New Woodinville Chamber director in place
by Jeff Switzer
The first things that struck new Woodinville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jeffrey Shaw about the area were the large agricultural district, the wineries, and the breweries.
"You can go anywhere and see a mall and office towers, but Woodinville is a growing community that has these very unique attractions," said Shaw. "Most people don't realize the opportunities here. Coming from the outside, you really notice the proximity to Seattle and I-405, the available land and housing, and the businesses. The potential for the community is what the community wants it to be, which is pretty much unlimited."
Shaw hails from Indiana, where he worked with the Hamilton County Alliance and the Metropolitan Association of Greater Indianapolis Communities, dealing with local and corporate businesses, local government, research and strategy studies, and marketing programs.
He said people in the area have been very nice, very helpful, and open, "similar to what you have in the Midwest--kind of 'what you see is what you get.'"
"The Chamber should serve as an advocate for the business community in all areas, from government to championing causes in marketing," said Shaw.
Shaw felt that, while having members chair different committees and donate money to various causes, the Chamber may have been losing sight of its mission of "how can it help its members?" His initial game plan is to meet with each of the chamber's 300-plus members at their convenience and get an idea of their perspectives and issues, and find out what the Chamber of Commerce can do to help.
"Based on those discussions, two to five themes will probably emerge which the Chamber can use as a mission statement or work plan," Shaw said, anticipating that two of the outstanding issues could possibly include traffic and small business financing.
Shaw said Woodinville is facing the traditional change that all communities go through, changing their focus from rural issues to emerging as a suburban/urban community which is closer to urban than rural, whether they like or not.
As an increasingly more urban area, Shaw said the day-to-day challenges facing the City of Woodinville include traffic and people, and noted that the Chamber's challenge remains "how to protect current business owners who are competing against super-stores and mega-malls, and provide them with stability and an affordable area where people can still live."