Staff Profile: Annette Pankey

Sunday, August 05, 2018

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How long have you lived in Skagit County?

My wife Roz and I arrived in Anacortes on May 1, 2011.

What is your favorite thing to do?

I’ve played sports all my life and absolutely love playing golf!  The mechanics of golf are challenging, but it’s balanced by just being out in nature.  I always try to appreciate the surroundings of the courses I play on.

What can you suggest for someone new or not familiar to Skagit County to try?

Tour around the whole county.  There is so much to see and do year-round.  Start up conversations with strangers.  You’d be surprised how much you can find out about the area and will develop some great friendships.

What were you doing before you started working for EDASC?

I worked in the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) in Baltimore, Maryland.  Our primary role was connecting the local workforce with employers in Baltimore City and providing the necessary training for jobs in the local industries.  Much like WorkSource here in the state of Washington.

Why is economic development important for you?

It’s vital to the sustainability of a region.  If you aren’t paying attention to initiatives that will help grow your economy, then you probably are going to face challenges down the road.  So, it’s important to focus on those things that will help build wealth in the community, provide infrastructure and quality of life to the community and keep and grow jobs and businesses in the community.

What drew you to work in economic development?

Working for EDASC has been a natural progression from my MOED workforce days to economic development.  There is value for me to be connected and engaged in my community.  EDASC allows me to support the Skagit community.

How have you seen the county change since you started working for EDASC?

First off, I am amazed and thrilled at how the different municipalities worked together on countywide initiatives.  I think one of the most important projects going on now is creating the fiber backbone.  This will hopefully create space for high speed connectivity throughout the whole county.  I’ve seen more homelessness and drug use in recent years.  While this is nothing new in urban areas, I am surprised at the prevalence in Skagit County.  I am not sure if this is connected to the lack of affordable housing and/or drug addiction.  I am hopeful that initiatives to combat the issue will provide solutions that work for everyone.

How do you see the county changing in the next ten years?

I hope within the next ten years we will have created more affordable housing, while maintaining our valuable agricultural land.  If we want to keep and attract businesses and a strong workforce, we must provide affordable housing.  As a new resident to the County, I know the importance of appreciating what we have here.  There will be population growth, so we will need to be strategic in our planning so that we maintain the quality of life that we all enjoy but are also welcoming to others to participate in our abundance.

What have you learned about EDASC or the county that has surprised you?

There are some amazing companies in Skagit County.  I don’t want to single anyone out, but some of the manufacturing that is going on is world-class innovation.  If you attended Spotlight on Skagit this past April, you know what I mean.  The presenters there just blew my mind.  I kept saying to myself, “Wow, right here in Skagit County!”  I didn’t really know much about agriculture before moving here but am fascinated at all that is “agricultural” in our region.  Most times, if I have to drive somewhere, I will take the state routes instead of jumping on I-5 just because I want to view all the beauty of this area… ”It’s not the destination, but the journey.”

What are your day-to-day activities?

As Office Manager for EDASC, I wear many hats during the day.  I greet guests, answer phone calls, and schedule meetings.  I also troubleshoot minor IT issues.  I am the Ms. MacGyver for when something needs fixed.  I am the keeper of knowledge of “EDASC past.”  I support both the EDASC and EDASC Foundation Boards.  Generally, I am the go-to person for all things EDASC.  This is just some of what I do daily.


Category: Staff Profile