Q&A with Tim Priest, Greenlight Greater Portland

| Print |  Email
Thursday, November 01, 2007

TimPriest.jpgNew regional marketing chief not afraid of edgy

Tim Priest, 37, arrived in Portland last month from Washington, D.C., where he led the Greater Washington Initiative, a regional cooperative marketing initiative similar to the Four County Economic Development Corp., now called Greenlight Greater Portland. Priest’s job as Greenlight’s first CEO will be to establish it in a region that hasn’t done much in the way of marketing or cooperating.  

What about your background in economic development makes you particularly suited to this job? I spent the last nine years at an organization that marketed the District of Columbia, parts of Maryland and parts of Virginia. It was a multi-state effort divided by a river. I was marketing a region with different governments and tax structures. It required the  same skills that are needed here. 

What are the advantages and special challenges of coming to work for a new organization? One of the advantages is that I won’t have to make the same mistakes we made in Washington. We can avoid a lot of the pitfalls from the start. But one of the challenges is that this area is not used to a regional organization. We’re going to have to carve out a niche and prove that we’re willing to collaborate.

What are some of the pitfalls you plan to avoid this time around? One thing I learned about board management: I inherited a quiet board; they didn’t really challenge the organization. I spent a lot of energy trying to reverse that culture and get the board engaged. I hope to build that culture here from day one rather than having to rebuild it.

How will the budget you have to work with at Greenlight compare with your budget in Washington? I don’t think it will be dramatically different. I had a $2 million budget. Portland is a slightly smaller place and we have yet to raise the money, but I think we can successfully raise $1.5 to $2 million. Funding for any nonprofit is a challenge.

How closely will sustainability be linked to Greenlight Greater Portland’s marketing strategy? It will be integral to what we do. We’re going to be talking a lot about sustainability. It’s a huge piece of the Portland-Vancouver brand. It’s implied by the name Greenlight: sustainability and a positive view of growth.

You caught some flak for a marketing campaign critics called “elitist” that depicted a Washington commuter reading Plato and a less-educated commuter reading a romance novel. Is that a mistake you learned from? I would not count that among my mistakes. That ad captured the essence of the greater Washingtonian, and it was aimed at other really well-educated people. People said it was elitist, but it was also edgy and newsworthy. Everything that a nonprofit needs to do in advertising was done with that ad.

Have you figured out the essence of the greater Portlander? No, that’s going to take more time.  

CHRISTINA WILLIAMS


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Epitaph for a Boondoggle

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The CRC is a cautionary tale about how we plan for, finance and invest in transportation infrastructure.


Read more...

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...

The Road to Reinvention

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.


Read more...

It's a Man's Man's Man's World

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Male tech workers speak out on the industry's gender troubles.


Read more...

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

Shades of Gray

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Are we too quick to diagnose corruption?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS