February 2, 2024

Mike Hogan

Regional Economic Partnership Welcomes New Director of Economic Development

Tyler Schroeder has been hired as the new Director of Economic Development for the Regional Economic Partnership at the Port of Bellingham. Schroeder is currently the Deputy Executive for Whatcom County and will remain in this position until May of 2024 to ensure a smooth and stable leadership transition.

“I hate to lose such a valuable member of our team, but this is a huge win for our community,” said Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu. ”Building a strong and resilient economy is a top priority and hiring Tyler as the Director of Economic Development shows we mean business.”

Schroeder, a graduate of Western Washington University, has two decades of experience at Whatcom County, and has been part of senior leadership at Whatcom County for close to 15 years where he worked extensively on economic development initiatives including infrastructure investment, recruiting job-creating industries and supporting small business growth. 

 “Tyler has in-depth knowledge of the resources necessary to advance a sustainable economy including land use, infrastructure, permitting, workforce development, housing, financing, educational programs and partnership opportunities,” said Sidhu. “He is a perfect fit for the Economic Development Director position and we are fortunate there is a strong team in place at the Regional Economic Partnership which allows Tyler to remain at Whatcom County for a few more months to transition his work on critical initiatives like the Justice Project to promote community safety, health and justice. Whatcom County’s population has grown substantially in recent years and Tyler has been instrumental in helping us meet the increased demand for county services.”

As Schroeder finishes up his work at Whatcom County, he is looking forward to focusing full time on economic development initiatives. “The Regional Economic Partnership has been a very successful model and I see tremendous opportunities to build on this strong foundation,” said Schroeder. “I’ve been fortunate in my role as Deputy Executive to work with the Regional Economic Partnership team on projects like transportation infrastructure, rural broadband, business recruitment and financing for strategic projects.” 

The Regional Economic Partnership is located at the Port of Bellingham as a one-stop-shop for recruiting business and industry, helping local companies grow, and generating quality job opportunities throughout the county. The organization is jointly funded by the Port of Bellingham, City of Bellingham and Whatcom County to increase the efficiency and coordination between agencies.

Recent successes include the recruitment of Corvus Energy to Fairhaven, a world leader in zero emission solutions for the maritime industry, and Vicinity Motors, which opened a $22 million electric bus manufacturing facility in Ferndale last year and expects to generate 300 jobs in Washington.

Schroeder’s future leadership of the Regional Economic Partnership fits well with the agenda set forth by City of Bellingham Mayor Kim Lund. “Tyler understands the importance of a holistic approach towards economic development,” said Lund.  “He recognizes immediate opportunities like place-making and events in downtown Bellingham, and has experience working on more challenging solutions like the need for diverse housing and reliable and equitable internet access for all. I look forward to working with Tyler to elevate and make tangible progress on the City’s economic priorities.” 

Schroeders’s responsibilities will focus on creating and sustaining family-wage jobs throughout Whatcom County and he sees an immediate opportunity supporting the existing economic sectors. “There are so many great things going on in Whatcom County right now,” said Schroeder. From a new marine trades’ apprenticeship program, to clean tech, to our vibrant small business community and buy local campaign. One example of an economic development opportunity is related to sustainable agriculture. The Port, Whatcom County, and Washington State University recently partnered with our ag community to secure state funding to develop an Agricultural Research Station. Farming contributes over 8,000 jobs to Whatcom County and this facility will connect local farms to research and science to increase food production, and protect our food supply from the changing climate.”

“Tyler really strengthens our leadership team at the Port,” said Port Commission President Ken Bell. “The Port’s mission is sustainable economic development and Tyler gives us a steady hand behind the wheel. He has all the qualities we look for, he is measured, steady, detailed, rational and diplomatic. His in-depth knowledge of Whatcom County means he is set to hit the ground running. Tyler Schroeder is exactly what we need to bring working wage jobs and prosperity to Whatcom County.”

For Whatcom County’s economy, the future is bright. 

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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