Business

Business community wields big influence

Hi, I’m Tom Pierson, Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce.

You’re thinking, “So what. Who is this guy? Why does he have his own column?”

Many people have preconceived notions about CEOs. CEOs stare down tons of paperwork. They blather on about policy and procedures. They scrutinize budgets. They preside over board (bored?) rooms.

The title CEO conjures up many notions. Words like “important,” “busy” or “high profile” and, let’s be honest, “overpaid.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard “CEO? Wow, now THAT’s got to be a thrilling life.”

What a shame, because my job is a fantastic adventure. In the past four years at the Chamber, no two days have been alike. There is no “routine.”

Even if you don’t realize it, your Chamber of Commerce is an extremely powerful vehicle for change and growth in a city that’s rapidly expanding and redefining its role in Washington state.

I say each morning I wake up with the feeling that I can’t wait to get in the driver’s seat. Seriously, I do.

It’s a thrill knowing that along with my esteemed colleagues of outstanding community leaders, my everyday actions positively impact our community and beyond. As a team, we develop demand for business in Federal Way and beyond by creating a strong local economy that will attract new businesses and retain existing businesses. We represent business interest with government and of course promote our members’ businesses through premium networking events and referrals.

We drive our Chamber to change and grow. At 625-plus members strong, we continue to expand our depth and breadth of power and influence.

Our programs change, increasing in numbers and in quality year after year as we strive to improve overall value for our business partners and the community.

But what about Tom Pierson, the person? I was born in Olympia and moved to Federal Way at a young age, making me an area resident for 33 years. I am a proud product of the Federal Way School District, as well as an alumnus of Washington State University.

After college, I spent the next 10 years working in both the Washington State Senate and the King County Council, in both capacities for the Honorable Pete von Reichbauer.

Then the Chamber called. I’ve been named one of 40 business leaders under 40, and I’m an avid reader and amateur diver. Most importantly, I’m a proud father of three.

I’ve introduced myself, so let me present two exciting new initiatives I’m debuting.

The first is this partnership with the Federal Way Mirror. Mirror publisher Stuart Chernis and his team have honored me with this regular twice-monthly column.

Using this platform, I’ll be able to provide updates and overviews on issues affecting our community. Topics, some well known, others less high-profile but just as critical to our city — all with my own bird’s eye view, and from a business perspective.

That said, my view won’t always be your view (it would be boring if it were), and I look forward to including questions and answers in addition to essay-style formats.

I’ll trust you’ll be honest and candid in your input, and you can trust I’ll tackle even those questions others have been afraid to ask, let alone answer.

More than just sharing my enthusiasm and passion for Federal Way and our South Sound community, I hope this column will serve as a bridge to connecting our local residents with their business community.

Providing the community with the business perspective is critical, and hearing the residents’ views on local economic development and vitality issues is crucial to the health of our business community.

In tandem to this article, I’ll soon be starting my own blog with a more regional scope (Web site address to be announced).

I believe that while major strides have been made in terms of our own economic future in Federal Way, there is so much more to be done overall in the South Sound and Washington state.

I hope to engage you with me on some level — if not both. Please submit your questions and comments to tomp@federalwaychamber.com.

Here’s to many dynamic conversations to come.

Tom Pierson is CEO of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at (253) 838-2605 or tomp@federalwaychamber.com.

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