It is my immense pleasure and honor to introduce myself. My name is Karen Francis-McWhite and I am the new Executive Director for the North Central Washington Economic Development District. Though my family moved here most directly from Colorado, I like to say that we moved here from Ellensburg, by way of Michigan, New York and Colorado. After running a federally-funded program at Central Washington University, I retrained as a lawyer, and subsequently worked with B Lab, a nonprofit supporting socially and environmentally responsible for-profit businesses. With B Lab, I spent the last few years designing and launching business education, marketing and technical assistance programs to support small and medium enterprises in New York City and Colorado.
I returned home to Washington in January, and I look forward to working with you as we advance sustainable and equitable economic development in our region.
Since joining the EDD last month, I have been reviewing what the EDD has done, coming up to speed on the projects currently in the works, and meeting with the Board to scope the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) moving forward.
The EDD will continue to live into its mission to promote diversification and development of existing and potential economic opportunities that enhance the stability and future of the North Central Washington region. For example, the funded $1.05M Oroville Public Works and Economic Development Facilities Program grant is an EDD partnership that will facilitate the expansion and stability of commercial operations for the lumber and railroad industries. The EDD’s international tourism partnership with the Thompson Okanogan Tourism Association continues to promote North Central Washington destinations across North America. And Plug-In NCW recently received a grant for four more electrical vehicle charging stations, improving electrical vehicle infrastructure in our District.
The EDD Board and I are committed to continue sourcing partnerships, funds and other resources that can advance our region. Thank you for your continued support of the North Central Washington Economic Development District. Please let me know if there are any projects you are working on or would like to pursue, with which the EDD could help.