4 minutes with… Stephen Gerritson, Vice President EDC of Seattle & King County and Chairman, CleanTech Alliance – Washington

February 23, 2015 |

imgresTell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

The EDC’s role is to create jobs and advance the economy in King County. One sector we focus on is Clean Energy and Technology, which includes clean fuels. We provide technical and organizational assistance to companies in this sector at no charge.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

We recently completed a strategic plan that calls for: assistance to clean tech companies, efforts to strengthen the sector through identification and promotion of low-cost financing opportunities, assistance to start-ups, identification of “holes” in the supply chain and efforts to fill them, and an active program of recruiting.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?  

1. A strong national clean fuels standard.

2. Scientific credibility.

3. Secure and stable financing sources.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change? 

The national political climate.

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?  

Opportunity for doing good while doing well.

Where are you from? 

New England

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?

Political Science – University of Massachusetts. They gave me a full scholarship.

Who do you consider your mentors – could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?

I have always been drawn to people who are very good at what they do and who tend to “walk their own path,” and who are willing to do the right thing, regardless of the personal consequences. People as varied as Ted Williams, the great baseball player who refused to do product endorsements; Daniel Ellsberg, who revealed the Pentagon Papers at great personal risk; and more recently the New England factory owner who kept his plant open and his employees on the payroll in spite of the loss of business during the recession.

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?  

A well-thought-out plan and concerted effort can turn things around.

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry?  

Hiking, bird-watching, genealogy

What are 3 books you’d want to have with you, if you were stranded on a desert island

It would have to be books I haven’t read yet.

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?  

Scientific American – consistently good and timely articles.

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?  

A bed and breakfast on the Oregon coast.

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Category: Million Minds

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