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August 14, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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August 14, 2014

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Thursday, Aug. 14,2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-21 By LLOYD MULLEN Iloyd@masoncounty.com There's a lot of room to grow, according to Lynn Longan, the executive director of the Economic De- velopment Council (EDC) of Mason County. Longan has some ideas on strategies for invest- ments in the county. "Food processing, maybe the aero industry," she said in an interview Tuesday. "The high-tech indus- try -- we have really good fiber." To help the EDC's strategic planning, Longan hired Reid Vasek to work as an economic develop- ment associate. "He's going to lead the strategic planning process," she said. Vasek was hired on a six-month position. Longan said she hopes to keep him longer. During the next six months, Vasek and Longan plan to work on asset mapping and strategic plan- ning with the county. "That part is really unique," Longan said. "I don't think that's been done in the past, where the EDC has worked that closely with the county that they dovetail. Rather than everyone doing their own little forums, we're becoming cohesive. It's important that the county has a vision." Longan said she hopes that vision will be in draft form by the end of the year. In the meantime, the EDC will host a business "walkabout." "It's a proven business retention strategy," Lon- gan said. Longan and her 20-member board of directors will canvass businesses in Allyn, Hoodsport, Shelton and Belfair. Each business owner will be asked three questions: How is business, what do you like about doing business here, and what do you not like about doing business here? "You're not going into a huge survey," Longan explained. "You're just taking three really basic questions to get a feel for the business environ- ment." The EDC is also working with the schools to do a lemonade day with fourth- and fifth-graders. The lemonade day will teach children how to write a business plan, budget finances and choose a site location. After the day is over, the students will donate one-third of their earnings to a charity of their choice. "A third, they put into their savings for their fu- ture and a third they get to spend on whatever they want," Longan said. "[ou're teaching them entrepre- neurship and helping them grow that skill." Last week, the EDC had a luncheon at Little Creek Casino Resort, where Maury Forman, a senior man- ager for the state Department of Commerce, spoke Journal photo by Lloyd Mullen Neil Vasek stands in the EDC office Tuesday morning. Vasek was hired as a development associate for the EDC. about economic development. "He was well-received," Longan said. "He went into what economic development is and isn't." The takeaway from the luncheon, Longan said, is that there is a lot of work ahead. "We have to come together as a community and know what it is we're going to do. We can't take on the attitude that if it flies over us, we're going to shoot it. We have to know what it is we want in our county. I really took that to heart," she said. BUSINESS BRIEF Business After Hours in Belfair tonight The Pacific Northwest Salmon Center in Belfair hosts the North Mason Chamber of Commerce's Busi- ness After Hours from 5 to 7 tonight at 600 NE Roes- sel Road. Patrons can enjoy beer, wine, other bever- ages and hors d'oeuvres and learn about the center's projects. An RSVP is not required, but is encouraged. Email Stephanie@northmasonchamber.com to RSVP. The center also hosts a farm camp celebration from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 22. Participants of the center's Weaving Wisdom summer camp will show- case their works, and the Belfair band Swing Fever will perform. Attendees can roam the center's or- ganic you-pick garden, which has fresh garlic, beets, broccoli, peas and squash available. Compiled by reporter Gordon Weeks Complete this form, clip it and mail with your check to RO. Box 430, Shelton, WA 98584 You can order by phone (360) 426-4412 with your credit card, or stop by our office at 227 W. Cota St., Shelton. Please check: New CI Renewal Name: Address: City: State: Zip: Phone: Email: s37 (Mason County address) s51 (Elma or Bremerton address) s51(in Washington State) s61 per year out of state