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Betsy Davis Joins the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding as Executive Director

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Executive Director Betsy Davis in front of a George Calkins designed Bartender.

Port Hadlock, WA, September 2, 2014 –

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding (NWSWB) is pleased to announce that Betsy Davis has been selected as its new Executive Director.

“We are excited and fortunate to have attracted such a talented and experienced leader as Betsy Davis,” says David Blessing, Board President. “Betsy brings extensive experience in business and organizational development, and is the ideal visionary to help lead the school strongly into the future.”

Betsy served over a decade as the Executive Director of The Center for Wooden Boats (CWB), the Northwest’s hands-on maritime museum where over 150,000 visitors a year are invited to use traditional boats, participate in hands-on workshops and field trips, and build friendships and community. During her tenure CWB saw the extensive growth of programs for youth and the public, the addition of two campuses, and the improved stewardship of its collection of historic boats. Betsy played a leadership role in raising over $7 million for capital projects, and CWB received numerous awards for organizational excellence regionally and nationally. She also helped build the collaboration of maritime and cultural non-profits who together have created a new “center for heritage” at Lake Union Park.

NWSWB’s Azulita.

“Betsy’s commitment to ‘raising all boats’ is extraordinary,” notes Catherine Collins, Executive Director of Sound Experience which owns and operates the historic schooner Adventuress. “She has a unique ability to bring people together to reach common goals, and we are thrilled that Betsy will continue to lead in the preservation of our collective maritime traditions.”

For her part, Betsy is looking forward to the opportunity and challenges that lie ahead. “It is an honor to join the team at the Boat School because it is so highly regarded and recognized internationally for teaching excellence. I know from personal experience that attending boat-building school can be life-changing. With able teachers, I learned skills, traditions of craftsmanship, and most importantly how to approach solving complex problems. I am already so touched by the warm welcomes from the community here, and I’m inspired by the authentic craftsmanship thriving county-wide, the rich maritime trades, and the many opportunities for collaboration.”

Betsy will begin as Executive Director on October 1. She brings over a decade of corporate management experience at Microsoft, entrepreneurship and small business ownership, and extensive non-profit and fundraising leadership.She was a founding member of the South Lake Union Chamber of Commerce and is a Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Lake Union, has served on the board of the Museum Small Craft Association and as co-chair of the Pacific Northwest Maritime Heritage Council.

Sean Koomen, Boat School Chief Instructor, shared, “Betsy’s leadership comes at a wonderful time. Our enrollment has grown significantly over the last year. Her strong vision and regional connections will enable us to grow both in our relationships with the community and within our own organization.”

The school invites the public to join us to meet and welcome Betsy to her new role. A reception will be held at the school, 42 N. Water Street in Port Hadlock, at 5 pm on September 15.

Betsy Davis on the Glorybe.

Also, at this weekend’s Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival (Sept. 5-7, 2014) Betsy is celebrating the 100th year of her own wooden boat, Glorybe, rebuilt after burning in a devastating marina fire. Betsy looks forward to inviting the community aboard!

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is an accredited, private nonprofit vocational school whose mission for 33 years has been to teach and preserve traditional and contemporary wooden boatbuilding skills while developing the individual as a craftsman. A record 67 students are enrolled this year in the School’s 12-month associate degree programs.

For more information, contact:

David Blessing, President
NWSWB Board of Directors

francis lee
Robert Perry – designed Francis Lee built at the NWSWB.

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