Max Ault to step down as interim CREDC president

Ault will start a new position at WSU Vancouver on Feb. 1, 2019

Max Ault, current interim president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC), will join the staff at Washington State University Vancouver as assistant vice chancellor for strategic partnerships effective Feb. 1, 2019, according to a news release from WSU Vancouver.

Monica Santos-Pinacho, director of communications at CREDC, said the organization will begin to roll out the search process early next month for someone to fill the president role permanently, with the goal of having someone in the position by the end of this year.

“Max really wanted to ensure we had everything we needed to have a smooth transition,” Santos-Pinacho said.

Santos-Pinacho said this process is very in line with the plan CREDC had outlined earlier this year when Ault took over for former CREDC President Mike Bomar on an interim basis. Ault was appointed to serve as interim president for a term of up to 12 months, but CREDC board members and officers knew they were going to open the search for a permanent president this fall, Santos-Pinacho said.

“Since joining the team in 2014, Max has been a champion of CREDC and our business community,” said CREDC Board Chair Casey Wyckoff, in a prepared statement. “His ability to collaborate and build strong relationships have helped establish a solid foundation for the organization — earning a strong reputation among our private, public and nonprofit partners. We thank Max for his numerous contributions to CREDC over his nearly five-year tenure and look forward to working closely with him as he wraps up a several major projects for the organization and helps us identify and onboard a new president.”

While the goal is to have someone in the role by the end of the year, Santos-Pinacho said Ault will continue to serve as interim president full time through Dec. 31, 2018, and will help onboard the new president through early January to ensure a smooth transition.

“One of the best attributes of our region is its talent, and we look forward to identifying a strong leader who will help usher the next phase of CREDC’s Economic Development Plan implementation,” Santos-Pinacho said.

“My time with CREDC has been a career-defining experience and words cannot express my gratitude to the CREDC team, the board and our amazing network of partners,” Ault said in a prepared statement. “CREDC has the talent, resources and leadership to continue charting a course that ensures sustained growth and asserts Clark County as one of the most forward-thinking, amenity-rich areas in the Country. I look forward to working diligently on the transition through the end of the year.”

According to the news release from WSU Vancouver, WSU Vancouver Chancellor Mel Netzhammer and WSU President Kirk Schulz collaborated to create and fund a position that will focus on strategic engagement in the broader Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area for both WSU Vancouver and WSU systemwide. Ault will be responsible for engaging the university with businesses and individuals in Portland and beyond in areas including research and business partnerships, internships, philanthropy and student recruitment.

“We have ample opportunity to build new relationships with metro-area businesses and extend the reach of some of WSU Vancouver’s successful programs. More than 35,000 Cougar alumni work in the region, many of whom can facilitate partnerships with WSU for their companies or employers,” Netzhammer said in the news release.

Ault worked on contract part time at WSU Vancouver last spring as assistant to the chancellor for strategic partnerships.

“Max provided exceptional leadership for these activities and has strong relations in the metro area and on campus as a result. He is an excellent fit for the strategic partnerships position,” Netzhammer said in the news release.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.