Ferris cites experience in bid for Auburn Recreation District board

By: Bruce Warren, Journal Staff Writer
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Jim Ferris is stressing his community involvement, corporate CEO experience and marketing skills as qualifications to become one of the next Auburn Recreation District board members chosen in the Nov. 4 election. “I think I have the experience, skills and new ideas that can serve the ARD board better than any other candidate,” Ferris said in an interview Tuesday. An Auburn resident for more than 18 years, Ferris founded the Canyon Keepers in 1998, and currently serves as chairman. Now retired, he served as past president of Signet Laboratories in Los Angeles, president of Dietary Labs in Burbank and vice president of marketing for Plus Products, a large distributor of vitamins and natural foods. Locally, he co-authored a book on area trails called “American River Canyon Hikes,” which can be found in bookstores. “I’ve known Jim for over 10 years and he has a tremendous commitment to health and the world around him,” said Gordon Ainsleigh, current board member, who is also running. “He’s been a CEO of three different companies and a marketing consultant for some pretty big names. We could always use another marketing consultant.” Ainsleigh cites Ferris’ commitment to the local community and his contributions made through Canyon Keepers. “He’s done more in the last 10 years to make the world a better place than most people do in a lifetime,” Ainsleigh said. When it comes to working within a tight ARD budget, Ferris suggested using more volunteers as a way to free up funds. “We could work in alliance with other local recreation groups, such as Canyon Keepers, Placer Nature Center, Protect American River Canyons and Gold Country Wildlife Rescue,” Ferris said. “There needs to be practical ways to reduce program expenses in order to maintain an all-important infrastructure.” When it comes to programs, Ferris recognizes that Placer County has grown significantly as a popular retirement home and wants to address the needs of those residents. “I would consider additional expanded programs to meet the needs of an aging population,” Ferris said. “For instance, individual sports and exercise programs such as yoga and additional walking trails. I would recommend expanding the Adopt the Park Program. It’s never been promoted and I had never heard of it. It’s on the ARD Web site.” When it comes to promoting, Ferris said he has more than 15 years of experience conducting hundreds of market research surveys and facilitated hundreds of focus groups for clients. He would conduct surveys for ARD at no charge. The holder of an MBA degree from Stanford University has first-hand experience with Placer County issues while doing county consulting work. “I was a paid consultant for Placer County Office of Economic Development and the Department of Transportation, and I conducted surveys of business and focus groups with residents to determine their needs,” Ferris said. During his time with the county Office of Economic Development, he helped create a $100,000 promotional CD. As project manager, he gave suggestions and looked over design and content of the CD meant to attract businesses to Placer County. “I believe my experience over the years as a management consultant, facilitating meetings, and as a focus group research moderator, as well as a volunteer group leader will serve the board well,” Ferris said. The Journal’s Bruce Warren can be reached at, or comment online at