EDC Board Chair
Director of Product Development & Growth, Puget Sound Energy
As we celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County last year, we reflected with pride on over four decades of regional leadership and results in economic development. Thank you for being part of the history of this important regional effort to, as our mission states, “expand and diversify the economy throughout King County by retaining and recruiting jobs, growing strong and sustainable industry clusters, and promoting global competitiveness for Washington State.” Having served on the EDC Executive Committee for several years, I have watched the EDC evolve and thrive. As the Seattle region’s economy continues to boom, the region is paying attention to and mobilizing around economic development and the EDC must respond.
Building on Our Success
As the EDC continues its important “cluster-driven, client-focused” economic development work, we are facing an important leadership transition for our organization. After serving the EDC in several capacities over the years, including as a board member, city investor and consultant, our President & CEO, Suzanne Dale Estey, is stepping down on May 12, 2017. As we continue to focus on strategy and collaboration at the regional level, Suzanne and the Executive Committee believe this is the right time to bring in a fresh perspective.
I want to personally thank and congratulate Suzanne for her tireless service to the EDC. Her deep and strategic understanding of how economic development works at the ground level combined with her passionate commitment to our region has led the EDC to new heights.
We all have a great deal to be proud of during Suzanne’s tenure as CEO. Suzanne has worked with the Board, EDC Staff Team and countless regional leaders to realign the EDC and its resources and position it as a stronger organization focused on results. Under Suzanne’s leadership, the organization set its first strategic plan and quarterly performance report card and nearly doubled our budget.
Most importantly, by conservative estimates, in 2015 and 2016 alone, the EDC helped preserve and bring to King County over 6,000 jobs at over 70 companies. This helped bring over $750 million in new investment to King County, while overall countywide job creation has held at approximately 48,600 annually and unemployment is now at an incredibly low 3.1%. Suzanne has re-built the EDC staff team as a strong, cross-trained, high-performance team of forward-thinking economic development professionals. We have also increased board and investor engagement, continued to reinforce the EDC’s mission, improved brand awareness, deployed new and innovative social media and communication strategies and generally built new excitement about the unique opportunities available in the Seattle-King County region.
I continue to be excited about the EDC and our plans for this year. The EDC had very strong performance in 2015 and 2016 and will continue to grow through a solid new strategic plan, the Economic Vitality Action Plan. We also have exciting long-term plans driven by the Executive Committee which we call EDC2020.
We Need Your Engagement in Defining the EDC’s Future
The EDC today is more focused and more financially sustainable and that is due to the support that we receive from each of you and our partners. We know that in today’s competitive, fast-moving world, we cannot afford to be complacent as a county and region. It’s important that we support the EDC’s work to grow jobs across King County and that you actively engage in this work. And as the regional conversation about economic development continues to unfold, we need you to be part of potential transformation.
The EDC’s Executive Committee will be engaging an interim executive to help lead our staff team as we work to select the next leader for this organization. The Executive Committee is actively engaged and we are eager to receive any insights and feedback you may have through this process. We will continue to provide updates on this process over the coming months. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or input to share.
Thank you for your continued commitment to growing jobs and economic vitality across King County.