At its annual meeting on March 25, the Bellingham-Whatcom Economic Development Council announced a brand identity change to become the Northwest Economic Council Whatcom County and a refinement of the council’s mission amid the perils of the current economy.
To begin the meeting, Ray Trzynka, board chair for the Northwest Economic Council for the past four years, passed the duties on to the new board chair, Bruce MacCormack of the Bellingham Angels Group.
MacCormack characterized the current economic climate as one of sweeping change and summed up his feelings with a quote from newly appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki: “If you don’t like change, you’re going like irrelevance even less.”
To that end, Nancy Jordan, executive director of the Northwest Economic Council, said to assess the council’s relevance, its leaders surveyed county residents to best inform any mission refinements.
“We know the best way for us to help is to understand how this is affecting people—and the best way to understand is to ask,” Jordan said in her March 25 presentation.
Jordan said they learned that most residents want the council to create a regional economic development strategy, provide a forum for broad-based discussions, understand industry sectors to best retain and expand local businesses and attract targeted new companies to the region.
“Our responsibility is to stay informed of the needs of our community and be aware of the future direction of business and the types of businesses that we feel fit us as we move into the future,” Jordan said.
MacCormack said that the Northwest Economic Council has changed remarkably and as it prepares for three more quarters of “dire straits,” its leadership must consider what it takes to be relevant.
“We need to harness the energy and creativity of the business community for the economic benefit of Whatcom County,” MacCormack said.
MacCormack said energy, outreach and a proactive spirit will be key to the council’s future success.
“So don’t be surprised if you get a call from us,” MacCormack said at the meeting.