We’d like to introduce our newest board member, Larry Oetker. Currently the Executive Director at the Harbor District, Larry has worked with AEDC for over a decade—mostly through his former role as Community Development Director for the City of Arcata. We’re looking forward to having Larry’s expertise and experience on our board. Here’s a little more about him!
How long have you lived in Humboldt County?
I moved to Humboldt County in 1989 to go to HSU and have lived here ever since. I have lived in Arcata, Eureka, Willow Creek, and currently live in Manila.
Tell us about your past experience working with AEDC, in your role as Community Development Director for the City of Arcata.
The first time I heard about AEDC was when I was working for the Hoopa Valley Tribe in the early 1990s. The Tribe was looking into business assistance programs and everyone said to talk to AEDC as they have the most effective programs in Humboldt County. In 1997, I began working for the City of Arcata and AEDC was managing the City’s Business and Housing Loan Portfolio. When AEDC was reevaluating its priorities, the City of Arcata acquired the Foodworks Incubator Facility from AEDC. I also worked directly with AEDC when they completed the underwriting of our business loans and they continued to service approximately 100 of the City’s business and housing loans. If I ever had any questions about loan servicing, underwriting, or portfolio risk management, AEDC was always my first call.
How does your role as Executive Director at the Harbor District intersect with the initiatives of AEDC?
As Executive Director of the Harbor District, I continue to interact with AEDC through the Prosperity Network. The Harbor District owns and manages commercial and industrial property in Shelter Cove, Fields Landing, Woodley Island, and the Samoa Peninsula where we own over a mile of shoreline property and the former pulp mill. The Harbor District has over 300 leases with over 100 jobs created at the former pulp mill in the last 4 years. We are actively incubating businesses in the aquaculture industry and are working to establish a new wind energy cluster with Humboldt Bay as the West Coast Hub for off-shore wind fabrication and assembly which will be shipped throughout the west coast.
What led you to consider joining the AEDC board?
Throughout my career, AEDC always provided technical, financial, and mentoring assistance for me. I have benefited greatly and have tried to share what I have learned with anyone who asks. With over 30 years of experience in economic and community development, I believe that AEDC is the perfect organization to share my knowledge with and to collaborate with other Board members to strengthen the region's economy.
What are your goals in serving on the board?
My top goal is to make sure that AEDC remains fiscally sustainable and that the staff has the resources to expand services throughout the Northern California region.
What are your hobbies?
I like to travel, ride a motorcycle, hike, fish, and kayak. This last year has kept me away from many of my hobbies and I look forward to getting back into my passions.
What activities have you been doing in the midst of the pandemic?
As my daughter recently went off to college, I have focused on cleaning out the years of junk that has accumulated around my house. It feels good to simplify and to focus on the couple of material items that have true meaning and not just more.