By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
Snohomish County Wash., March 16, 2021 – A local catalyst for economic vitality, Economic Alliance Snohomish County’s (EASC) new president and CEO, Garry Clark, started his role last month, effective as of February 16.
Clark has been involved in economic development for nearly 20 years, spending the last three years as the president and CEO of the Greater Fremont Development Council (GFDC) in Fremont, Nebraska. Before joining GFDC, he spent over a year as the opportunity fund manager at the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority and nearly six years as theEconomic Development Director for Cuming County Economic Development in Nebraska.
While in Fremont, Clark was awarded the Midland Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award for his rural workforce housing efforts.
“I am extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity to lead the EASC effort,” Clark said in a statement. “I have seen firsthand the energy of the community and the very engaged and active leadership. While I have enjoyed my time in Nebraska, there are some exciting things taking place in Snohomish County, and I can’t wait to join the effort.”
Seeking out the next step in his career, Clark sought out a role providing him with an opportunity to lead in a county with a preexisting vibrant opportunity for economic growth. The EASC timeline for its nationwide search for its next president and CEO aligned with Clark’s goal, who says the opening was too great to pass up. He has replaced Chris Mefford, interim president and CEO for the past six months.
“It just seemed like a match made in heaven for me,” he said.
Clark is also the author of “Unlikely Viking: From D.C. Projects to Rural Nebraska,” a memoir on his upbringing and discovering the way to doing his part to make a difference in the world. His childhood had a tremendous influence on his passion for economic development, he said, as it paved the way for him to have a direct impact on communities he grew up in.
“I grew up in public housing in the Washington D.C. projects and then I was homeless several times as a kid, so for me growing up in these rough communities, I always wondered why it was rough and why there weren’t opportunities for people,” Clark said.
During his time with EASC, Clark hopes their efforts will strengthen diversity in the workforce and leadership within the community, and he is excited about the region’s robust opportunity to do so.
“That’s going to sustain Snohomish County for its future,” he said.
EASC’s economic efforts are rooted in being a regional economic engine, developing stronger communities, increasing job creation, expanding educational opportunities, and improving infrastructure. Clark says he looks forward to leading these key considerations of community.
“I just look forward to learning and growing with the community, specifically… all the small corners of the county,” he said. “I’m just so eager to learn more in the rural and urban areas.”