September 6, 2005 -
With the advent of September I begin my third year of service as your Executive Director. The past 24 months have been the most challenging and invigorating of my career as an economic development professional. The work has called forth the best I have to offer and I have enjoyed it immensely…well most of it.
While August passed as a month of leisure and layback for many, it was for me replete with activity and drama. KEDC continued to attract attention, not all of it benign, for its role in advancing the ISC-NASCAR project. While our case management strategies and tactics may be open to debate, our mandate energetically to pursue business and economic development opportunities for the citizens of Kitsap County remains strong.
It is worth noting that the ISC-NASCAR project is but one of 38 business recruitment cases we have engaged over the past two years. I acknowledge it may be the most compelling, but marvel there has been so little public interest in our other efforts to attract jobs and investment here. If it were Microsoft or Boeing or Toyota that was targeting South County for a 750-acre development, would the project be attracting the same level of attention?
Some have clamored for KEDC’s operations to be less covert and more open to public involvement. I welcome discussions with people of good will about where we should be going and how we might get there. I believe economic development is everybody’s business. Except in those situations where a prospect or client has requested we be discrete, I like to tell our story. I particularly enjoy collaborating with optimistic people who think expansively and are willing to advance their ideas with passion and commitment.
I have in recent weeks opened a dialog with two parties representing non-traditional economic development interests. One is an equine aficionado who believes that industry can create jobs. The other is an advocate for agriculture interests who lauds the contributions of local farmers. I am intrigued by both prospects and am intent on developing the relationships.
On a personal note I attended last month the wedding of my son, Matthew, to a young woman at her family home in York County, Pennsylvania. Located about 20 miles from Gettysburg it is a mostly rural community of historical significance. The wedding was the first for Carol and me. We were delighted by all that transpired. I was reminded that you do not just marry a person, you marry a family.
Of course, my new daughter-in-law has many desirable attributes. What I most appreciate is how she calls forth the best in my son. He shines in her presence. Perhaps this is the gift of a great relationship. I look forward to what they will become as a couple and as individuals.
I might say the same about Kitsap County. It has many desirable attributes. I look forward to what it is becoming.