In the wake of the non-renewal of former Bellingham/Whatcom Economic Development Council executive director Rob Pochert’s contract, the organization, at its recent annual meeting, has decided to embark on a course of self-introspection and analysis to determine its future course and current relevance.
This is a solid move for an organization that has long seemed to struggle with both its mission and identity within the business community, and that, like many business organizations, has struggled to maintain and grow its membership base.
Are the EDC’s efforts being duplicated by other groups such as the chamber or City Hall? If not, could they be, easily or more efficiently? Could a new strategy grow its member base and thus provide more funding and allow more services? Should they focus on business retention and growth or business recruitment?
These are questions that the EDC’s board will seek to answer in the coming months, with a position on the future of the group coming this spring. The hard work of the EDC’s board staff on behalf of our business community is certainly appreciated; we hope they can come to answers to their questions that allow them to fulfill their mission.
Kudos to chamber for border work
The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry continues to push hard for changes to the proposed Western Hemisphere Transportation Initiative, which would, among other thngs, require both Canadians and U.S. citizens to have a passport to cross the border, a requirement that chamber president Ken Oplinger sees as potentially disastrous for border-area economies such as ours.
A recent lobbying trip to Washington D.C., in conjunction with representatives of other border-area communities such as Buffalo, N.Y., led to some movement on the issue, and Oplinger is more confident that that passport issue may not be an absolute. For more, see story, page A22.
by Rik Dalvit