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An Interview with Scott Adair, Humboldt County Economic Development Director

Mon, 2019-01-07 12:31 -- Susan

The county of Humboldt Economic Development Department recently welcomed Scott Adair, CSM as its new director.

Adair is a veteran commercial real estate and economic development professional with 17+ years of experience in the real estate industry. He recently graduated from Oklahoma University's prestigious EDI (Economic Development Institute) program.

What prompted you to make the jump from sales to economic development- and what about your prior experience will help you in the new position?

My prior experience included an emphasis on the sale, development, and management of commercial real estate projects throughout the country. However, during this time, I also served on a number of governmental boards and committees in my own community. I found that serving the public was more rewarding than private sector work and, during this time, I developed a keen interest in working with residents to build communities. My career travel (across the nation) gave me great exposure and insight to the economic development efforts employed by other communities. I plan to apply some of those best practices here in Humboldt.  

Why relocate in Humboldt County- what was the allure/potential?

I’m a California native by birth. Much of my family still resides in the state. My Father, for example, owns a ranch in Trinity County. And though I am new to Humboldt, coming here was akin to returning home. Moreover, I grew tired of the slog and toil that comes with living and working in a major metropolitan area. Humboldt gave me an opportunity to escape the smog, the traffic, and the two-hour long daily commute.

What are your short and long term goals for economic development in the county?

I’m what some folks call a “busy body”. I’m project driven and not satisfied if I am not actively working toward a specific vision and/or goal. That said, I am also in learning mode. Humboldt County is new to me, and I plan to take great care in learning as much as I can so that our efforts are aligned with the needs of the community. In the long term, my team’s greatest focus will be in the successful administration and implementation of the county’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. A great deal of wisdom, thought, and input from stakeholders went into the development of that plan.

What do you see as our greatest strength?

Our greatest resource is our human resource. The answers and innovations to our economic development woes and ambitions already exist in the minds and hearts of Humboldt County residents. The key will be to successfully tap into that resource.

Greatest challenge?

Some might say it’s our geographical isolation from other communities and markets. However, I believe that the sheltered nature of our community is also one of our greatest strengths. We are remote, yes, but we are also connected. Maintaining that connection through continued infrastructure improvements (i.e. internet accessibility, air travel, freight and logistics, etc.) will be an ongoing challenge that we must all work together on in order to move forward a continued prosperity for the county.    

How is the job going so far? Greatest challenge? Most pleasant surprise?

It’s been fantastic. I’ve been able to find housing in the area, and I feel that I am settling in nicely. I have also come to find that the people of Humboldt are extremely friendly and enthusiastic about the future of the county. Having traveled all over the country to meet with various community leaders and residents I can tell you that this attitude is a treasured resource, and rare.

The greatest difficulty is more personal in nature. My daughter is finishing her last year of high school and, therefore, she and my wife (and other children) will remain out of state until my daughter completes her high school career. Fortunately, we have FaceTime, Snapchat, and a host of other social media platforms to keep us connected. I have also been making regular visits to see them so that I may still play an active role as both a husband and a father. They are expected to permanently join me in Humboldt this summer.

Do you have community interests beyond economic development and if so, what are they? (could be hobbies, personal interests, etc.)

I’m a backyard blacksmith. Back home (well, Humboldt is my new home now) I have a full shop set up complete with a forge, an anvil, tools, etc. Now, to say whether or not I am a goodblacksmith is a different story! But I hope to continue that interest and further my studies once the full relocation of my family is complete.   

What is something about you that would surprise folks?

My wife and I used to own a coffee shop. It was our dream to quit our jobs and become full-time entrepreneurs. Life took us in a different direction, but the experience of business ownership taught me a great deal about the challenges and opportunities facing business owners today. It also gave me great respect for individuals engaged in the process of starting, owning and operating a business, the concept for which was once merely an ambition or a dream. I’m out of the coffee business now, but I’ll tell you this. I can still make a mean caramel macchiato!


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