Tulare County Hires New Economic Development Manager

Tulare County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau announced Tuesday that Michael Washam has been selected to serve as the new Tulare County Economic Development Manager.

“Michael has proven expertise in real estate matters, business finance, land use and planning regulations,” said Jake Raper, Director of the Tulare County Resource Management Agency (RMA). “He is an expert in large scale industrial development, such as food processing, solar and alternative energy generation, and wholesale distribution facilities.”

Washam will serve as a key member of the RMA’s Office of Economic Development – comprised of a highly-experienced team charged with effectively marketing and positioning Tulare County for business creation, expansion and attraction.

Rousseau said the Board of Supervisors has had a longstanding vision for the county to develop a strong internal economic development program that pulls together expertise with agri-business, workforce development partners, site selection, zoning assistance and other factors considered essential to an effective campaign to foster increased economic development in Tulare County.

“Mike’s career with the Resource Management Agency has been extremely productive,” Rousseau said. “I look forward to working with him on improving economic development in the County of Tulare.”

Washam has been employed as a planner with RMA since 2008. His responsibilities within RMA have included environmental and project review, countywide planning, and serving as staff liaison to the Tulare County Agricultural Advisory Committee. Before joining Tulare County, he owned and operated for many years Premier Impressions in Monrovia – a commercial printing firm.

Washam was chosen after an extensive search from a final candidate pool of 44 applicants, some of which were from the Mid-West and East Coast, which had to meet specific criteria and qualifications. Officials were looking for a professional experienced in economic development and business attraction with familiarity with local, state and federal environmental regulations and land use planning principles. Of ten finalists who were interviewed, Washam’s credentials and experience made him uniquely qualified for the position.

Washam majored in Finance, Real Estate and Law at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and was chosen valedictorian for the College of Business Administration. He also holds a certificate in Urban and Regional Planning from California State University, Fresno.

“I think there is tremendous opportunity to grow our local economy by facilitating ag-related industrial growth in our rural communities that border major state highways – Highway 65, Highway 63 and Highway 99 – in a manner that is consistent with our county’s longstanding commitment to preserving agriculture,” Washam said.

Washam lives in Visalia with his wife of 14 years, Johanna and their three sons, Matthew, John and Lucas.

Board Chairman Allen Ishida made economic development a focal point when he delivered his 2012 State of the County speech.

“We will continue to actively market the many benefits Tulare County has to offer businesses that are ready to expand or relocate,” Chairman Ishida said. “Mike will be a key component for those efforts.”

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