Port hosts jobs-creation event

The Port of Bremerton on Wednesday hosted its first annual “Jobs Initiative” meeting and luncheon to stimulate job growth within the Port’s three divisions — the marinas, airport, business and industrial park.

Bellevue business baron Kemper Freeman, Jr., chairman and CEO of Kemper Development Co., was one of two guest speakers on Kitsap County’s business and job potential.

A fourth-generation Washington businessman, Freeman is most recognized as the driving force behind the Bellevue Collection — three substantial commercial developments comprised of Bellevue Square, a 1.3-million-square-foot shopping mall with more than 200 stores, Bellevue Place, a 733-room Hyatt Regency, offices, boutiques, restaraunts and nightspots, and the latest, Lincoln Square, a 1.4-million-square-foot mixed-use structure.

“If you don’t remember anything else that I have said today, remember this,” he said. “The catalyst for growth is to have a great retail base. You need to focus specifically on generating that retail base. If you look at other cities, take San Francisco, for example, that have adopted this plan, you will see they are financially successful.”

The second keynote speaker was Brett Phillips, sustainability project manager at Unico Properties.

Phillips, who founded local leadership in sustainability for Unico, is involved with retrofits, green initiatives, Energy Star and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

He is also chair of BOMA’s Alternative Transportation Committee and chair of Online Communications at Larry Phillips Exploratory Committee for King County Executive.

“Unico owns and manages 10 million square feet of commercial, multifamily, medical office, and retail properties,” said Phillips “One example is Rainier Tower.”

While there is no exact definition of sustainability, Phillips defines it from a business sense as, “Whatever your business does, do it better, cleaner and more efficient. We, as a society, are more socially minded about the impacts of development to our environment and community. When we experience growth, we are now asking, ‘How does sustainability fit into that?’ We are bringing in a new age to the 21st century on how to approach development.”

In response to questions surrounding the motivation behind holding the luncheon, Port of Bremerton CEO Cary Bozeman said, “We would like to engage people in our effort to bring new jobs to Kitsap County by having a conversation around the issue of how we can effectively recruit new companies to the county. We want to know how we can work together to accomplish this goal. It is important because any effort to recruit new jobs that is successful will improve the economy of our County, which impacts home construction, retail sales, and property values.”

“The Jobs Initiative was an idea the CEO came up with and he and staff have put together,” said Port of Bremerton Commissioner Larry Stokes. “My hopes for it is that it helps to let the area know more about the Port and our mission.”

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