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Greater Spokane Incorporated hires new vice president of economic development

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 12, 2020

Gary Ballew  (Tri-City Herald)
Gary Ballew (Tri-City Herald)

Greater Spokane Incorporated has hired a Port of Pasco executive as vice president of economic development, the organization announced Tuesday.

Gary Ballew, who has been the director of economic development and marketing for the Port of Pasco since 2013, will assume his role with GSI Sept. 8, according to a news release.

Ballew said in an interview Tuesday he’s looking forward to connecting with community organizations and municipalities to get a sense of projects they may be developing in an effort to collectively grow the region’s economy.

Ballew, who has more than 25 years of economic development experience, said he was drawn to Spokane, in part, because of its many up-and-coming projects, such as McKinstry Co. and Avista Development’s Catalyst building in the University District as well as development on the West Plains.

Ballew also has spent a considerable amount of time in Spokane, as an Eastern Washington native and Washington State University graduate.

“Spokane has always been a part of my tapestry, and when you combine that with the chance to work with GSI and Alisha , it was just a great opportunity,” Ballew said, referring to GSI CEO and President Alisha Benson.

As director of economic development and marketing for the Port of Pasco, Ballew oversaw real estate development of the port’s mixed-use and industrial properties; implemented Somos Pasco, a long-range action plan for Pasco and its economy; promoted economic development legislation; and marketed the Tri-Cities Airport.

Ballew also has served as executive director of Washington State University’s Wine Science Center, economic development director for the city of Richland and deputy administrator for Benton County. He is the incoming board chair for the Washington Economic Development Association, of which GSI is a member, according to a news release. 

“Gary brings with him a wealth of valuable experience,” GSI’s  Benson said in a statement. “Our region will be well-served with an experienced thought-leader in economic development, and we have found that in Gary. Between his experience at the Port of Pasco and Benton County, Gary is the right person to lead our economic development efforts and expand our partnerships across the region.”

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