Management, and a BA in Communication, Business Management from University of Montana.

Since 1997, Impact Washington has created or retained more than 15,000 jobs, delivering impactful results to more than 1,500 Washington State manufacturers. As Washington’s official representative with
the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Program (NIST MEP), Impact Washington leverages a broad network of resources to connect small-to-mid sized manufacturers
with solutions that advance the industry. By creating jobs and improving manufacturing practices, Impact Washington contributes to economic growth at all levels. Since its inception, Impact Washington’s clients
have reported $1.6 billion in increased and retained sales and $312 million in process improvement savings directly attributed to their work with Impact Washington.

With the onset of restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, most of Impact Washington’s focus shifted to assisting Washington manufacturers to restart and rebuild. They were one of the first companies to provide a unique information portal for COVID-19 resources. And as part of its Restart
Program, Impact Washington offered every manufacturer a no-cost Preventative and Preparedness Assessment to comply with Washington’s Safe Start Plan. In July, it launched the Rebuild Program that offered manufacturers access to CARES Act funds through a Recovery Assessment to identify recovery projects. Early on, Impact Washington worked closely with manufacturers when Washington’s governor asked its industry to pivot and provide the much-needed Personal Protective Equipment during the early stages of the pandemic.

PNAA’s Chairwoman, Nikki Malcolm applauds the work of Impact Washington saying “It’s all in the name. The IMPACT that they are having in the industry to support companies to pivot during the pandemic and
use the time to become more competitive, productive, and profitable will have a lasting effect on aerospace for years to come.”

About PNAA: The Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) has been promoting the growth and success of the aerospace industry in the Northwest for over 14 years. Its primary purpose is to help grow and maintain a viable aerospace industry in the region. This is accomplished through frequent educational and networking events and informing members and participants of important industry changes and business opportunities.