Ashley Gross

Business and Labor Reporter

Ashley Gross is KPLU's business and labor reporter, covering everything from Amazon.com and Boeing to garbage strikes. She joined the station in May 2012 after working for five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.

She studied history at Brown University and earned a master's in international affairs at Columbia University. She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two sons.

One of Ashley's most memorable moments in radio happened several years ago in Northwest Alaska: "I was visiting an alcohol and drug rehab program in the tiny village of Selawik. It helps Alaska Natives recover by helping them get back in touch with their subsistence lifestyle. It was spring, which meant the river was still frozen - barely. We went out on snowmachines to go ice-fishing, but late in the day, as we headed back, the river had melted to the consistency of a Slurpee. It was a harrowing ride and a good lesson in trust - I rode with my eyes closed, clinging for dear life to the woman driving. A week later, three people drowned trying to ride a snowmachine over that river, and that's when I realized just how dangerous life in rural Alaska can be."

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workplace safety
5:26 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Number of on-the-job deaths falls, Wash. ranks third lowest

Andre Mondou Flickr

Washington state seems to be a safer place for workers than most other places in the country. A new report says the state has the third lowest workplace fatality rate in the nation. 

New Hampshire had the lowest workplace death rate, followed by Rhode Island, then Washington. The three states with the highest on-the-job death rates were North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

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May Day 2013
5:05 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

In wake of May Day mayhem, businesses assess damage

Don Stevens, owner of Bill's Off Broadway, stands next to his broken window.
Ashley Gross KPLU

Business owners are assessing the damage after some anti-capitalist protesters broke windows in Seattle last night. Only a handful sustained property damage, but many more businesses were affected financially.

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e-books
10:07 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Amazon makes Kindle app to make e-books accessible to the blind

Blind protesters marching outside Amazon's headquarters in December
Ashley Gross KPLU

Amazon has released an app that makes it easier for the blind to read Kindle electronic books on iPhones. Advocates for blind people say it’s a significant step for a company that’s lagged other technology companies in making accessible products.

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May Day events
7:00 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

No show of violence as thousands gather for May Day rally, march

A speaker is seen addressing the crowd at Judkins Park.
Justin Steyer

A planned rally and march for workers and immigration reform progressed without interruptions by anarchists Wednesday, easing fears of another violent May Day.

Thousands of people gathered at Judkins Park, behind St. Mary's Church, for the Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights at 1 p.m. Several unions were present, as were some representatives of the Occupy movement. Many people were displaying the flags of U.S. and Mexico, as well as signs urging comprehensive immigration reform. 

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King County Metro cuts
3:37 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

King Co. Metro urges lawmakers to pass transpo funding package

Atomic Taco

Even if you don’t ride the bus, you may feel the brunt of possible service cuts by King County Metro as roads get more crowded with cars. That’s one of the messages leaders of King County Metro told the Seattle City Council.

They’re urging the state Legislature to pass a transportation revenue package in the special session that starts in several weeks. 

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marijuana opportunities
7:56 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Marijuana Gold Rush begins as investors hunt for opportunities

ArcView CEO Troy Dayton showing a recent Fortune magazine cover story on his group and the world of marijuana investing
Ashley Gross KPLU

The first state-licensed marijuana stores are still almost a year away, but business-minded people are already chasing profits. Today, entrepreneurs are pitching their pot-related ideas to dozens of wealthy investors in Seattle. 

San Francisco-based ArcView Investor Network arranged the private forum akin to the TV show “Shark Tank.” Entrepreneurs will have a few minutes to pitch their idea—which includes everything from better grow lights to handheld vaporizers, to mobile apps for marijuana retailers—and explain why their idea is a worthy investment.

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Business
4:52 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Starbucks sales and profit climb, company adds 590 new stores

pure9 Flickr

If you have a daily Starbucks fix, you’re not alone. The company took in $3.6 billion in revenue in the most recent quarter. 

Starbucks added 590 stores around the world— including Ho Chi Minh City—in the first three months of this year. And they weren’t just coffee shops; more than 300 were tea shops that Starbucks acquired through its purchase of Teavana.

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Amazon earnings
3:47 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Amazon profit falls, but analyst says not to worry

An Amazon Kindle Fire HD is seen on introduction in Santa Monica, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012.
Reed Saxon Associated Press

Amazon’s first-quarter profit dropped 37 percent, but at least one analyst says that’s nothing to worry about; it's all part of Amazon's master plan to keep edging out competitors by investing deeply.

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Boeing Dreamliner
9:15 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Boeing aims for mid-May restart of 787 deliveries

Boeing says it will begin delivering 787s again in early May.

The 787 has been grounded since mid-January because of smoldering batteries. Federal authorities have approved Boeing's redesigned battery system.

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Business
5:04 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

After son's death, father criticizes lack of fishing industry oversight

This bell was rung 66 times during the memorial ceremony on Tuesday.
Washington Department of Labor and Industries

The 66 Washingtonians who died on the job in 2012 were honored at a memorial on Tuesday. A memorial bell was rung 66 times, once for each victim who died of a job-related illness or injury.

But the father of a 22-year-old commercial fisherman who died says not enough has been done; he voiced frustration over what he called a lack of government oversight of the fishing industry.

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career tips
5:00 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Want to be a gorilla caretaker? Go for it! Job lessons from Workstew

SantiMB

Kate Gace Walton was tired of public relations. Helping create goofy marketing campaigns like unspooling the world's longest hot dog at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics just wasn't fulfilling anymore.

But what would be fulfilling? She stewed about it. Then she wrote an essay, Random Acts of Business, about her search for a job with meaning.

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NBA in Seattle
1:20 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Stern to McGinn: Don't expect Kings decision this week

NBA Commissioner David Stern speaks after meetings Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in New York regarding the the possible relocation of the Sacramento Kings basketball team to Seattle.
Richard Drew Associated Press

Don’t expect a decision this week on the fate of the Sacramento Kings.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said NBA Commissioner David Stern cautioned as much during a phone call on Monday. The mayor said he had called to tell the commissioner that “we were pushing ahead here in Seattle."

"He informed me then that he does not expect a decision out of the NBA on Friday, that it will be sometime after the meeting that we’ll get a decision made," McGinn said.

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Business
4:51 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Foreclosures surge in the Seattle area and Washington state

A Seattle-area foreclosed home sitting vacant
Timothy Ellis

Audio Pending...

Even as home prices have been rising in the Seattle metro area, more people are losing their homes to foreclosure.

The number of people in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area who lost their homes to foreclosure in March jumped 67 percent from a year ago. Statewide, the number was even higher – 88 percent. That's according to new numbers from RealtyTrac, the foreclosure-data company.

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Business
8:12 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Venture capital activity drops in Washington state in 1st quarter

Washington state’s venture capital activity dropped a lot in the first quarter. But it may be too early to worry about the health of the startup community.

Washington usually ranks among the top five markets for venture capital funding – this time the state fell to number 10.

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Business
11:33 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Boeing to add 2,000 jobs in South Carolina, invest $1 billion

The first North Charleston-made 787 Dreamliner
North Charleston

Boeing says it will invest more than $1 billion in South Carolina over the next eight years and create 2,000 new jobs there as part of an agreement to qualify for economic development incentives the state is offering.

South Carolina lawmakers are proposing $120 million in incentives to help fund Boeing's expansion.

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