Alisa Pyszka, Vancouver's economic development division manager since 2008, will leave the city next month to work for Greater Portland Inc., a public-private partnership that promotes business across seven counties in the Portland-Vancouver area.
Pyszka, 41, will serve as the Portland-based organization's vice president of business recruitment and expansion. In that job, she will coordinate the organization's recruitment efforts for the Portland-Vancouver region, as well as trying to recruit additional companies to move or expand in the metropolitan area. Her job will be akin to being an "air traffic controller, filling the sales funnel," said Sean Robbins, the organization's CEO. He said Greater Portland is now tracking 19 recruitment projects.
In Vancouver, Pyszka has led the city's efforts to recruit businesses and ensure that land is ready for development. She said she's pleased with the city's work on streamlining the permitting process and in attracting businesses, particularly in east Vancouver's 192nd Avenue corridor.
Pyszka said she would help bring a Clark County and Washington state perspective to the regional jobs organization, adding that she shares Robbins' emphasis on strengthening a coordinated regional approach to economic development.
Robbins said the job opening attracted candidates from across the country, but that Pyszka stood out due in part to her blend of public- and private-sector experience. "She sees it from both sides of the coin," he said.
Before coming to Vancouver, she worked as a project manager for Cardno WRG Design Inc., a development consulting firm in Portland. She has a bachelor's degree in history from Miami University and a master's in urban planning from the University of Kansas.
In a news release, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt added his praise to Pyska's work for the city. "Alisa's service to Vancouver will be missed but her recruitment leadership for the whole metro community will be an asset for all of us, " he said.
Pyszka's last day in Vancouver is May 7. She starts her new job May 17.