We’ll miss you, Jim Klarich

As we survey the landscape of Northeast Michigan, if we were asked to name one person who has had more influence in changing that landscape than any other, we would without hesitation say Jim Klarich, director of economic development for the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce.

That is why our heart was heavy Thursday when it was officially announced that Klarich would be stepping aside from his role at the end of the year.

“I think it’s time,” Klarich said in a News story Friday. “To see how that’s (economic development in the region) grown and matured in the last eight years has been something really special to see.”

Being an economic development director is one of the hardest jobs in the world, for it requires patience, persistence and then more patience.

Being an economic development director means meetings — lots of them. It means reports — lots of them. It means phone calls — lots of them. It means cold calls — lots of them.

And Klarich was excellent at all of those attributes.

He would develop sources up and down in business, government, and financial institutions. He had a network of people in his cell phone who always would answer his call. He never was at a loss for a new lead, and soaked up news like a sponge.

We are going to miss him.

The region is going to miss him.

Thank you for a job well done, Jim!