When I sat down with Kirk Flanders, Semiahmoo Marina’s recently elected board president, there was no doubting that the Condo Association had made the right choice. Elected last December, Kirk has taken the helm of the Marina’s future with confidence and considerable experience at making things happen.
I’m not sure that he was thinking about Semiahmoo years ago when he sailed his 30’ Coronado solo from Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham to Hilo, Hawaii. After grabbing a friend for the double-handed return to the mainland from Hilo to Juneau, Kirk embarked on several careers that would culminate in his current contribution to Semiahmoo Marina’s vision forward.
His work at his parent’s boat shop on the Platte River in Nebraska, along with the patience he developed in the Navy, provided the impetus he needed to start an administrative career that would change the lives of many.
In Washington County, Oregon, his Master’s thesis in Public Administration from Lewis and Clark College, became the foundation for the county’s first permanent tax base, which had previously been operating on two-year levies since 1918.
Moving to Whatcom County, he found meaningful work as the Assistant to the President of the Whatcom Community College, and was an integral part in the college’s expansion and consolidation which resulted in the sprawling campus it is today.
In the late eighties, Kirk was named CEO of Ocean Kayak, a water sport enterprise based in neighboring Ferndale. In his four years with the company, the employee count went from nine to thirty, and revenues soared from a few hundred thousand dollars to millions.
Ready for a break from corporate life, Kirk took on the role of executive Director of the Juneau Economic Development Council, providing oversite to the administration of millions of dollars in federal grants and loan funds for local businesses.
The list of achievements goes on: Strategic Planner for Micronesian Occupational College in the Republic of Palau, and the Economic Development Planner with the University of Alaska’s Situk River Management Project.
In addition to living at Semiahmoo, and managing the Marina Board, Kirk is dedicated to marine conservation, and as President of the Cape Kumukahi Foundation, he has helped raise more than $250,000 for its work towards preserving coral reefs.
The maritime folks at Semiahmoo Marina can certainly count themselves very fortunate knowing there’s one seriously experienced Salt at the helm. – Gary Bryant