(Kennewick, WA) -- Tri-City Water Follies has announced that Event Director Kathy Powell will retire in February after 15 years. Powell started volunteering in 1994 and was recruited to take over the bankrupted event in 2007. 

The organization says the Water Follies struggled through several different management organizations after Ken Maurer (one of the founders of the event in 1965) decided to retire and sold his interest in the Maurer Company in 2003 after 38 years at the helm.

“In 2006 the organization was $35,000 in debt with minimal sponsor support and stressed relationships with the cities and boat race fans” explained Kathy (Balcom) Lampson who was asked to serve a second term as president (the first being in 1996) to help make the organization profitable again. “Past presidents and volunteers jumped in, reorganized the management structure/compensation, developed creative sponsorship incentives and gave Kathy Powell the ball to run with. From that day forward the organization has been very profitable.”

According to a press release, the organization says other accomplishments under Kathy Powell’s watch included:

  • Building the warehouse in 2012 which houses the management office, event equipment and supplies.
  • Donating labor and dollars to add irrigation and sod to the Pasco levee.
  • Donating funds to improve the band shell in Columbia Park.
  • Donating financial support to rebuild the playground of dreams and add a hydroplane feature.
  • Upgraded the sound system in Columbia Park with a new solar powered system.

During Powell’s tenure Tri- City Water Follies has been recognized as:

  • Race site of the year by H1 Unlimited for several years as well as receiving an award for excellence.
  • Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau Tourism Champion of the Year.
  • Best event in the Tri-Cities by the People’s Choice awards
  • Being honored by the International Council of Air Shows for the 2020 Drive in Air Show
  • Receiving award for the Best Event in Southeast Washington 2021 by the Washington State Festival and Events Association.

“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve as the Event Director for the past 15 years. I lost my dad to cancer last spring and I’m turning 60 in January. I’m ready for a summer off to enjoy my pool and explore a lot of campgrounds in the region” she explains.

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