Mike Bomar, who has worked as the president of the Columbia River Economic Council (CREDC) for the last four and a half years, will step down from the position at the end of this month. Starting on May 1, Bomar, 38, will take on the role of economic development director for the Port of Vancouver USA.
Max Ault, currently the executive vice president at CREDC, will take over as interim president beginning on May 1.
“Something I’ve been most excited about is all of the Port growth,” Bomar said. “I’m leaving an awesome team (at CREDC) to join another awesome team. I feel like CREDC is in such a great place right now, I feel like, while I appreciate the role I’ve played here, I feel like they’re not going to miss a beat in terms of the team we have here, the engaged board that we have. So, that made the decision a little easier as well.”
Bomar said that he has similar feelings in regards to the Port; that they have a great team there, but it’s also a shift for him and a lot of new opportunities that he feels like he can be a useful participant in.
“It feels like a good fit and the right move,” he said.
Although Bomar has been involved with numerous projects through CREDC, he said there are a few things he has been especially proud of during his time with the organization. One of those things is the actual Clark County Comprehensive Economic Development Plan. Bomar said he felt like the CREDC team did a great job in terms of knowing who should be involved and encouraging ownership up front in the plan.
“In terms of the team as well, there’s been several key projects,” Bomar said. “RealWear, Banfield, Home Depot Quote Center … a lot of great things happen in this community without CREDC’s involvement, obviously, and I think that’s a good sign of a healthy economy and a healthy regulatory environment, but there are several of these key projects where you see millions of dollars in investment, a lot of quality jobs coming, that we know internally without the partners and without the staff and the strength of the staff, and the creativity of the staff that those things likely wouldn’t have happened. At least at the time or in the way that they did.”
Bomar said he is also particularly proud of CREDC’s work in the startup scene in innovation in the Clark County area. He said they have really developed a coherent strategy around building startup space, the tools startups need, the funding that they need and more.
In his new role as the economic development director at the Port, Bomar said some of his responsibilities will be similar to those he had during his time with CREDC. He said he will be working with the Port’s sales team when it comes to projects and will also be doing a lot of organization representation, and also some work within the policy and public relations areas.
According to a statement from the Port, “Bomar’s responsibilities will include sustaining strategic partnerships with public, private and nonprofit organizations, and developing economic opportunities that create jobs and enhance regional prosperity through commercial and industrial development, transportation planning and land use planning.”
“The position, in a gist, is to set up the Port to be successful long term as a strong community partner and a strong economic development participant,” Bomar said.
“Mike brings a unique combination of skills and experience to the position of director of economic development, including deep expertise and intuitive knowledge of our community,” said Port CEO Julianna Marler. “We’re excited to have him join the Port team and look forward to working together to cultivate our future as a premiere public port and a great community partner.”
Prior to taking on the position of president of the CREDC, Bomar was the executive director of the Southwest Washington Contractors Association. He joined CREDC as the president in December of 2013.
“I love economic development, I love the angle at which I get to work with the community on new projects and strategically thinking through, not just how do we grow faster, but how do we grow in a way that represents the values and interests and the vision of the community,” Bomar said.
Bomar and his wife of more than 10 years, Audri, live in Ridgefield with their two daughters and son.
Max Ault appointed as CREDC interim president
At a regular meeting Thursday morning, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) Board appointed Max Ault as interim president beginning May 1.
Ault, currently the organization’s executive vice president, joined the team in 2014 as business development manager. He has had increasing responsibilities in the organization over the past four years, including overseeing business growth initiatives, ranging from start-up assistance to major employer expansion projects, as well as representing the organization to the public, in addition to strategic partner and stakeholder groups when the president is not available.
“Max Ault has become synonymous with economic development in Clark County,” said Casey Wyckoff, CREDC Board chair. “His hard work and dedication to this community has earned him a strong reputation among our many private, public and nonprofit partners. We look forward to his leadership in continuing the strong momentum toward accomplishing the goals of our Economic Development Plan.”
“I’m honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve such a strong and engaged group of community leaders”, Ault said. “Our team depends on many others to make these plans work, and it’s great to feel the strong support for our mission.”
Ault will function as the chief executive officer (responsible for developing the Council’s strategic direction and work plan as adopted by the Board of Directors) and chief operating officer (responsible for implementing the Council’s work plan). The president reports to the Board of Directors and is supervised by the chairman of the Board and Executive Committee. Ault will serve as interim president for up to 12 months while the Board determines the options for a permanent replacement.
A lifelong resident of Clark County, Ault holds a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from Washington State University Vancouver and resides in Vancouver. He is a recipient of the General George C. Marshall Public Leadership Award, current participant in Leadership Clark County and holds a number of civic leadership positions with area nonprofits and educational institutions.