Relationships are interrelated, inter-connected, diverse and built on shared experiences. Success comes when these relationships benefit everyone and when knowledge is passed from generation to generation. For Brian Fluetsch, this philosophy influences everything he does. Whether at Sunset Air—the family business founded by his father where he and his son now work—or as a member of the Thurston EDC’s Board of Directors, he lives to serve.
Brian Fluetsch has been on the EDC’s Board for more than 20 years and is their longest serving member. His father Pete Fluetsch was himself a founding member of the EDC and a member of their family has been on involved since day one. “When dad stepped away from the Board, I stepped up,” he explains. Brian’s son Trenton, who also works at Sunset Air in the family business, is even becoming involved with civic programming regionally.
“What attracted me to the EDC is their mission to attract and retain family wage jobs in Thurston County,” shares Fluetsch. “Family wage jobs with benefits are important in making a stronger, more diverse community. The fabric just gets stronger.” With such a storied history, Fluetsch is also the EDC’s unofficial historian. “We have always believed it’s good to give back to the community that gives back to you.”
While the whole family has a heart for their community, Brian’s involvement throughout Thurston County is extensive. Over the years he’s been on the board or heavily involved with the Hands On Children’s Museum, the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Capital Medical Center, the Olympia Youth Chorus, the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound and local Chambers of Commerce just to name a few.
He encourages fellow business owners to get involved with all the committees and services the EDC has to offer. When its time to bring on new board members, the nominating committee looks for active individuals with a diverse perspective and diverse career path who can serve a short but influential term. Members of the Board come from the public and private sector, civic leaders, commissioners and Puget Sound Energy.
Such a wide variety of backgrounds means “relationships are built so conversations can occur,” says Fluetsch, “and we get understanding from real folks. I’m very proud of the organization and its impact. We’re unheralded but we have this huge impact on both the financial and well-being of our community.”
And they’re not just a hands-off group of decisionmakers. The EDC Board spent time during COVID-19 handing out masks and sanitizer, dispensing monies to businesses in need and working with others seeking energy efficiency programs and mentorship assistance.
Being the capital city, Olympia’s many state office buildings mean fewer local businesses. “State agencies and employers don’t really give back to the community like small business owners do,” admits Fluetsch. “We’re a very generous community and we have to step up and support programs to help the community grow through the EDC.”
Following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, Brian’s son Trenton is now on the Thurston County Chamber’s Board of Trustees. He’s also taking on a bigger leadership role at Sunset Air as their Vice President of Operations. Brian loves hearing stories from colleagues who’ve interacted with his son in a civic role. “The legacy is continuing and will have a big impact,” says Brian.
Brian himself isn’t slowing down much, but the avid skier takes plenty of time to hit the slopes when he can. As his grandkids grow, he delights in introducing them to the finer points of the sport, one snowy adventure at a time.
Learn more about Sunset Air on Facebook, their website or by calling 360.930.6298. They offer commercial and residential heating, cooling, electrical and HVAC services as well as window and door sales and installation. You can even schedule service online or seek 24-hour emergency service.
Strength comes from building relationships, working together and thinking of the future. Thanks to the dedicated Fluetsch family, generations to come will reap the rewards of their hard work and service mentality.