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Reflections on a Manufacturing Advocate - A Tribute to Bill Virgin

Friday, January 8, 2021 | Manufacturing, News Release


Headshot of Bill Virgin

As we begin 2021, a year of hope, potential, and new beginnings, we pay tribute to an advocate who exemplified an unwavering commitment to the manufacturing community across the state.

On December 15th, 2020, the Manufacturing Community, especially the Small and Medium Manufacturers, lost a great friend and supporter. 

Bill Virgin played a lot of roles – Husband, father, friend, Co-Owner of Page 2 Books, an editor,  reporter, business columnist, award judge, and freelance writer whose columns and content on business and economics appeared in The Tacoma News Tribune and Seattle Business Magazine. His columns received awards from SPJ, SABEW, and the Washington Press Association. For the past 12 years, he was editor and publisher of Washington Manufacturing Alert and Pacific Northwest Rail News.

His list of personal accomplishments is long. Throughout his career, his key interest remained the same: to render outstanding journalism with a desire to ensure his work was as nuanced, insightful, and well-informed as it could be. 

To many of us in the manufacturing community, he was a dear friend, counselor, and one of our most outspoken advocates helping us solve our challenges and celebrate our accomplishments.

“The untimely death of Bill is a big loss. His Sunday columns in The Tacoma News Tribune were required reading for anyone seeking insight into the human impacts of macroeconomic forces. He wrote with an approachable style and occasional wry humor that made readers think. He understood that at their best, businesses create jobs and opportunities that allow people to pursue their dreams.” - Bruce Kendall, CEO of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County.

“Bill was a great friend of CAMPS and our members. We estimate that Bill produced about 100 articles highlighting the accomplishments of our members over the past decade. He was a judge for the Seattle Business Magazine Annual Washington Manufacturing Awards. He nominated and supported Members in this recognition, which provided exposure to these companies that otherwise would not have occurred. Bill shared that our organization had distinguished itself as the membership organization that directly approached member-driven needs. We worked with him and other organizations to discuss and solve the industry's long-term strategic needs, such as workforce programs and innovation resources. Bill always looked at the positive aspects or "glass is half full' attitude.  He will be missed!” - Tom McLaughlin, Executive Director Emeritus of CAMPS.

“He was tireless. Amazing would be a more appropriate description. He recognized the importance and need to centralize and share the challenges and work of the manufacturing community. Bill’s newsletter and advocacy work on behalf of manufacturers and manufacturing were instrumental. It allowed our industry and all those who support it to share and showcase “the latest and very best of our business” on an ongoing and consistent basis.  He allowed us to feel connected -- because of his continued dedication to us each month.  It’s hard to imagine our community not having Bill in it. His influence provided visibility to the “impact” of manufacturing has across the state. Providing awareness of challenges and celebrations of success serves as a model for ongoing promotion and collaboration between manufacturers, companies, local, regional, and statewide partners. His journalism and passion for manufacturing interwove together perfectly.  Bill was a man of unwavering honesty and integrity.  The amount of time and detail he put into everything he did is inspiring.” - Deloit R. Wolfe, Jr, Center Director of Impact Washington

Bill was the ultimate professional. The ultimate journalist. And he cared so deeply. 

His computer might be turned off, but we will never forget the life of his spirit and his tireless work to our industry.  

We are deeply honored to celebrate him as a friend, partner, editor, publisher, and one of the most significant manufacturing advocates our state has known.   

Author; Carol Blayen Director of Marketing – Impact Washington



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