I’ve been to a lot of these economic-development summits. This was one of the better ones. If I had one suggestion, it might be giving the powerhouses in the audience more time to talk, and less to the facilitator. Here are some tidbits I picked up I couldn’t jam into my story.
Clif McKenzie of Watson Furniture Group, listened for a long time to the myriad of suggestions about what people thought economic development was. Finally, he nailed it. “Jobs provide financial security. Financial security makes the rest of our dreams possible.”
Cary Bozeman of the Port of Bremerton talked about Kitsap becoming a haven for baby boomers who want a kicked-back and cheaper lifestyle that’s still close to their families in Seattle.
Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan noted that commercial assessed valuations in Bremerton have grown substantially in the past 5 years. “If we could copy that throughout the county, that would be great.”
Bill Stewart, chief of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, sais the military generates a $1.2 BILLION annual payroll in Kitsap.
There was talk about the under-construction $142 million pier at the shipyard and all that means. The pier will be able to handle the newer classes of carriers, and some, including Tim Thomson of the port, hope that the pier will increase Kitsap’s chances of keeping carrier air wings here instead of sending them to Whidbey when the big flattops come in.
Scott Bosch, chief of Harrison Medical Center, said one fourth of all Kitsap residents who need hospitalization head out of county. To which Lary Coppola, mayor of Port Orchard, said, “There’s a preception that it’s better in Seattle.”
Kevin Dwyer of the Bainbridge chamber, estimates the island has 600 home-based businesses. Lots of those are consultants, I’m told.
All for now.