Executive Director, Thurston EDC
What I found appealing about the profession of economic development was the concept that the power of employment is truly life transformational. Early in my career I was shown the impact of what positive and proactive economic development can have upon building a quality community. These two elements really address my life goals of service to community and impacting the quality of life found in the region. (Besides, I realized sometime after high school that my .285 batting average as an error prone second baseman wasn’t going to pay the bills.)
What is the most important characteristic for an economic developer to have in order to become successful?
I believe that it is not just one characteristic, but rather a combination of abilities: creativity – to see opportunities; vision – the ability to develop strategies; persistence – the faith that success does not come overnight; and the good sense to know that strong successful partnerships are not easy but are necessary to achieve a victory. (A sense of humor really doesn’t hurt either.)
What is the most difficult challenge your community faces in the next year?
One of our most significant challenges will be to ensure that our local and regional economy is appropriately positioned to assure that the upcoming generation of entrepreneurs and economic risk-takers have a strong base in which to employ, create and innovate new economic activities. The goal of our organization is to aggressively pursue our region’s capacity to facilitate the creation of new business models, grow the fledgling companies and strive for a diverse prosperous region. (Need more lemonade stands!)
What is the biggest selling point in your community and what have you done to promote it?
Do you mean, besides having the best group of economic development practitioners at the Thurston EDC? Education – Thurston County is blessed to have three fantastic higher education institutions that support and promote entrepreneurial development and sustainability at all levels. This has created a very proactive economic system which supports our employers and investment opportunities. We work hard to ensure that our public sector leadership is very aware and cognizant of trends and opportunities to ensure that a partnership of support exists.
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