April 30, 2019
Meeting was called to order by Carol Johnson at 7:32am. Paul Gottleib led the flag salute.
Dave Neupert moved to accept April 23rd meeting minutes clarifying Rob O is Rob Onnen, second by Jack Glaubert. Motion passed.
Dr. Robins said 20-30% of high school graduates do not enroll in higher education in the fall. Peninsula College Foundation is guaranteeing a minimum of $1,000 award for any graduate if they attend college full time in the fall.
Kaj announced Youth in Government is going to Olympia next week and in their dry run, were well spoken and important issues were well presented. He said PABA money given is being put to good use.
Program: Ryan Malane, Black Ball Ferry Line
Ryan said there were 465,000 passengers in 2018 and in order to grow they have expanded sailings. They are the last privately-owned US flagged ferry in international service and the oldest operating flag at 200+ years. They have 125 employees with an average wage over $35/hr with full benefits.
Ryan talked about travel packages and a new blackball.com website coming soon. He said they have a $45 million annual overall economic impact on the Olympic Peninsula with 25-35% of visits due to the ferry.
They are working on special one way rates with Enterprise Rent-a-Car to develop the Loop and continue to promote Canadian campaigns with festivals, Ribfest and Lefties.
The key is to capture the traffic from Victoria. They heavily invest in ads, both tv and online to encourage overnight and day trips. Over 80% of travelers are from out of the area.
What is new: ship to shore WiFi, Game Farm bus, and Coho upgrades and life extension work. The Coho is 60 years old and in outstanding condition.
They own 9 buses now, including 4wd shuttles, and can service pocket size cruise ships of under 200 passengers that come here.
In addition to special event & fleet transportation they also received commercial use authorization for the Olympic National Park. They are a full-service tour company and own the Underground Tours.
He talked about a new federal mandate from USCBP where pre-clearance and post-clearance that applies to cruises and Amtrak now applies to ferries.
They are excited about downtown development but are losing some parking. Off-site won’t work so they continue to think of other ideas.
Most tourism organizations are predicting a flat year or a decrease in traffic.
In response to questions from the room, Ryan said their packaging is a reinvestment tool which is handled in house and the free ride on your birthday was a one-year promotion and is not being done anymore. He said Black Ball has to provide space for immigrations and customs to operate and they already have it now as their pre-clearing. The customs process happens here in the US, which is why the re-entering process is faster. They want to do everything in Victoria and building that facility is expensive. He said they are still learning.
Ryan said much of their crew is multi-generation and Black Ball has the same union as the WA State Ferry system. Crew live on the ship in the summer time and appreciate the care taken for the Coho including dry dock. He believes they have a good company culture.
He cannot predict the future of air service.
May 28: No Meeting
Meeting adjourned at 8:20am.