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Prince Rupert and Port Edward economic development officer stepping down

Prince Rupert economic development officer Derek Baker is leaving the city for the private sector. - Martina Perry photo
Prince Rupert economic development officer Derek Baker is leaving the city for the private sector.
— image credit: Martina Perry photo

Prince Rupert and Port Edward are searching for a new economic development officer.

Derek Baker, who currently holds the role at the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Corporation, will be stepping down after more than three years.

"Prince Rupert is a really great place to be an economic development officer. It's a town with a lot of economic opportunities in front of it. It was interesting to be a part of some of that growth," Baker said.

"It was a really tough decision to leave. But I decided to take on a position within the private sector," he said, adding his final day will be Oct. 31 and he will be starting at Pacific NorthWest LNG on Nov. 4.

Staying in the area was important, said Baker.

"I like [Prince Rupert and Port Edward] a lot, and the lifestyle the North Coast offers," he said.

Baker became economic development officer in June 2010, helping to promote business and tourism in Prince Rupert and Port Edward, and support business development and expansion.

While Baker has helped the city with a variety of tasks, he pinpoints two projects as highlights, the first being the 2011 trade mission to China.

Baker, a number of city councillors and representatives from the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce, the Prince Rupert Port Authority and Ridley Terminals Inc., spent 10 days overseas for the trade mission.

"[We met] with our sister city Cangzhou, and we also met various companies in Beijing and Shanghai that were interested in our port facilities," he said.

Baker said another highlight was helping to launch the Invest Northwest website with other northwest economic development officers. The website outlines major projects happening the region.

"It's been a very well-utilized website since we launched it a couple years ago," Baker said.

Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem said he appreciates the work Baker has done.

"He has provided excellent service and we wish him all the best in the future," he said.

The city is now looking for a replacement.

"We're getting a lot of enquiries. It helps if we can get someone as soon as possible," Mussallem said.

Baker said when a new economic development officer is hired, he will be more than willing to help them get comfortable in the role.

"Whoever the new person is, I'm going to have an open door with them. They can utilize me as much as they like," he said.

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