Friday, September 17, 2010

Reporter's Notebook

John McDonagh can be reached at

To everything . . . there is a season

These words, taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes and put to music by Pete Seeger in 1959, remind us that change is necessary part of life – particularly in Southwest Washington of late.

In Vancouver, we have a new mayor for the first time in 16 years and will soon have a new city manager following a decade of service by Pat McDonnell. Vancouver will also have a new Fire Chief with the announced retirement of Don Bivens.

And that’s just the beginning.

The forthcoming election in the 3rd U.S. Congressional District will provide a new representative for Southwest Washington; Southwest Washington Medical Center’s discussions with Peace Health, if successful, will provide new leadership for a large component of the medical community in Clark County; the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors just this week announced new leadership with the appointment of Kelly (Love) Parker as president and CEO to replace Kim Capeloto, who left the Chamber to lead the operations and marketing efforts at Riverview Community Bank.

Change has also been a factor in our region’s media sector, with the new ownership at The Reflector in Battle Ground. In June, Lafromboise Communication, Inc., owners of the Centralia Chronicle purchased the paper from longtime owner and publisher Marvin Case, bringing in a new publisher, Steve Walker, and appointing Ken Vance as editor.

We at the Vancouver Business Journal also have a transition of leadership underway in our newsroom. Our editor of the last 13 months, Paul Leonard, this week announced in this space his acceptance of a position back in his home state of New York. We’re disappointed the amenities of the great Pacific Northwest and the Clark County lifestyle weren’t enough to keep Paul, but the position he has accepted is one in which he’ll be part of creating a new online destination. Having had the opportunity to embark on a new venture in helping launch the Portland Tribune, I was not one to argue much against his decision. We wish Paul all the best, with the knowledge that for his part of the launch, it will be done with the same energy, focus and edge he’s provided our readers in the past year.

Transition is a polite way to say that what our region, our companies and organizations, our news outlets are dealing with is change. And where we are seeing the most transition is in our leadership positions – the men and women we look to for direction and inspiration. These leaders are, or should be, individuals from whom the community gains confidence that we heading in the right direction, that we own the tools and resources to think and work our way out of this difficult economy and get back to business of thriving.

For all of us, it is important to find not just the best person available, but to find the best person for the job. We congratulate Kim Capeloto and Kelly Parker and are confident those respective organizations chose the best person for the position. The rest of us need to follow suit. We cannot cut short the due diligence required to find the best candidate while keeping in mind the consequence of making the right selection as well as settling for the best available.