By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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“The sooner the better,” Tim Smith, vice president of the Port Angeles Business Association and Clallam County's interim Economic Development Council director, said Tuesday.
“Certainly by next week and possibly this week, if we can get everyone together,” added Smith, who brought forward the idea for potential consolidation.
PABA on Tuesday joined the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Port Angeles Downtown Association and The CEO Group, a group of city business owners, in sending three members each to the upcoming meeting, which will be facilitated by Jim Haguewood, senior partner at One Group LLC and a member of The CEO Group.
The following participants were named by each business organization to attend the initial meeting, which will be open to the public:
■ The Chamber of Commerce named KONP radio station President and chamber President Todd Ortloff, Union Bank branch manager and chamber Treasurer Shenna Straling, and William Shore Memorial Pool Executive Director and chamber board member Steve Burke.
■ The downtown association, participants from which were named Tuesday, tabbed Northwest Fudge and Confection owner and downtown association President Bob Lumens, Smugglers Landing owner and downtown association Vice President Rick Mathis, and Black Ball Ferry Line Marketing Director Ryan Malane, a downtown association board member.
■ PABA, which also named its participants Tuesday, selected retired Wall Street investment analyst and board member George Bergner, State Farm Insurance owner and board member Ray Gruver, and Mayflower Horticulture Service owner and program Chairman Andrew May.
■ The CEO Group selected Ruddell Auto Mall owner and General Manager Howie Ruddell, First Federal President and CEO Larry Hueth, and Haguewood, a founder of the group who said Tuesday it does not have officers and informally meets once a month.
Smith, chamber Executive Director Russ Veenema, downtown association Executive Director Barb Frederick and lawyer Patrick Irwin of Platt Irwin Law Firm will provide technical assistance for the meeting, Haguewood said.
The chamber has 450 members, the downtown association 185, PABA 70 and The CEO Group about 30.
Smith said he expects the meeting will last up to two hours and will be held during the daytime.
“Our intent is to assemble the group first and let them figure some things out for themselves and, preliminarily, to allow for two-way communication at the roundtable from the organizations they represent,” Smith said at Tuesday's regular PABA breakfast meeting.
Goals of group
Goals include organizing a united voice for Port Angeles businesses and exploring the possibility of consolidating funding from the organizations “if it makes sense and if it's a more effective and efficient way to utilize revenues and expenditures and minimize overhead costs,” Smith said.
“This may serve as a model for, particularly, Forks and possibly Sequim to consider.”
In a later interview, Smith said consolidation of funding also may be discussed.
“The focus is not necessarily to unite under one organization as much as it is to unite under one business voice for Port Angeles and to openly consider the potential for consolidating some expense for greater efficiency, especially where public funding is a concern,” he said.
“The consolidation of funding is more intent on where there is duplication of overhead costs or administrative costs, at a minimum.”
Upcoming regional economic summits are being organized by Peninsula College and Washington State University through WSU's Extension office to consider a regional economic strategy.
“The summit might take a look at economic development at a regional level for the same reason, to consolidate a regional voice for economic development in terms of marketing and to consolidate resources,” Smith said.
The chamber's board of directors sent a Nov. 21 letter to the EDC board suggesting joint discussions for “a new, strategic and coordinated model” for countywide economic development, which is now the focus of more than two dozen groups.
EDC board members Jan. 16 directed the executive committee to develop a communications plan to explain the goal of the summits to economic development stakeholders and how they can get involved.
WSU personnel are preparing a preliminary proposal to facilitate the summits, Peninsula College President Luke Robins said Tuesday in an email.
“We anticipate that proposal shortly, and will then work on the details of an initial summit meeting,” Robins wrote.
“As noted at the EDC Board meeting, it's likely that this won't be a 'one and done' summit; rather, it will probably set the stage for ongoing work and follow on meetings.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.