By Rolf Boone, November 24, 2013, The Olympian
The Port of Olympia was named the state’s 2013 Port of the Year on Friday by the Washington Public Ports Association during its annual meeting in Tacoma.
WPPA Executive Director Eric Johnson said the Port of Olympia earned recognition for its revenue growth and the growing number of ship calls at the marine terminal, for its work throughout Thurston County, and for its efforts to improve public input through its advisory committee.
“It’s a great example of what a port can do for a county,” Johnson said.
Port of Olympia commissioner Bill McGregor said the award is a result of hard work the port has become accustomed to throughout the years.
“I’m excited to be recognized,” he said.
Port Commissioner Jeff Davis said the award was “validation that we’ve done a good job,” adding that it was “testament to the work that we’ve done in turning the port around to make it profitable.”
And the port is set to do that this year, as it expects to show operating income, including depreciation, of about $190,000.
That’s the first time the port has produced operating income in about 12 years, finance director Jeff Smith said.
But Davis, who lost to commissioner-elect Sue Gunn in this month’s general election, said he also is concerned about the future of the port.
Gunn has said she produced a two-page outline of goals for the port for the next four years. Davis has concerns about what that might mean for the port.
“The award confirms that this is the direction we need to be going,” he said. “I’m curious to see what her plan is and how it differs from what the port should be doing.”
For the award, port districts submitted nomination letters to the WPPA, which were then reviewed by an executive committee of the association. Five port commissioners and one port director served on the committee, Executive Director Johnson said.
Last year’s winner was the Port of Camas-Washougal, a port district on the Columbia River near Vancouver.