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Expo Center manager returning to Transit
Joan Lewis, who has managed the Enumclaw Expo Center for the past two and a half years, is leaving her city post and will return to a job with Metro Transit.
Today, Wednesday, will be her final day in her Expo Center office.
Lewis has a long history with the Expo Center, formerly known as the King County Fairgrounds. She spent 18 years as a King County employee, all working with the fair and the fairgrounds, before departing for a short stint with Metro Transit. After the city took ownership of the fairgrounds, she joined the city ranks. Now, she’s returning to the same job she occupied previously with Metro Transit.
During her time with the city, Lewis served as the point person for all events staged at the Expo Center, including the stadium and fieldhouse. Last year, after the city agreed to take over the King County Fair, she added “fair manager” to her list of duties.
Lewis admits she will miss the relationships developed both with city staff and with people connected to big events like the Olympic Kennel Club dog show and the Scottish Highland Games, as well as smaller activities involving 4-H and FFA.
“I feel good about what I’ve done here,” Lewis said, specifically mentioning the number of events staged at the Expo Center and the success of the 2009 fair.
But the appeal of returning to Metro won out.
“It’s just a good opportunity for me at this time,” she said.
Her title, Lewis admits, is a mouthful. She will be the administrator for the Service Development Division of Metro Transit, a division of the King County Department of Transportation.
“I’ll be handling all the administrative functions,” Lewis said, explaining that she will deal with items like bus route development, park-and-ride facilities and Metro bus passes.
Lewis said people within Metro approached her earlier in the year about returning to her previous post. She applied for the job, just in time to have the position frozen due to the county’s budget woes. Eventually, the job became available and, after going through the complete interview process, Lewis received an offer last week.
Making the position particularly appealing, she said, was its 32-hour work week, which allows for three-day weekends.
Lewis is quick to emphasize there was nothing from the Enumclaw end that prompted her move. “There’s no political agenda to this at all,” she said.
Lewis’ supervisor, Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter, said his department is losing quite an asset.
“Joan is exceptional,” he said. “Her level of professionalism and attention to detail really helped us jump-start what we were doing at the Expo Center.” Lewis was brought on board shortly after the city took ownership of the grounds.
Michelle Larsen, who handles recreation programming for the department, will handle Lewis’ duties on an interim basis, while Fetter begins the process of finding a replacement. High on his list of priorities, Fetter said, will be selecting a candidate with strong marketing skills, someone who can help attract more events to the Expo Center.