Jed Holmes

As community outreach facilitator for Whatcom County, Jed Holmes works mostly out of the county’s Courthouse. (Courtesy photo)

WHATCOM — It’s Jed Holmes’ job to bridge his employer with the people it serves.

“As public servants, it’s important to know and understand the community concerns and aspirations, and to be responsive to them,” said Holmes, community outreach facilitator for Whatcom County. “My expectations are high, and we’re still a long way from meeting them. However, I do believe we are improving.”

Living in Sedro-Woolley, Holmes mostly works out of the Whatcom County Courthouse.

However, he’ll go anywhere from Point Roberts to Newhalem when needed. For about a year-and-a-half, Holmes has worked as the county’s point man on community relations.

Holmes likely won’t forget his second day on the job.

“The county executive declared an emergency due to COVID,” Holmes said. “So that was my introduction to county government.”

Professionally, Holmes has also worked on political campaigns and environmental advocacy projects.

Before that, he lived in Russia “for the better part of two decades,” working in publishing and corporate communications.

Tribune: When you were a child, what did you grow up wanting to become?

Holmes: I dreamed of becoming an ornithologist with articles regularly published in The Auk. I managed to become somewhat knowledgeable in the world of birds, but I’m still working toward my first peer-reviewed article.

Tribune: What do you like most about your job?

Holmes: I get to help people in meaningful ways. Usually, by the time someone gets in touch with me, they’ve encountered hurdles which seem impossible to overcome. Calling the executive’s office is often a last resort. Sometimes I can help find a solution. Sometimes I can shed light on their situation in a new way and help them see the situation differently, in a more productive manner. That’s where I find meaning in my work.

Tribune: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

Holmes: In the summer, I try to go out hiking with my wife and daughter whenever possible. This summer we took a week-long trip to Yellowstone, and that was pretty much an ideal vacation in many regards. My 8-year-old daughter was able to get through a 12-mile hike, so that was a big success. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, I like to listen to audio books.

Tribune: Which around-the-house task is your least favorite?

Holmes: I have permanently delegated the kitty litter box duty.

Tribune: What is your favorite food?

Holmes: A lightly seasoned and finely grilled salmon fillet.

Tribune: What music do you have in your vehicle right now?

Holmes: Heartworn Highways, a collection of songs by some Americana legends.

Tribune: What is your favorite hobby or recreation?

Holmes: A good river fishing opportunity will get me out of bed at 5 a.m. on a Saturday. Unfortunately, salmon runs haven’t been good in recent years.

Tribune: What is your favorite sports team?

Holmes: The Kraken. They’ve yet to disappoint (in the regular season).

Tribune: What’s the biggest thing on your bucket list?

Holmes: I’d love to hike the Pacific Crest Trail through Washington State.

Tribune: Tell us something about you that very few people know.

Holmes: I can ride a unicycle. Not surprisingly, that rarely comes up in conversation.