Over 17 years ago I accepted the position as President & CEO of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. What an honor and pleasure it has been to work with amazing community leaders to transform our community and the Eastside region through two economic cycles. Bellevue has gone from “holes in the ground” to one of the most vibrant cities in the country. As I pause and reflect on these years, it is working with leaders like you to build community and economic prosperity that bring me the greatest joy. To work with and learn from the best of the best has been so very rewarding. My greatest inspiration has come from connecting leaders to possibilities and opportunities.
It has been my privilege to work with tremendous Board Chairs: Joan Wallace, Randy Bannecker, Kathy Lombardo, Gregg Jordshaugen, John Valaas, Dean Rebhuhn, Chris Falco, Craig Foreman, Greg Krape, Earl Overstreet, Janet Ray, Ron Smith, Tom Sulewski, Gary Guenther, Tanya Fraioli, Dave Masin and Jim Hill as well as hundreds of Board of Directors and volunteers. Their passion and commitment to the entrepreneurial marketplace and the community has been my inspiration as collectively we have accomplished amazing things.
In the last 17 years Bellevue has transformed from largely FIRES (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Services) sectors to IT/Technology as our fastest growing job cluster. During this time, the technologies that Microsoft, Amazon and others have created go from being an “out there crazy idea” to everyday applications for our traditional businesses. Bellevue has attracted wickedly smart talent from all over the world to become a global city. We’ve also been blessed by the great foresight of our community leaders that has led to investments in our educational institutions as well as transportation infrastructure and kept our City focused on the value that jobs and economic prosperity bring to our employment base and residents. I know this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many efforts in the pipeline that I know Bellevue will continue to prosper and be a strong regional leader. I look forward to celebrating in your continued success.
While this is a very bittersweet moment for me since I have truly enjoyed working with all of you. I am embarking on a new adventure as Economic Development Director for Pierce County. In this new role, I will have the opportunity to continue our work on larger regional strategies of attracting and retaining talent as well as transportation and other infrastructure issues. Until we meet again!