Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Second Largest Tech Business in Washington - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Second Largest Tech Business in Washington

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RICHLAND, Wash.- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is in an elite group of high-tech employers, they are the second largest in Washington.

With more than 4,000 employees, PNNL ranks second among Washington tech firms.  Only software giant Microsoft ranks ahead of the award winning lab.

A study by Washington CEO magazine show's PNNL in second, and one of only two companies east of the mountains, recognition local business leaders think will fuel further growth.

"Other companies that may be considering an investment may want to be near the laboratory, for example, or recognize that because there's a technology based workforce here, would want to be here," said Carl Adrian, President of TRIDEC.

The lab also ranks second among all employers in eastern Washington, only behind Fairchild Air Force Base, and they plan on making sure growth continues.

"We're very interested in continuing be not only a big tech employer in the area and the state, but also continuing to influence the tech sector economy in the Tri-Cities," said Andrea McMakin, with PNNL. 

And their effect isn't just felt in the business community.

More than half of their employees have at least a masters degree, something leaders say is great for our children's schools.

"It raises the level I think of our entire education system from a K-12 perspective. Our elementary schools have brighter, more intelligent students, brighter and more intelligent faculty teaching there, teaching at a higher level than you see at other places in the country," said Kris Johnson, President of the Tri-Cities Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

Johnson called PNNL the Boeing of eastern Washington, an economic leader that can and will continue to bring new business opportunities to the region for years to come.