Bomar steps to the plate for CREDC

Ridgefield resident will bring skills honed in previous jobs, baseball

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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A Q&A with incoming CREDC President Mike Bomar

People and numbers of the CREDC

The people and numbers that make up the Columbia River Economic Development Council:

Bonnie Moore, vice president of business growth and innovation: Moore works with existing local businesses to help them grow and to drive business expansion. In addition to her CREDC responsibilities, she helps businesses in Southwest Washington with their workforce needs through her connection to the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council.

Denise McCarty, director of business recruitment: McCarty works with businesses interested in moving to Clark County. She brings 16 years of global business management experience to the CREDC, having worked in China, Southeast Asia, and Europe.

Kimberly Pincheira, manager of investor relations: Pincheira works with existing and potential new investors to identify their areas of importance. Before joining CREDC, she served as the Southwest Washington outreach director for Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and worked in a similar capacity for former Democratic Congressman Brian Baird.

Elizabeth Scott, research analyst: Scott primarily provides analytical research support to the CREDC’s business recruitment and expansion programs by providing customized project research for clients. Before joining the CREDC, she worked in environmental research and data collection, focusing on socioeconomic and environmental analysis.

Susan Pagel, office manager: Pagel serves as the office manager for the CREDC and the SWWDC, and as executive assistant to the CREDC’s president. She also supports the CREDC’s board of directors, project managers and provides information technology support.

Kim Cheatley, administrative coordinator: Cheatley provides the CREDC with administrative and accounting support. Her background includes real estate administration and experience in human resources in the manufacturing industry.

CREDC on the Web: www.credc.org.

CREDC total revenue in 2012, including local public contracts, private investor contributions, a state contract and earned income: $870,690.

The CREDC’s 2012 annual report, including a list of the agency’s investors and accomplishments that year, is available at www.bit.ly/1bbf5Th.

The Clark County Economic Development Plan, finalized in September 2011, is available at www.bit.ly/1hO4Hpu.

Don't even try to break Mike Bomar's concentration.

The 34-year-old Ridgefield resident pitched for the University of Washington baseball team from 1998 to 2001. And, for a time, the left-hander took the mound for the Eugene (Ore.) Emeralds, the Class A farm team of the San Diego Padres.So he has stared down his share of batters and blocked out none-too-few noisy crowds.His fastball, he said, "topped out" at 93 miles per hour. He also hurled a split-finger to keep batters from getting too comfortable.

As the new president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council, Bomar will need all the focus he can muster, not to mention the ability to think fast and to adapt to different people and situations.

That's partly because the CREDC, a private-public partnership, is a diverse organization. The Vancouver-based nonprofit group -- an economic development contractor since 1982, with a mission to promote jobs, help existing companies expand and to recruit new businesses to the region -- works with everyone from local governments to private businesses.

It's those 140 local organizations, which the CREDC calls investors, that fund the agency andhelp guide its policies. Theyexpect a return on their investments innew companies, good-paying jobs and a diversified economy. But Bomar also will need to call on his concentration and quick-wittedness to carry out an ambitious, long-term growth plan -- commissioned by the CREDC, and backed by Clark County's establishment government and business leaders -- and to respond to the opportunities that crop up in the short term.

To throw strikes at those moving targets, Bomar brings plenty of tools to the job, which will pay him $108,000 annually.

Previously, he served as executive director of the Southwest Washington Contractors Association, which has 400 members. Before that, the University of Washington graduate worked for the Building Industry Association of Clark County, rising from a 2004 internship to governmental affairs director of the 700-member homebuilders group.

Bomar holds a bachelor's degree in political science from UW and a master's in public administration with a focus on applied policy.

After a rigorous interview process that included sitting in the same room with two other finalists to make presentations to CREDC board members and to field questions from them, Bomar was appointed to lead the economic development council by a unanimous vote of its 40-member board.He succeeds Lisa Nisenfeld, who left the CREDC's top job in September to take the helm of Oregon's Employment Department. He reports to his first day of work Dec. 2. Bomar,a married father of two children, ages 4 and 2, said he wants to boost communication of the CREDC's work and priorities. But he also knows there's plenty of work to be done behind the scenes to compete in a tough regional and global economic development game. It's a game in which collaboration, the correct strategy and incentives, and a persuasive presentation of a community's most attractive qualities, can make all the difference in wooing a client.

"For me, it's not necessarily about soundbites," Bomar said. "It's not about creating controversy. It's about how do we figure out, as a group … how we can move forward with common goals."