CEO Corner: August 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Main News Photo

One of EDASC’s most interesting and important ongoing projects has been partnering with the City of Anacortes and the Port of Anacortes in coordinating the development of a maritime economy strategy.  After setting up a framework with some broad goals, Mayor Laurie Gere, Port Executive Director Dan Worra and I have been conducting stakeholder meetings to find out their views on Anacortes’ strengths and weaknesses as a maritime location, as well as needs, solutions, and ideas for future growth.  We have heard from businesses and individuals in manufacturing, repair, sales and service of vessels, tourism, recreation, research, education, and training, development, and others, as well as colleagues at the state government and association level.

The goals of the strategy focus on positioning Anacortes (and Skagit County, by extension) as the location of choice for global marine-based and maritime industries, tourists, and research, as well as a launching point for exports and maritime operations in Alaska and the Arctic.  In serving these goals, the strategy also aims to establish Anacortes as a global leader for recruiting, training the next generation of the maritime workforce.

Our discussions with stakeholders have been wide-ranging and informative. Anacortes is universally viewed as maritime-centric, accessible, and supportive of the industries.  Needs focus on infrastructure for greater access, and particularly on workforce issues, as well as involving and training a new generation of boaters, both recreational and professional. Attracting more tourists who will then fan out to the Skagit Valley will benefit the entire region. Interestingly, those in the recreational boating industry identified the shared economy as a rapidly developing trend; like with Uber or Airbnb, younger generations may be less likely to own their own boat, preferring instead to buy shares or rent.

Some discussions developed around tax rulings or regulations that inhibit tourism, and the multiplicity of agencies regulating any activity around the water.  The impact of these regulations, and possible improvements, will be explored further as the process continues.  We welcome all input, and look forward to working collaboratively to develop a plan for sustainable growth for years to come.

- John Sternlicht, CEO

Category: Maritime, Anacortes, Manufacturing, Tourism, Research, Education, Workforce Training, Arctic