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A salute to the public partners of our private-public alliance

The Kitsap Economic Development Alliance is a 34-year-old public-private economic development partnership. Our alliance was born of local community leaders’ recognition that together public entities and private enterprises can more effectively shape and develop economic opportunities in Kitsap. Our alliance is led by a dynamic board of 18 elected officials and 18 business leaders. Our core mission is to attract investment and jobs to Kitsap County. And, our core clients are local businesses we serve by connecting them to strategic resources and relationships and market information.

We most often focus our attention and message around matters of critical importance to our private-sector partners (capital formation — human and financial; infrastructure needs; market connectivity; innovation and entrepreneurial capital; public policy and regulations; and business climate). After all, businesses are our clients and the direct beneficiaries of the services we offer (workforce access; market research and analysis; site selection services; business planning; permitting and regulation; and B2B and G2B connections) so it only makes good business sense to focus on your clients.

But it’s also important to take a moment and recognize the critical role our public partners (federal, state, county, city, ports, special-purpose districts and agencies, and educational institutions) play in making sure Kitsap has a strong economy and is an excellent place to do business. This role includes promulgating and administering sound public policy — policy that fosters a vibrant, sustainable and competitive environment in which to live, learn, recreate, work and do business. In addition, our public partners are charged with making sure our communities are well served by public infrastructure critical to sustaining a vibrant economy and exceptional quality of life (transportation, utilities, public safety, schools, parks and a host of other public services, amenities and facilities.) Our public leaders also play an essential role in setting the community table for the formation and management of social-political capital in a community — the intangibles like community spirit and collaboration, presence of strong civic and service organizations, and an overall welcoming business climate.

We just completed local elections for a host of public offices: state legislators, mayors, city council members, port commissioners and school board members, to name a few. Too often we hear the voice of critics of elected officials; too little we hear the voices of recognition and thanks for a job well done by our elected leaders. But, through it all (positive or negative press and public opinion), the vast majority of elected officials go to work each and every day, long days, to diligently discharge the duties of their respective office with a dedicated commitment to serving the public and making a difference in the day-to-day well-being and prosperity of the communities they love and serve. They are a big reason Kitsap is a great place to live, learn, re-create, work and do business.

I invite you to join me in thanking our elected officials and public servants for all they do for our Kitsap communities and for being such valuable partners in our 34-year private-public economic development partnership — The Kitsap Economic Development Alliance.

Here’s to our local leaders — Here’s to them all!

John Powers is executive director of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance.

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