Port of Douglas Hires New Economic Development Manager
EAST WENATCHEE, WA – The Port of Douglas County has hired a Kittitas County official as its new Economic Development Manager.
Ron Cridlebaugh, currently serving as economic development director of the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce, was selected from a pool of 19 qualified applicants, including professionals from the local area, other parts of Washington state and out of state. Six finalists were interviewed for the post.
Cridlebaugh will begin work on March 17.
“The Port of Douglas is really excited to have Ron join our team,” said Lisa Parks, Port of Douglas County executive director. “We hope to utilize his extensive experience in business development and recruitment, downtown revitalization and collaborative work efforts to move economic development forward for Douglas County and the entire region.”
Cridlebaugh has held the position of executive director for the Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce, Ellensburg Business Development Authority and Economic Development Group of Kittitas County. During that time, he has assisted hundreds of small businesses with everything from business planning and marketing to site selection and permitting, and he has worked on projects ranging from sighting a grocery store to assisting EDF Renewable energy with their 200‐megawatt wind power project.
He has been involved in the successful operation of the Ellensburg Business Incubator and MicroLoan Programs. The incubator program nurtures small and start‐up businesses, and recently graduated Iron Horse Brewery, recognized as one of the state’s top 10 breweries, while the MicroLoan program provides small business loans to businesses who haven’t been able to qualify for traditional financing. Additionally, he has been handling the business recruitment for Kittitas County along with managing the light industrial properties owned by the Ellensburg Business Development Authority and City of Ellensburg.
Cridlebaugh also has managed the Ellensburg and Kittitas County tourism programs (tourism is now the second largest industry in Kittitas County), and has guided downtown revitalization projects. One of those projects involved working with the City of Ellensburg to purchase a downtown building that was 90 percent vacant. Cridlebaugh assisted in filling all of the residential apartments and finalizing leases that will have most of the commercial space on the main floor occupied.
Additionally, Cridlebaugh is a certified SBA NxLevel Instructor who has collaborated with others to teach a 12 week course for entrepreneurs several times in the past few years. He was directly involved in the creation and re‐designation of the Ellensburg Innovation Partnership Zone and the re‐establishment of the Kittitas/Yakima Economic Development District.
The Port of Douglas’ interview panel, which included Parks, port Commissioner Mark Spurgeon and City of Wenatchee Economic Development Director Steve King, was impressed with the six finalists.
“The six people interviewed were all very qualified, making this an extremely difficult decision.” Parks said.