MOSES LAKE — Media industry veteran and small business entrepreneur Caralyn Bess grew up 45 minutes outside of New York City and spent most of her life living up and down the Eastern seaboard, working in places like Orlando, Spartanburg, S.C., and Hendersonville, N.C.
This is her first experience living in the Pacific Northwest and already the new Hagadone Corporation and Columbia Basin Publishing executive is feeling some of that Columbia Basin love the Moses Lake community has to offer.
She flew into Spokane and rolled into town on Saturday, and the people have already made a lasting impression.
“I’ve had a couple of readers that saw the story where they announced my husband and I were moving to town and they’ve reached out with where they’ve seen a rental house available,” she said. “I’ve actually called them back and said, ‘That is so sweet of you.’
“It’s just been overwhelming. This is just my fourth day in town and already I’ve met so many down-to-earth people.”
Bess comes to the Columbia Basin Herald from the Daily Press Media Group Virginia Peninsula, located in the Hampton Roads region of southeastern Virginia, where she and her husband David lived in Williamsburg, Va.
Bess served more than two years as regional advertising director for GateHouse Media in Spartanburg, S.C., and Hendersonville, N.C. She also had worked 29 years at the Orlando Sentinel, which is part of Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing), working her way up to advertising director, responsible for local and national retail accounts and all national advertising.
“When looking for a publisher in today's marketplace, you have to find a person whose skill set includes both traditional and digital information distribution. Readers and advertisers demand that. We have found that person in Caralyn Bess,” said Kent Eymann, interim publisher of the Columbia Basin Herald. “Add to that, Caralyn is very much about being involved in the community. The Hagadone Corporation and the Columbia Basin Herald will be a better company with Caralyn on board.”
It’s a constantly evolving world, Bess said, and it’s the industry’s obligation to help readership understand and be informed as best it can, starting with its local environment and branching out.
“The world has changed and we have to do a better job of helping (people) navigate through it. From an editorial perspective, we have a responsibility to be a watchdog for our community. We have a responsibility to keep them informed to what’s relevant and what’s going on in the community. Logistically, there will always be tremendous value in the print climate. They can go online and get all the national news they want, so the key is keeping it local.
“From an advertising perspective, what we do is connect businesses to buyers. The internet changed the way people go to market and we have a responsibility to help our customers navigate the changing world.”
Grant County and the Columbia Basin have a unique commerce base with four distinct areas of business with data center operations like Yahoo!, Microsoft, Intuit, and Sabey. The Grant County International Airport offers unique opportunities. AeroTEC Moses Lake Flight Test Center is in the middle of a five-year deal. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has begun its three-year flight tests on the MRJ twin-engine regional jet. BMW/SGL’s carbon fiber line in Moses Lake added a second production line in 2013. The new production line was said to boost capacity to 3,000 tons a year, sufficient to supply the immediate need for BMW’s new electric “i” vehicles.
There is also a strong small business downtown district and a developing international market throughout Grant and Adams counties. And of course, the agriculture industry.
As she moves into Day 5, Bess said she’s looking forward to taking on new business challenges and living on the other side of the country, and the Columbia Basin people have helped make that transition just a wee bit easier.
Rodney Harwood is a sports writer with the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.