By John Gillie, August 27, 2014, The News Tribune
Ted J. Fick, whose family’s Fick Foundry was a major Tacoma Tideflats employer for decades, has been selected as the Port of Seattle’s new chief executive officer.
Fick, who spent decades as an executive in manufacturing in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere, will assume the new job when Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani retires in September.
Although the Seattle Port Commission has selected Fick from among several candidates for the job, he won’t formally be appointed until the commission approves his appointment in a public vote Sept. 11.
Fick’s most recent job was president and CEO of Polar Corp., a Minnesota company that produces tank trailers, parts and accessories for highway transport. He resigned in March 2013 to pursue other opportunities. Succeeding him as Polar CEO was an officer in the private capital company that was Polar’s major shareholder.
The new CEO-designate is an unusual choice because he has little experience in maritime or aviation businesses. The Port of Seattle’s two major divisions are its seaport and Sea-Tac Airport.
The Port of Seattle is struggling to bolster its maritime business. Three years ago, it lost a major shipping consortium to the Port of Tacoma, and this summer Westwood Shipping Line also shifted its operations to the Tacoma port. Seattle is closing a major marine terminal for upgrading to attract new business that employs a new generation of huge container ships.
What Fick lacks in trade-related experience, he has in manufacturing. He served as president of CPI Card Group Inc. from 2007 to 2008. He was president of Themo King Corp. Americas from 2004 through 2007. From 2001 through 2003, Fick was vice president of commercial tire systems for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. He served as senior vice president of Hino Diesel Trucks from 2000 through 2001.
Fick’s longest stretch of employment was from 1983 through 2000 when he served in various executive positions for Bellevue’s PACCAR Inc., a major truck manufacturer.
He worked in his family’s foundry from 1977 through 1983.
Fick holds a master’s degree in management from Stanford University, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Puget Sound and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Washington.