Clark Krause has only been on the job a few weeks, but he needs to get to know the area very well, very fast. It's his job to sell the Boise Valley to some of the biggest companies in the nation. Krause is the new executive director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership. BVEP sells the rest of the nation on Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Eagle, Star, Garden City and Emmett.
There's very little clutter and few accoutrements in Krause's Fifth Street office, but he does have a couple of yo-yos on his credenza. Krause says that some of his former workers wanted to give him something to do with his hands because he constantly paces. BW got him to sit still for a few minutes.
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up inside Yosemite National Park. There are a few residences there. Nobody would ever listen to my complaints about my childhood. I went to college at Fresno State. Please don't hold that against me. I've actually made money wagering in favor of Boise State over the last few years. I've been a big fan from afar.
What's your professional background?
I spent 10 years in sales and marketing in the automotive industry, working for Ford and American Honda in Arizona and California. I then took a big leap to become director of sales and marketing for a ski area in Cedar City, Utah. I then took a job as economic development director for that region. I was next recruited to become the CEO and president of the New Mexico Partnership.
How is the New Mexico Partnership similar to BVEP?
The mission is very similar in that it is to attract jobs and industry to the area. However, the area was not a region but rather the whole state. I was to create 2,200 jobs a year.
Your contract actually contained those numbers?
They were accountable, measurable goals. It included how many leads we would produce, how many site visits were made, how many projects we brought in, and how many jobs we would create.
Would you recommend that for BVEP?
Definitely. When I first got here, I said we needed to create accountable, measurable goals for the organization. It gives you laser direction versus a day when you end up doing a whole lot of warm-and-fuzzy stuff. I find that it's much better to have very specific goals, not only for yourself, but also for people that are a part of your mission, whether they be investors or a business that you're working with.
Is that something you expect to make formal at BVEP in the near future?
Yes, absolutely. We're setting those goals currently.
How are you funded?
For our first five years, which are now coming to an end, BVEP has been a separately funded division of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. That was $5 million for five years. Now, we're entering a second phase. And the fund-raising component of that mission will begin soon. We'll be going out asking for support: investments, pledges and memberships. The campaign hopes to bring in about $4.5 million for the next five years.
What's a sales mission like for you?
We'll meet with 15 to 20 companies within a week. We'll have pre-set appointments to go to a corporate headquarters to meet with a "c" level executive. It's bam, bam, bam, all day long, all week long. We'll do that six times a year.
What's a "c" level executive?
A chief executive officer or chief operating officer. Some companies even have a chief asset manager or a whole corporate group that manages site selections and real estate.
In addition to helping to sell the valley, you may have some influence in how the region might change to attract more businesses.
This area is unmatched for livability. I get a better and better feeling every day I'm here, and I've only been here a few weeks.
Having said that, my job is to cobble deals together and get them to the finish line. That takes effort on everyone's behalf. There are over 6,000 organizations across the country doing what we do. We have great communities and a wonderful lifestyle. But a lot of other communities have substantive war chests. Sometimes putting a deal together means free land, abatements, non-interest loans, sometimes even cash up front. It will be a big challenge here, pushing the envelope and getting people outside of their comfort zones and really understanding what it's going to take to get to the finish line.