Idaho economic development leader is TRIDEC’s new president, CEO

The Tri-City Development Council named a chief executive officer to succeed its longtime leader Carl Adrian. 

Karl Dye, president and CEO of Valley Vision Economic Development Association in Lewiston, Idaho, will take the reins in early February.

TRIDEC announced its new director Jan. 24, two days after it feted Adrian for his 16 years of leadership at its annual meeting at the Pasco Red Lion.

TRIDEC officials said Dye’s economic development background coupled with his familiarity with the issues and organizations that shape the Tri-City economy make him a good fit for the Mid-Columbia.

Karl Dye

“Karl’s experience in bringing cities, counties and ports together will be invaluable to TRIDEC,” said Eric Pearson, chairman of the TRIDEC board of directors.

Dye, 52, said he was drawn to the dynamic nature of the Tri-Cities and to TRIDEC’s mission to promote economic diversification to reduce the region’s reliance on federal spending at Hanford.

He brings an understanding of the issues surrounding the Snake River dams and U.S. Department of Energy communities, having worked with the Idaho National Laboratory, DOE, Battelle and other energy-related organizations.

He’s also well-versed in working in a community that straddles a political boundary.

In the Tri-Cities, he’ll work with cities, counties and ports strung along the Columbia River. In his current job, he works with multiple local jurisdictions split between two states.

He said he admires TRIDEC’s role as a bridge between jurisdictions.

“I really appreciate TRIDEC’s history of providing that central connector for economic development for the whole region,” he said.

Like TRIDEC, Valley Vision is a public-private economic development partnership that carries out the goals of cities, counties and other organizations in the Lewis-Clark Valley on the Washington-Idaho border.

As with TRIDEC, Valley Vision carries out the economic development goals of a variety of cities, counties, public agencies and private organizations.

Dye was born in Lewiston and graduated from the University of Idaho in 1990.

After college, he worked in marketing for Caterpillar Inc. and Litehouse Inc., a salad dressing maker based in Sandpoint.

In 2004, he was elected to a two-year term on the Bonner County Commission in Idaho, serving from 2005-07. He said he ran for the post out of a desire to spend less time traveling for work. The job inspired his interest in economic development.

After his term ended, he joined the Bonner County Economic Development Corporation as executive director, a post he held for more than seven years.

He has been in his current job at Valley Vision since June 2018. Prior to that, he was director of corporate and community relations for Idaho PTECH Network.

Dye and his wife Tiffany have two children, Hattie and Henry.

The TRIDEC search committee interviewed five candidates and narrowed the field to two finalists by early January. 

Adrian, chair and CEO of the regional economic development agency, informed the TRIDEC Executive Committee last August that he would retire at the end of January as TRIDEC’s longest-serving president.   

TRIDEC promotes growth in economic development in the region. TRIDEC’s mission is to promote a diverse economy in Benton and Franklin counties. 

The TRIDEC team supports business retention and expansion, industrial development and new business development. It frequently partners with local government on business initiatives and hosts visitors interested in siting business operations in the region. 

It has more than 300 public private members, employs nine and had a budget of about $2 million chiefly funded by membership dues and event fees., according to its most recent filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

TRIDEC holds its annual economic outlook from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.

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