An Exit Interview With Discover Burien Executive Director Steve Gilbert


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Just like she did when he started in Nov., 2009, The B-Town Blog's Janet Grella sat down to interview Discover Burien Executive Director Steve Gilbert.

Story by Janet Grella
Photos by Scott Schaefer

In Nov., 2009 when Steve Gilbert, then the newly-appointed Executive Director of Discover Burien (DB) started, The B-Town Blog had an ‘Entrance Interview’ with him (read that story here).

Flash forward to Feb., 2011, where we find Steve on his way out of town, so we found it appropriate to have an ‘Exit Interview’ with him.

We sat down with Steve earlier this week at the Burien Community Center after he finished his talk to Discover Burien members on “How to Get Your Sales Mojo Back.” We doubt Steve has ever lost his mojo and if he ever does, I hope I find it. To this day, he is as much a cheerleader for Burien and Discover Burien as he was the day he started.

“Burien is an incredible community. It’s small town feel is genuine. People are looking out for one another. They are not only proud of their community, they are proud of their generational roots in Burien,” Steve said. “Unlike other communities, the business owners work and live here,” he continued.

Steve used Sal’s Deli as an example of hometown pride and business.

“I’ve never been in Sal’s when Jim (Hughes, the owner) didn’t come from behind his deli counter and take time to talk to me. No matter whether it’s Sal’s or any number of other locally-owned businesses, people are always friendly.”

He likened the rural America hometown feeling of Burien in the 21st Century to Andy Griffith’s popular TV show of the ’50s: “Mayberry, RFD.” Now that’s friendly!

“Burien is a community with a heart and a soul. I mean there’s some really cool and funky things here,” he added. “As an example, there’s a wide variety of artisans that are so important to the fabric of every community.”

And no exit interview with Steve would be complete without him talking about the volunteer board of Discover Burien.

“The board are all so amazing. They are not only passionate for Discover Burien, but for the community of Burien. And Lori Alden (President, Discover Burien and Managing Broker of Prudential Northwest Realty) really gives back to the community by stepping up in so many ways when asked.”

He also wanted to point out the value of the relationship that Discover Burien has with the city.

“It’s been a great relationship that the two organizations have. DB has played a very important role for the city in the economic development initiatives.”

Steve said he’ll miss the people most of all.

“It’s been an absolute blast getting to know the people. People that are passionate about Burien both in business and government.”

What he is most proud of in his 15 months at the helm is the growth of the membership. He’s been an integral part of growing the membership to an all-time high of 175, a 25% growth from the 142 members that were on board when he started in November ’09.

Steve Gilbert with 'volunteer extraordinaire' Jane Matz.

Steve’s last day with DB is Monday, Feb. 28th. He’ll be working in the office from 10am – 3pm. And yes, he’ll be working as usual to insure a smooth transition to the next incarnation of Discover Burien, but will be available to say goodbye to anyone who wants to stop by. Sadly, you can also say goodbye to “volunteer extraordinaire” Jane Matz, who is retiring to travel. You can bid farewell at 620 SW 150th on Monday.

Always a Burien cheerleader, Steve wanted as one of his final public interviews to make sure our readers know that the next BEST: Burien Education Seminar Talks will feature Cox Financial’s Brian Frederick (and DB Vice President) speaking about “Financial Strategies for the New Economy” at Cox’s offices (112 SW 157th in Burien) from 9:30am – 10:30am on March 4th.

What’s next for Steve? He’s off to be an Account Manager for Haakenson Group, a manufactur’s rep for Knoll Furniture office furniture systems in Tukwila. When asked about selling furniture and what he knew about office furniture, Steve replied:

“My experience with office furniture is that I use it all the time.”

We know he’ll bring his Mojo with him, and that he’ll do just fine selling rather than sitting on office furniture systems.

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One Response to “An Exit Interview With Discover Burien Executive Director Steve Gilbert”
  1. Steve Gilbert says:

    I cannot express just how much I have enjoyed working with all of you (and I am the son of an English teacher so I know lots of words).

    Burien is truly a gem of a community and has so much to offer.

    All my best to everyone.

    Cheers…Steve

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