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January 2015
In This Issue
Client Profile
Board News
Partner Spotlight
SBA 504 Rate Update
AEDC Program News
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From the Executive Director




Strategic Planning is smart for any organization and AEDC is no exception. We use the process to assess how we've done, and more clearly define what we want to do, who we want to be and what we need to do to get there.


During our recent strategic planning process, it became abundantly clear that

AEDC is not simply a lending institution. We are a community organization. Our experienced and creative team reaches into the community to listen and observe, to plan innovative solutions, to build partnerships and create sustainable programs that ultimately grow prosperous businesses, families and neighborhoods.

In this month's issue you will read more about some of the ways AEDC is able to help build community by collaborating with organizations like Greenway Partners and supporting the improvement and growth of community assets like the Sequoia Park Zoo. You'll also see the goals we'll be working on to help us keep moving forward as a lender and community partner, supporting our community as a thriving, beautiful, rare and special place to live.





Client Profile  


Sequoia Park Zoo-

 Watershed Heroes Project    


Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation Executive Director Deborah Claesgens says that AEDC funding has

Photo: Greg Nyquist

completely transformed Eureka's Sequoia Park Zoo. "Funding allowed us to complete the Watershed Heroes exhibit and open it to the public, as well as complete the first phase of our Master Plan, which is focused on developing our facility as a Gateway to the Redwoods," she said.


In April 2011, the Foundation was awarded a $2.3 million Nature Education Facility grant from the State of  California Department of Parks and Recreation that provided funds to construct a new River Otter, Bald
Eagle, and Salmon Exhibit - known as the Watershed Heroes Project. The overall project also includes a computer learning lab classroom and off-exhibit space otter breeding program. The 
Watershed Project opened its doors to the community on August 17, 2014 with their Grand Opening ceremony.


There were no additional funds set aside to complete the remaining portion of the project, which includes the Eagle Aviary and the computer learning lab. To avoid the often lengthy process of additional fundraising, which can sometimes take years, the Foundation requested AEDC financing to complete the project. Project management has been handled by Greenway Partners.


"The focus of the Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation and zoo facilities is on conservation and education," Claesgens added. "We provide a destination for people from in and out of the region to come and understand natural

resources and economic impact of those resources in our area.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a premier

destination to explain the ecosystem of Monterey Bay and with continued improvements like the Watershed Heroes Project, the Sequoia Park Zoo is becoming a similar asset for our area," Claesgens said. 


Learn more at  




Board News   


Strategic Planning for
Continued Success at AEDC


AEDC recently updated their Strategic Plan-involving Financial Partners, Community Leaders, Clients, and AEDC Board Members and Staff in the process of determining AEDC's priorities for the next 3 to 5 years.

"This was a great process," noted AEDC board member Walt Geist. "Facilitator Julie Fulkerson made an effective team out of a group of people from diverse backgrounds. We then talked about what AEDC means to the community and were able to identify common interests and a collective vision."

"With the dedicated effort of the AEDC Board of Directors, staff and supportive clients and partners, we now have an updated strategic plan that will help AEDC continue supporting economic and community development." added AEDC Director Ross Welch.




The following Strategic Goals were identified by the Board.

  • Address the challenges with the name AEDC, and discuss changing and marketing it 
  • Provide training for business owners and managers
  • Discuss a more central location for AEDC
  • Increase staff support and succession planning for loan program
  • Increase loan funds
  • Maintain organizational stability
  • Continue to innovate


Partner Spotlight  

AEDC Welcomes Eureka's New

Community Development Director  


AEDC is pleased to welcome Robert Holmlund as the new Community Development Director for the City of

Eureka. Holmlund will oversee community planning,

economic development, property

management, and housing.


"Economic development is key to so much that happens in our communities and having a committed professional oversee those departments brings a unified approach to both economic development and business permitting that is a win for the city, a win for local businesses and a win for the community in general," stated Ross Welch, Executive Director of AEDC.


Holmlund has been in Humboldt County since 2001, holds a masters degree in Environment and Community Planning as well as a masters in Education and comes to the position from  GHD Inc (a planning and engineering firm in Eureka), where he worked for the last nine years. While at GHD, he served as the Project Manager and Senior Planner for Eureka's Waterfront Drive Trail Project.


"I wasn't looking for a career change, but I've worked with the city on numerous projects and was encouraged to apply," Holmlund said. "After talking with the City Manager and others I realized the job offered an opportunity to make a difference. I have a lot to learn regarding the technical skills of Community Development in a small city, but my big picture perspective and ability to lead a team will allow us to get all of our departments moving in the same direction focused on the best interests of the City."


Holmlund w/ wife Lauren & sons Max and Alex

And those interests, he said, should include removing

barriers to developing the city's economy. Holmlund plans to identify and address both the real and perceived challenges to doing business in Eureka by restructuring departments and training staff to help support private sector opportunities and jobs.  He plans to evaluate existing regulations, eliminate those that aren't necessary and help businesses navigate the rules that are in order to make their visions a reality.

"I want to make sure that the city government is never an obstacle to high-quality development. My goal is for everyone to universally agree that Eureka is a great place to develop, a great place to live, and a great place to visit," he said. "The city has phenomenal opportunities. We have Old Town, Henderson Center, historic neighborhoods, a beautiful waterfront, a remarkably talented citizenry, and so many other priceless community assets. The future is very bright for Eureka." 


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SBA Commercial Property 504 rates


SBA Logo


SBA 504 Current
  • Low down payment for borrowers
  • Competitive fixed interest rate
  • Long Term loan
  • From $50,000 to $5 million for commercial real estate, construction and equipment acquisition.
Many commercial loans available on the market require a sizeable percentage down before the loan will be granted, and this can be an obstacle for many business owners looking to improve their facilities. The SBA 504 Loan offers a solution for that -- you can borrow up to 90% of your financing needs at a fixed rate, so only a minimum of 10% down is required.
The remainder is split between the SBA loan (40%) and a bank loan (50%), and the Arcata Economic Development Corporation will work with your bank to submit your loan application. Loan amounts range from $50,000 to $5 million, and some restrictions apply.  


Kelli Sterling

Loan Manager

(707) 822-4616  Ext 14

AEDC Program



(Formerly called "Trailing Spouses: New to Humboldt) was founded after the County's Prosperity 2012 effort found that many local businesses have a hard time finding and retaining talented employees- in part, because newcomers can have a hard time acclimating to the area. "Feeling connected to the community increases the likelihood that professionals coming from outside of the area and their partners will want to stay in the area," said AEDC Program Director Susan Seaman. "If we can help foster those connections, it helps us keep talent here where we need it." 


The pilot program was attended by about 23 participants. "One of the things we learned was that sometimes it takes a year or two before folks to realize how much they want to reach out and connect. And often, they just don't know how. We want to help with that."  


While details are still being determined, the program will feature activities designed to introduce participants to the community, interesting activities and to each other. 

"We want folks to have fun and learn something interesting about the area, so we will likely tour businesses and community areas, offer networking and other opportunities to help them connect and enjoy their experience. We're also opening it up to allow anyone who has been in Humboldt less than five years to participate."



Another series of activities is being planned for early spring 2015. For more information, contact Susan Seaman at (707)822-4616 or 



color map 

We are proud of the variety of businesses we've served over the years at AEDC. We would love to include you in our family of success stories. 


Visit to get more information about AEDC loans, events and programs. 


Ross Welch
Executive Director
(707) 822-4616 ext. 11