By Rachel Pritchett
BREMERTON NATIONAL AIRPORT — When the year ends, the two most
aggressive and adept promoters of the Port of Bremerton will
retire, raising the question of who can fill their big shoes as the
port’s next horn-blower.
Commissioner Bill Mahan has been behind a host of
economic-development initiatives over the years, most recently
encouraging expansion of a marine-industry cluster here. Tuesday at
a study session, he predicted that after a two-year effort, a major
boat company is coming to Kitsap County. He did not elaborate.
Cary Bozeman, the port’s chief executive officer, just pulled
off probably the biggest local public-relations coup to date,
deftly inserting the port into the statewide discussion of where
any future Boeing 737 plant should go.
Incoming CEO Tim Thomson has been on the port’s inside
operational side mostly. He has overseen the port’s industrial-park
leasing in recent years. But his activities related to the
full-fledged professional promotion of the port have been limited.
No one appears to be looking to port spokeswoman Chris Case, hired
as marketing and communications manager, to wholly fill this
Mahan and Bozeman have clear sights on the potential promotional
vacuum that could occur at the port. On Tuesday, Mahan suggested
getting some kind of professional commercial real-estate help to
begin promoting the port in Seattle.
“The way we do it now is not working,” he said.
Bozeman quickly agreed.
“There needs to be a strong sales outreach here,” he said.
Commissioner Roger Zabinski also agreed on the necessity of
finding a way to effectively market the business park across the
water and even globally.
“I’m not trying to criticize. I’m trying to move forward,” he
Thompson’s marketing efforts so far have included advertising
leasing opportunities through onsite signs and packets at trade
shows. Bozeman and port commissioner want a more aggressive
Thomas said the lack of prospective tenants can be chalked up to
more than a passive marketing effort.
There’s the bad economy. Plus, the problem of leasing the
remaining 91 acres in the port’s industrial park is compounded by a
round of lease-rate raises that started just before the recession
and is being completed this year. Tenants are pushing back on the
higher rates, Thomson said.
There’s the problem of lack of infrastructure in the park, and
not enough cash to do it after building the Bremerton Marina,
acccording to Bozeman. With insufficient infrastructure, the
industrial park isn’t as competitive, he said.
Then there’s the name of the park that all seemed to agree does
nothing to draw tenants here — Olympic View Business and Industrial
As for promoting the port better now that two of its biggest
horn-blowers are leaving, Bozeman said he was going to talk to
Thomson in the next month.
Thomson seemed to read the message loud and clear — successful
promotion means more than signs and informational packets at trade
“I heard from all three commissioners to take action,” he