Eric D. Johnson, Executive Director
Eric Johnson was appointed Executive Director of the Washington Public Ports Association effective January 2009. As Executive Director, Eric represents the state ports’ interests to state and federal elected and appointed officials as well as to international and domestic business, trade and investment interests.
Eric is also responsible for directing the day-to-day operations of the Association, including administration, budget, communications, policy and strategic planning functions.
Eric Johnson joined the Washington Public Ports Association in 1988 as the Environmental Affairs Director. Then in December of 2006, he was promoted to Deputy Director.
Eric received a bachelor’s degree in biology and political science from Pacific Lutheran University. He is also a graduate of the University of Washington’s Graduate School of Public Affairs, receiving a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in environmental policy and natural resource management. Prior to joining WPPA, he worked for the Washington State Senate.
A native of Washington State, he lives in Olympia.
James Thompson, Deputy Director
Promoted to Deputy Director after serving as Senior Director, Trade & Transportation for the WPPA, James brings a deep understanding of the commercial transportation and global logistics industry to the Association. Prior to joining WPPA he worked in strategic logistics and trade initiatives for the Terex Corporation, which includes Genie Industries. He has also served as their Director of International Logistics and Trade and, prior to that, as North American Transportation Manager for Starbucks Coffee Company. He has experience with all modes of transportation, including trucking, waterborne transport, and air freight. Early in his career he worked in state government with a variety of state agencies in Olympia.
His career in the global logistics industry took him to ports throughout North America and the world, and his observations about the positive role of ports led him to want to work for ports full time.
Gerry O’Keefe, Senior Director, Environmental Affairs
Prior to joining the Washington Public Ports Association, Gerry spent nearly 25 years in increasingly responsible public sector roles. He served closely with four Governors, beginning at the Office of Financial Management, moving into the Department of Ecology and, finally, serving as the Executive Director of the Puget Sound Partnership. In 2006, he led Governor Gregoire’s initiative to establish an Office of the Columbia River within the Department of Ecology charged with meeting environmental goals while developing new water supplies. He has a successful track record building coalitions and working with the legislature to accomplish public policy goals.
Of note, Gerry’s experience includes time as the Natural Resources Director for the Grant County Public Utility District, an entity which draws significant regulatory attention from state and federal agencies. As a result of his experience, he is acutely aware of the care that must be paid as the state designs and implements effective environmental programs and strategies.
Gerry made his way to Washington in 1984, enrolling by the University of Washington’s MBA program. He and his wife, Judy, raised a son and a daughter to love adventures in the mountains and on the water our state has in abundance. As a transplanted Minnesotan, he’s never missed -40F degrees nor lost his sense of wonder for snow-capped volcanoes.
Chris Herman, Senior Director, Trade & Transportation
Chris has worked in logistics and supply chain for 20 years and has experience working in all facets of the management of goods movement. He has managed supply chain operations, strategy and optimization for companies in a diverse group of industries including: agricultural, petrochemical, energy and direct-to-consumer retail.
Chris brought his talents to the Washington State Department of Transportation in 2012 where he led freight rail planning and policy and oversaw the department’s freight rail grant and loan programs and managed the Washington State Grain Train.
A native of the Midwest, Chris enjoys the mountains and all things outdoors. He is very excited to join the WPPA!
Elena Oguiza, Government Affairs Manager and Legal Affairs Counsel
Elena moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2003. Prior to joining WPPA, Elena represented shipowners and other maritime employers in claims brought under the Jones Act, the General Maritime Law, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and the Defense Base Act. While in law school, Elena interned at the Port of Seattle and clerked for the US Coast Guard. She developed a strong interest in ports and has since written extensively on port state control, marine terminal operations, and maritime port security. Elena will be lobbying on behalf of our ports and providing trainings.
Missy Goodell, Member Services Manager
As Member Services Manager, Missy serves as the first-line of communication with our associate and port members to ensure smooth day-to-day operations of the association. She coordinates meetings, events and seminars, serves as webmaster, and manages our port building and tenant needs.
Missy brings decades of executive-level administrative support to our team. Her professional background includes working at Puget Sound Energy, the South Sound YMCA, and most recently at the Administrative Office of the Courts. Missy’s quick smile, approachable manner, and willingness and ability to work where needed is a real complement to our team; she is passionate about providing outstanding customer service, and has a solid grasp of the big picture as well as the minute details required to be successful.
A Master Gardener since 2009, Missy enjoys all types of landscaping, from design and maintenance, to installation of hardscapes, to container, flower and vegetable gardening. She grew up in Bellevue, and raised two kids, now grown, in the Olympia area where she currently resides with her two dogs.
Tasha Cilurso, Business Manager
Tasha joined WPPA as the Business Manager in July 2016. Tasha brings years of experience in financial reporting and office management to us from a hospitality background.
Tasha manages all of the association’s financial, payroll and bookkeeping functions. Tasha graduated from University of Washington – Tacoma with a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
Tasha grew up in Olympia and currently resides in Tumwater with her family.