Washington State Launches
New Executive Director
April 7, 2005
by Christina Kelly, Avalon Staff Editor/Writer
Wine Commission is launching a new search for an executive director to lead local,
national and international programs to promote Washington state
The previous director, Jane Baxter-Lynn, who held the position
for nearly six months, resigned last month for personal reasons.
In the interim, former executive director Steve Burns is filling
in until a new director is selected.
Washington state is the second largest wine producer in the United
States (behind California). The executive director, along with
the existing staff, oversees a $1.5 million budget, incorporating
programs in marketing, public relations, public affairs, member
relations, export outreach and a new global branding campaign.
“The executive director position is one of the most high-profile,
sought-after careers in the wine industry,” said Ted
chairman of the Washington Wine Commission. “We have already
received an unprecedented level of interest in the position and
encourage qualified candidates to continue to apply.”
Qualified candidates should be an enthusiastic and long-committed
spokesperson for the wine industry, representing the interests
of the more than 300 wineries and 350 grape growers within Washington.
The executive director also leads the Washington Wine Institute in advocating the interests of the Washington wine industry on
regional and national public affairs and legislative issues, so
some legislative experience is warranted. The ideal candidate should
be a leader and consensus builder, suggesting innovative programs
and activities for the industry locally, nationally and internationally.
A strong background in marketing, public relations and public affairs
Extensive travel is required, since Taste Washington travels to
European and Asian countries.
“We need someone who knows the Washington wine industry
well,” said Barrister winemaker Greg Lipsker, from Spokane. “We
want to be represented in the eastern half of the state too—it
is where most of the fruit is grown.”
A search committee, led by Washington Wine Commissioner Mark Levine,
will conduct interviews in May with hopes to fill the position
by July 1.
For more than 20 years, Christina Kelly worked as
a newspaper reporter on the West Coast, covering education,
public safety, government, business, environmental
issues, entertainment and minority affairs.
During the same time, the
Washington native began her lifelong interest in
wine. After two decades in
the news reporting business, Christina decided it was
time to concentrate on her passion — the wine
industry. She is our indispensable staff writer and
This intelligent, charming powerhouse graces the Northwest
wine industry with her insights, tastings and conversations
with those in an industry that has exploded in the
past few years. Her column may tell us a funny story
that relates to wine, introduce us to a dedicated winemaker
with a vision, or provide us with consumer information
to make good choices in a field crowded with great
wines. Christina's column is one you'll want to read.