ln the spring of 2014, as the current EDC team was being assembled, there was much discussion at our board level and in the broader community about holding a "Big Tent" meeting of many interests groups in Port Angeles and in the county.
The goal was to find a way to pull the community together. A team of professors from Washington State University was nearly hired to act as paid facilitators.
Over time, their cost would have approached about $40,000. That price seemed steep and the effort simply died. ln our view, backing away was a good thing.
Because since early 2016 we have seen a number of natural and energetic leaders from Port Angeles come forward who are great communicators and who have created, right under our noses, that "team of teams" concept popularized by General Stanley McCrystal.
Today, the broader community feels increasingly effective.
Following are just a few of the non-elected individuals who have stepped up in a major way. They are giving to our county what David Brooks has called "the art of gracious leadership":
John Brewer retired from his post as Publisher and Editor of the Peninsula Daily News and other Sound Publications on the peninsula late last fall. By the first of the year he had become President of PABA (the Port Angeles Business Association) where he immediately brought his deep knowledge and writing skills to create more programs while reaching out to a broad mix in the county and beyond.
We feel PABA's constructive presence on a regular basis. Marc Abshire became the Executive Director of the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce in January. He arrived with well-conceived ideas about how a "chamber" should be run and he set an entirely new program in place.
Not surprisingly, Marc has consistently reached out to the entire community to involve as many fresh faces as he can. Young Johnson, owner of the H20 Waterfront Bistro, was elected President of PADA (the Port Angeles Downtown Association) in January.
Young is both generous and a high-energy dynamo. She has taken on the immediate task of creating the sponsor groups who will welcome and support Mack Athletics, owners of new PA baseball team which will commence play in June, 2017.
She has spent considerable sums of her own money to make their welcome extremely special. Kevin Russell of Kevin Russell Construction wears many hats. Not only is he head of the North Peninsula Building Association; he is also the Treasurer of the BIAW (Building lndustry Association of Washington) which represents about 7500 member companies. He likely will be elected president of the BIAW in 2018.
Last, he is a committee member of the National Association of Home Builders, a powerful group with over 250,000 member companies. Kevin's trove of knowledge is treasured throughout our county.
Karen F. Goschen was recently selected as Executive Director of the Port of Port Angeles. She had held the "interim" post since December and, while in the midst of a highly competitive selection process, Karen announced that she would stay on at the Port no matter who was selected. She has a brilliant academic background and now brings plenty of experience to the job. And she has exhibited a calming presence to the hard-working Port staff and has a genuine willingness to work with the entire county.
The list above could be far longer and should include many from both Sequim and Forks and other areas. But Port Angeles is the County seat and the positive attitude and reach of individuals like the above should be encouraging to all who have hoped that the cities, tribes, and small towns would all pull together in the same direction.