PORT ANGELES — Bob Larsen, the Composite Recycling Center’s chief executive, told staff Wednesday he is retiring in early August, about a year after launching the world’s first facility to recycle uncured carbon fiber composites and create new products and local jobs for the Peninsula.
Larsen said his plan from the beginning was to be with the CRTC in the short term and that now is a good time for him to move on.
He had come out of retirement to lead the CRTC.
“I think a year after we’ve moved into the building, turned the corner into making earnings and have all our production [equipment] set up and we have all these products in the pipeline, we’re set for success,” he said.
“We are very well positioned for success. Everything is in place.”
His decision to retire for the second time came after a recent “bucket list” vacation to Europe when he came to the realization he wanted to spend more time with his wife and family, he said.
“You get to a point in your life where you realize there’s a lot more to life than just working,” Larsen said. “It’s time that while we still have our health that we start sharing these moments. It really started to hit home when we shared those experiences [on vacation].”
He said he is thankful to be passing the job on to the nonprofit’s chief operating office.
The nonprofit’s David Walter will take on the CRTC’s top role in addition to his current job as COO when Larsen retires Aug. 11.
The announcement comes a week after he told Port of Port Angeles and Clallam County commissioners the CRTC needs its next four products to be successful for the CRTC to keep its doors open.
The port, which committed $1.35 million to the CRTC in exchange for economic development, is nearing the end of that financial commitment with the last check being written in January. The port has provided about $53,000 per month and it costs about $100,000 per month to keep the CRTC’s doors open, paying salaries and utilities, Larsen said last week.
It’s a critical time for the CRTC, but Larsen and Walter said the nonprofit is on track for success.
“I think Bob has always had in his mind that he wanted to take [the CRTC] to the point where we are about a year in, had a good process in place and had a team scaled-up and had all the equipment in the back set up and ready for production and moving into multiple product streams,” Walter said. “That’s exactly where we are.”
Walter said he is sad to see Larsen leave the CRTC, but is happy that he can now spend more time with his family.
The plan now is to combine the chief operating officer and chief executive officer positions and continue moving forward with current plans, Walter said, adding there shouldn’t be any significant changes.
“I think it’s a matter of executing on the good plans that we have,” he said. “I think we’ve got a lot of good products in motion.”
The CRTC Board Chairman, Anson Fatland said Thursday he was jealous Larsen gets to go back into retirement and that he is excited for him.
“He’s come to a point with the organization where literally a handful of months ago that building was a shell,” Fatland said. “They’ve accomplished a tremendous amount and it’s because he’s been there.”
Fatland, who said he talked to Larsen “at length” about his retirement, said he applauds Larsen for putting his family first.
The board did not ask him to retire, he said.
“I wish him all the great times in the world,” he said.
Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Colleen McAleer said she appreciates all the work Larsen put into the CRTC.
“He has volunteered so much of his time and I know he and his family have been thinking about having more family time, so I understand his decision,” shes aid.
She said she has confidence the CRTC will be successful and that it just takes time to “ramp it all up.”
“We worked long hours and he did not take pay for many, many months,” she said. “There was a lot of self-sacrifice there. His heart has totally been in it so I just appreciate all that he has done.”
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at email@example.com.