Economic Alliance Snohomish County names new CEO

After nationwide search, Garry Clark, a Nebraska business advocate, will take the helm in February.

Garry Clark

Garry Clark

EVERETT — He’s an author and a business advocate in the Omaha area and, now, he’s moving west to lead Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

After a nationwide search, Economic Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes economic growth, has chosen Garry Clark as its next president and CEO.

Clark served most recently as president and CEO of the Greater Fremont Development Council, a group that’s affiliated with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.

Before that, Clark worked as the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority’s opportunity fund manager in Omaha and, earlier, as economic development director of Cuming County in northeast Nebraska.

Clark received a Midlands Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award in 2018 for a campaign that helped raise nearly $2 million to fund a rural workforce housing program in Fremont.

He is also the author of the”Unlikely Viking: From the D.C. Projects to Rural Nebraska” a memoir recounting his childhood struggles. “Viking” refers to the Dana College mascot, where Clark earned a bachelor’s degree and was inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame for Track and Field. Dana College, which was located in Blair, Nebraska, closed in 2010.

Clark will take the helm on February 16, replacing Chris Mefford, interim president and CEO for the past six months.

The post became vacant last April when Patrick Pierce, CEO since 2016, left to take a job as economic development director of the Town of Clayton, North Carolina.

“I am extremely excited and grateful, for the opportunity to lead Economic Alliance’s effort in Snohomish County,” Clark said in a statement. “I have seen first-hand, 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!”

Clark is a graduate of Dana College and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he earned a master’s degree in urban studies and public administration.

Paul Dolan, board chair of Economic Alliance, said the board of trustees conducted a nationwide search “to find a candidate with strong economic development skills and an alignment to our vision of skillfully advocating with one voice for Snohomish County businesses.”

“Garry’s expertise, energy, and commitment align with this strategic direction,” Dolan said. “He has the full endorsement of all those involved and we are all certain he will bring a fresh perspective, new ideas, and cohesive partnering across all sectors countywide.”

County Executive Dave Somers said he looks forward to partnering with Clark and Economic Alliance, and pointed out that the group is on tap to play an even greater role as the region recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. “

“We look forward to working together to support our employers and employees,” Somers said in a statement.

Economic Alliance was formed in 2011 as a merger between three groups: the Economic Development Council of Snohomish County, the Greater Everett Chamber of Commerce and the South Snohomish County Chamber of Commerce.

The Alliance supports commercial airline service at Paine Field, development of the Cascade Industrial Center in Marysville and Arlington, and efforts to improve STEM education and opportunities for children.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

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