ImageDan Barry, New Rotarian, Ready to Serve His Community

"My life has been filled with so much luck and many diverse experiences.  I've been very blessed."  These are the grateful words of Dan Barry, new Rotarian, when reviewing his life and all the twists and turns that brought him to our community and to our club.

He tells us of a long, multi-generational history on the west coast that started with his grandparents.  They had moved to the Alaskan countryside after the depression - they owned many acres of farmland and prospered while raising a family.  Dan's dad was born in Alaska, but his mom was born on the other coast, in New York, and was raised in Southern California.  Dan's dad was the youngest of 9 kids and himself lived an eclectic life - racing in the Iditarod on a snowmobile, running for Mayor and serving as President of the Alaska State Board of Realtors.  His dad and mom met at Seattle University while they were attending college - they both loved the area so much that they hoped someday to return.

 

But after college, they returned to Alaska and raised a family. The Barrys had 5 children and Dan was the youngest.   In the late 1980's, they followed through on their pledge and moved to Sequim.  This was a short stay, only 6 months, before the family moved to Deming, WA.  The nearby community of Bellingham had a vibrant commercial real estate market, and Dan's dad was excited about the potential.  But as soon as they moved to Deming, he died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 50, a crushing blow to the family and to Dan, who was just 11 at the time.

An older sibling moved back into the house to help Dan and their mother, and the family then moved to Ferndale because they had a great marching band, and that was a passion of Dan's.  He thrived at this new school, becoming a part of the marching band and later joining the Marauders Drum and Bugle Corps in Longview, WA, an elite marching band that got to travel and perform.  Because of Dan's love of school, he envisioned himself someday being a teacher, but life was to take him in a different direction.

After graduation, he "did a million things".  He worked for a hotel as a front desk clerk.  After moving to Oregon, he volunteered with the fire fighting crew "until I realized I didn't like exploding gas tanks."  He took a job helping a disabled man who needed a driver of his motor home as they toured the west coast. 

Upon returning from his 2-year long trip, Dan decided to move to Southern California to spend time with his older sister.  He worked in the travel industry as a marketing and sales person for almost 3 years then was given an opportunity to be an editor of a magazine. It was during this time that he had a brush with fame,  getting a chance to interview Arnold Schwarzenegger, a difficult interview because he was "a man of few words".   Eventually, he began to sell new cars, where he "learned all about sales and how underhanded the car business was in Southern California."  He would have left the state, which had become too crowded and impersonal for Dan, had it not been for the fact that he had met his wife to be, and the relationship was going well.

So Dan took a job at Von's Credit Union in 2007, learning the banking industry while becoming a newlywed.   At the same time, he turned his passion for men's apparel design and bicycling into a new business, a cycling apparel company.  But the business was just getting started, so he needed to keep working a "day job", eventually leaving Von's for a job at the Upland, CA Chamber of Commerce as a Sales Manager.  "That's when everything clicked for me.  I loved the tight-knit community, working cooperatively and closely with others in the town.  It seemed very un-California to me."

When the Chamber reorganized some time later, Dan lost his job but not his desire to remain in a small, close-knit community.  When his brother, who owns a cabin in downtown Keyport, offered Dan and his wife a chance to live in the house, they gladly took him up on it and moved closer to Dan's family.

That was in March, 2013.  On the second day after their move, Dan went to see Jan Harrison at the Poulsbo Chamber and asked her to help him identify banking opportunities.  He found a wonderful job in Mortgage Loans at Poulsbo's Timberland Bank which he loves.  The first week he was in his new house, a walk to the Keyport Mercantile turned into a chance meeting with local residents who were in charge of the "Keyport Improvement Club", a group of neighbors working together to improve Keyport community life.  These folks became friends to the Barrys and allowed them to feel fully integrated into their new home town.

"We left California because there didn't seem like there was a sense of community.  I wanted to get into a place where the lifestyle gives you time to be involved, to pursue your interests and spend quality time with family and friends."

It seems they have found that place in Kitsap and are looking forward to bringing good ideas and plenty of time to pursuing a better way of life for all.  Dan loves the Rotary because it shares that goal and is looking forward to working on projects that help young people.  He is keenly interested in economic development, especially in the Viking Way Corridor that he knows contains so much potential.

Dan has a mind for ideas and a passion for community, a great combination for contributing to the betterment of our way of life.  Welcome, Dan!