Snohomish County Councilmember Terry Ryan, whose 4th District represents the cities of Mountlake Terrace and Brier, has been appointed by County Executive Dave Somers as the county’s aerospace economic development director. Ryan, who has served on the county council since 2014, is resigning his council seat to take the county job.
According to a county announcement Friday, the aerospace economic development director job is a new position that “will allow Snohomish County to focus on retaining, attracting, and diversifying the aerospace sector.” Ryan will also be responsible for outreach on the Paine Field airport’s new Master Plan update, and engaging all tenants, community members and other interested parties on aerospace-related matters, the county said.
“With aerospace at Paine Field representing almost $60 billion in economic impact to Snohomish County, it is vital that we have someone who can focus 100% of their time and energy on this critical sector and will understand its needs,” Somers said. “We must be aggressive when it comes to our largest economic engine, and we must look for continuing opportunities to strengthen and diversify our aerospace ecosystem, including a focus on suppliers, services, and manufacturers.”
Ryan, a Democrat who has a background in real estate, joined the Snohomish County Council in 2014 after serving for 17 years as a Mill Creek City councilmember, including four terms as mayor.
“All my years of business experience building customer relationships and my tenure in elected leadership have prepared me for this. I am excited to take point on the aerospace sector,” Ryan said. “Paine Field and the businesses in our aerospace cluster are our economy’s crown jewels. I will be working hard to ensure we can globally compete for business. The start of commercial service last year only makes Paine Field that much more valuable as a place for aerospace businesses. We are going to support everyone, large or small, who makes Snohomish county such a great place to innovate and invest.”
“Paine Field is the heart of the global aerospace industry, and we need to do all we can to sustain and expand our capabilities,” said Arif Ghouse, Director of Snohomish County’s Paine Field Airport. “Terry will be a much-needed addition to our staff, give us opportunities to support all of the airports tenants, and help us strategically prepare for the next generation of aerospace investments.”
According to County Communications Director Kent Patton, the county council will be responsible for appointing a candidate to fill Ryan’s seat. “PCOs (precinct committee officers) will give the council three candidates to choose from in ranked order,” Patton said. “They then must have a majority (three of four votes) to pick one of the three.” If the council can’t get a majority to support one of the three, it will be up to the governor to fill the vacancy.
Assuming the appointee wants to keep the seat, he or she would need to run during the next general election and again when the regular term for the seat expires, Patton said.