Jefferson chamber chief leaves for Walla Walla post

Board president: ’She’s done a phenomenal job’

Arlene Alen.

Arlene Alen.

PORT TOWNSEND — Arlene Alen is leaving the Chamber of Jefferson County and former board member Dana Petrick has been tapped to fill in as interim director.

Alen will join the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce as the organization’s new CEO. Her first day is May 15, when she will replace Kathy Covey, who has been serving as the interim CEO for the past month.

Alen presented her resignation to the board in March. Her last day at the Chamber of Jefferson County is Friday.

Petrick, a Port Ludlow Realtor, will take over the following Monday.

In the meantime, she “has been spending the time ensuring a smooth transition and ensuring the commitments to our members will continue to be met,” said Richard Tucker, chamber board president, in a press release.

“She will be assisting for several months to ensure continuity and service to our countywide members and fulfill our service contract serving as the DMO (Destination Marketing Organization for the City of Port Townsend) as we launch a national search for our next director,” Tucker said.

During her tenure since 2018, Alen “transformed the chamber, making it more resilient, efficient and relevant to the entire business community,” Tucker said.

She “has helped move the chamber into the 21st Century,” he said.

“She has done a phenomenal job,” Tucker said.

“Instead of closing down during the pandemic, Arlene showed up and pivoted to partner with the county health department to inform local businesses about the changing restrictions, developing a public information campaign and offering businesses supplies to help them stay in compliance,” Tucker said in the release.

The services were available whether or not the business was a member, providing opportunities to connect, market and educate through a new and ongoing digital publication, JeffConnects, Tucker said.

She also developed the Community Development Fund with a portion of all membership investments to support local businesses and entrepreneurs with small grants to help them with a number of needs, including marketing, equipment purchases among others. This has now become the Jefferson County Chamber Foundation.

“Having a seasoned leader like Arlene at the helm during the pandemic was essential to ensuring the Chamber remained relevant to the community,” Tucker said.

“We will miss Arlene’s energy, her innovation and commitment to our local economy.”

During her tenure, free mentorships, workshops and classes have been offered through the chamber’s affiliation with SCORE of Greater Seattle, the chamber president said.

“In the past two years, we have mentored over 100 entrepreneurs and small business owners through the chamber,” Tucker said.

Other accomplishments are the revamped EnjoyPT website and chamber websites, the free-to-anyone Chamber Cafes, held twice a month virtually on Friday mornings, and a partnership between the chamber with the Better Business Bureau to provide an easy path to BBB Accreditation for businesses and nonprofits.

She also is involved in a number of initiatives — electric vehicle charging stations, sustainable tourism, planning commission, work on affordable workforce housing, Climate Action Committee and tourism on the North Olympic Peninsula.

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