EDC chief resigns
June 11, 2008 · Updated 10:55 AM
"Warren Olson, executive director of Kitsap Regional Economic Development Council, was asked recently whether he takes his job home or leaves it at the office. I try to leave it at the office, he replied, noting that a minister friend once told him that as he attended people on their deathbeds, he hadn't had anyone lament not spending more time at the office. But many regretted not spending enough time with the family.Olson should have no such regrets in the future. He announced Thursday he will retire so he can travel and pursue personal goals with his wife, Jan Harding, who retired last year from an executive position with Frank Russell Co. in Tacoma.The EDC board said it will begin immediately to find Olson's successor. He said he'll stay on the job until one is hired.Karl Jonietz, Olympic College president and EDC board chairman, said Olson will be missed.He set a leadership tone that sharpened the EDC's focus and allowed the organization to fully concentrate on its mission of business retention, expansion and recruitment, Jonietz said.That mission failed to produce a major employer in recent years. Most recently, a Fortune 500-ranked, international company chose not to locate a 500-employee call center in Kitsap County after considering possible locations in Port Orchard, Bremerton and Poulsbo. Also in the past year, financial problems ended a manufacturing company's plans to build a plant that EDC helped the firm find at the Port of Bremerton's Olympic View Industrial Park Olson lamented such jiltings. But, he said, We have made progress on land-use issues and, I believe, we have changewd the outlook of many to more strongly endorse economic development.Olson described his relationship with EDC's 13-member board as close."