Dana Peck, Director of Economic Development for Klickitat County since 1997 tendered his resignation from the county effective Dec. 16.
Peck accepted the position of project manager with Horizon Wind Energy, a division of Goldman Sachs., to develop wind power projects in south-central Washington state.
Peck's acceptance of the Horizon Wind Energy position returns him to the wind power industry and his introduction to Klickitat County when he previously led a wind power project proposed to be sited south of Goldendale.
During his eight years with the county, Peck focused on identifying and implementing community-initiated projects through a county-wide planning process overseen by the County Commissioners and the county's Economic Development Authority Board.
Some key collaborative projects resulting from this effort include structuring the agreement between Klickitat County and the City of The Dalles creating joint ownership of the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport; working with the county's Public Works Department to obtain $3 million in state funding and $1 million in local matching funds for Alderdale Road improvements; overseeing initial engineering design and obtaining $5 million in outside grant funding for the Dallesport wastewater treatment system; and working on Klickitat County's Energy Overlay Zone to create the first ever renewable energy zone in the country.
Peck was particularly proud of administering the county's support of local initiatives through the annual community development process -- from ensuring fire districts received important equipment -- to building up local parks -- that provides the greatest sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
"Although every project the department undertook over the last eight years came from a community action plan or recommendation, including the energy overlay zone initiative, the county commissioners' willingness to link the EDA Board and the community councils through the community development projects was probably our best idea," Peck said.
Peck added, "We live in an area that has such great people and such great beauty, I'm honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with others to make Klickitat County a better place to live and work."
His work has touched many throughout the community.
Jason Spadaro, President of SDS Lumber Company in Bingen, said, "Dana Peck has been incredibly valuable in protecting and enhancing jobs for Klickitat County. I've appreciated how hard he has worked to protect our existing natural resource and tourism related industries and at the same time led Klickitat County's efforts to attract new and compatible industries like renewable energy and wine production. He's been a steady hand in protecting jobs in our region from regulatory threats and creating a local environment that is inviting for job opportunities. I wish him well but his innovation and cooperation to create and retain jobs in our region will be greatly missed."
Mercer Canyon's Russ Rassmussen from the Alderdale area said: "Eastern Klickitat County, and Alderdale in particular, is a much better place to live due to the leadership of Dana Peck. We appreciate all he has done, will miss his presence in County Government, and wish him the best."
Wayne Vineyard, of Hancock Forest Management, Inc. in Glenwood, said, "He will be sorely missed. If I know Dana he will continue to give back to our community in new and valuable ways."
Lyle Secondary School employee and Lyle Community Council member Darla Brashers said, "He was always right there for us helping us get what we needed. I'm so sad to hear that he's moving on!"
County Commissioner Don Struck, added, "Dana has been instrumental in making important projects happen in the County, we wish him all the best."
Wayne Wooster will act as interim Economic Development Director for Klickitat County.