George Henny, President
George Henny is Co-CEO of Whidbey Telecom and is a 30-year veteran in the telecom and technology fields. He is passionate about change and motivating people to discover how to empower, enhance and inspire people and companies to thrive in their communities. George is highly entrepreneurial and enjoys sharing insights on technology innovation with leaders, changing company culture, and being proudly different. In his role, he provides vision and strategy for business and technology. He holds a BA in Drama and an MBA from the University of Washington, and has served on numerous community boards. He is a featured performer in local theatrical and film productions. George is proud to be a Rotarian since 1993 and has served as president of the South Whidbey and Whidbey Westside Rotary Clubs.
Dave Paul, Vice President
Dave Paul has served in higher education for over 20 years, both as an instructor and administrator. For the past 11 years, Dave has worked at Skagit Valley College, where he has served as Dean of Students, Vice President of Student Services, and Vice President of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness. Dave also has significant experience with PreK-12 schools. Dave served on his local School Board in Ohio. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Oak Harbor Educational Foundation since 2009, where he is currently President. He was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives in November 2018 and serves on the Transportation Committee, the College and Workforce Development Committee, and the Education Committee. Dave and his wife Rachel Anderson-Paul live in Oak Harbor with their four children and two dogs.
Todd Morrow, Treasurer
Todd Morrow brings a wealth of experience to his role as Executive Director of Island Transit and has consistently focused on ensuring public transportation is at the table during discussions regarding our region’s economic health. He has shown a commitment to the well being of local communities and looks forward to immersing himself into ours. For the past 18 years, Todd held senior-level management roles at both Community and Intercity Transits. He is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Washington School of Law.
Jeff Pleet, Secretary
Jeff Pleet has enjoyed an over 30-year career in financial services, currently employed by Edward Jones. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce and previously as President of the Skagit Valley College Foundation, the Board of the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, and as Past President of the Board of the Northwest Washington Estate Planning Council. As Jeff sees it, the role of the EDC, is to promote the amazing community and geographic setting of Island County while striving to secure new opportunities for rational growth. He believes we can look for creative, collaborative solutions for our challenges while looking forward to enhancing our common economic goals.
Lynda Eccles, At-Large, Executive Committee
Lynda Eccles is the Executive Director of the Coupeville and Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Information Center. Her favorite challenge was to create a Chamber and Visitor Center that supports local business, create new and innovative events and increase tourism, her sensible level-headed approach succeeded in every aspect. Through her background in the nonprofit sector she has developed an excellent team of volunteers who provide Visitor Information on a daily basis. She enjoys spending time with her family and two golden retrievers, enjoying and supporting her community, the arts, gardening and walking.
Jim Deanne, along with his wife Lori, owns and operates Tyee Farms LLC on Camano Island’s south-end. Jim’s career has included working as a law enforcement officer/investigator in the public sector and a variety of banking roles in the private sector. He has started, operated and sold several businesses and is keenly aware of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and small business. Jim will be an advocate and resource for all Island County businesses with a focus on Camano Island.
Ed Halloran retired to Whidbey Island in 2004 and currently resides in Langley. He is the President/Owner of HALCO Management Systems, a successful industry consulting firm, and has been a longtime member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). He also dedicates time to South Whidbey area nonprofit organizations and activities, including support to SW schools and the Rotary Club of Whidbey—Westside. Appointed to the Port District of South Whidbey Island as the District 2 Commissioner in 2014, Ed was elected to the position for a six-year term in 2015. He was recently re-elected for another POSW Commissioners’ term in November 2021.
Ozell Jackson grew up in Oak Harbor. Upon graduating from Oak Harbor High School, he moved to the Seattle area to study at the University of Washington. Later he began a career in mortgage banking. As a community development manager, he partnered with several different organizations. Through these partnerships, he helped implement programs supporting home ownership for tribal members and new immigrants. He also focused on programs that help people afford to live and work in the same city.
Ozell understands the benefits of growing up on the Island. In 2013, he returned to Oak Harbor so his two children could have the same experience. Now, he’s focused on giving back to the community that has given him so much.
Currently, Ozell works as a mortgage originator for Homebridge Financial, Inc. He also serves as an Opportunity Council board member and is a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.
Patrick Kennedy brings to the EDC more than thirty years professional experience helping organizational leaders succeed. From the largest corporations to emerging entrepreneurial businesses and nonprofits, he helps leaders realize their vision. His career has spanned leadership roles at the large international banks Sumitomo Mitsui and BBVA, as well as the leading regional banks KeyCorp, HomeStreet Bank, and Washington Trust. Patrick’s education includes an executive MBA and he is at this time completing a dissertation for his Organizational Leadership PhD. Patrick and his wife have a home in the Greenbank community where he advocates for regional economic empowerment and the incredible natural habitat enjoyed by our Island County communities.
Rob Mellish has lived on Whidbey Island for 25 years and has served on the board of the Island Economic Development Council previously. Rob has been in banking for 35 years with experience in Finance, Marketing, Commercial Lending and Branch Banking, now overseeing the three south end branches for Whidbey Island Bank. Married to Kelli, an instructor with Skagit Valley College, he has four children (one at home – age 12) with all attending the South Whidbey schools. Residing in Freeland, Rob is currently the Treasurer for the South Whidbey Schools Performing Arts Boosters and has been actively involved in scouting for the past 18 years, recently taking the reigns as Scoutmaster for Troop 57 in January this year.
Blaine Oborn, City Administrator for the City of Oak Harbor since 2018 brings over 30 years of experience in local, state, and federal governments. For the past 18 years he has served in local government leadership supporting economic development in three states. He has a Master of Public Policy and Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Accountancy). His favorite challenge is to help local government support tourism, industry, and commerce.
Brian Tyhuis, Ex-Officio
Brian Tyhuis is the Community Planning and Liaison Officer for Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island. He represents the installation regarding encroachment management and land use. He is a Whidbey Island native who grew up in Oak Harbor. Brian began working at NAS Whidbey Island in 2009 as a facility planner with the Public Works Department. Previously, Brian worked for URS, in Albuquerque, New Mexico before returning to Whidbey Island.
Carryn Vande Griend
Carryn Vande Griend is a Local Government Affairs Representative for Puget Sound Energy, serving both Whidbey Island and Whatcom County. She works alongside local governments to develop clean energy projects, energy efficiency programs and policies to best serve PSE customers on Whidbey Island. Previously, Carryn worked as Campaign Communications Director for Congressman Rick Larsen and a communications consultant for WSDOT. Carryn grew up in Edmonds, WA and graduated from the University of Washington.