By Mark Stayton, August 15, 2013, Skagit Valley Herald
Employment at the Port of Anacortes reached its highest point in history this summer as 930 positions were recently recorded during a survey of the port’s 35 tenants. These figures do not represent 28 port staff.
Port Executive Director Bob Hyde said summer employment at the port is usually higher than year-long averages — there were 844 employees in the summer of 2012 compared to a 2012 average of 804.
Hyde said the summer tourism season can lead to added jobs at restaurants as well as at boat detailing and maintenance businesses.
The recent figures are big increases from a yearly average in 2008 of 741 jobs, and from a lull in employment in 2010 when 711 positions were recorded.
Leading the growth spurt is ship-builder Dakota Creek Industries, the port’s largest employer, which provides more than 280 jobs in fields including iron work, electrical, carpentry and plumbing.
Owner Dick Nelson said contracts for two 238-foot U.S. Navy research vessels and a 191-foot long-line cod fishing boat, and increased repair and maintenance work, have boosted employment by about 60 positions since summer of 2012.
Nelson said employment at his company peaked three years ago at 380 positions, when construction on three 165-foot tug boats was under way.
After Dakota Creek, the port’s largest employers are Washington State Ferries with 220 locally-based employees, Anthony’s Restaurant and Cortland Puget Sound Rope.
Transpac Marinas, which builds heavy-duty docks for commercial fisheries in Alaska, bumped up employment from 11 full-time workers to 28 this summer to complete numerous projects, Transpac’s Business and Development Manager Traci Stark said.
Hyde said the employment survey reinforced the notion that Anacortes is still a viable center for marine business and manufacturing.
“Our tenants are healthy and getting stronger,” Hyde said. “It’s marine related, and it’s a manufacturing town.”