15 years ago, Pivarnik was a commercial realtor in Oregon, looking to make a change. In a classic Port Townsend story, he packed up everything to attend the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock. He lived in an 800sf cottage in Port Townsend, while, his wife Christina continued living and working in Salem.
One idyllic summer morning changed everything.
“I was driving down the hill – and the view was just spectacular. The ferry was just leaving, sailboats on the water – it was just like a picture-perfect painting. I remember getting my cell phone out and calling Christina and saying ‘This is it; you need to come up here, because this is home.’ We moved lock, stock and barrel.”
Life is about to change again for Pivarnik, who is slated to become the Executive Director of the Port of Kingston in May, after 15 years in Port Townsend.
- See Jim off at a going-away party April 26 at 6pm at the Alchemy Bistro
Jim joined the Port of Port Townsend quite soon after the family’s move in 2001, as Property and Facilities Manager. The Port was in the process of reacquiring Point Hudson, which meant that the agency needed to address and renegotiate an array of leases on the property. “It was a great challenge to leap into,” said Pivarnik.
In 2005 Pivarnik was promoted to Deputy Director by Executive Director Larry Crockett. In the decade that followed, Pivarnik feels like the Port completed a wide range of public works. “If you take a step back and look at what has gotten done – the A/B Dock replacement, new haulout pier, taxi way expansion at the airport, the renovations at Point Hudson – the list is extensive, and I’m proud of it. Public works is challenging, and I think the Port of Port Townsend has done a good job in a challenging environment,“ said Pivarnik.
Point Hudson in particular, has undergone a significant transformation to benefit the community, Pivarnik says. Before redevelopment, Point Hudson used to have permanent RVs generating a small amount of revenue. Now, the community benefits from more than 30,000 nights of revenue from the same property. New installed infrastructure could have dramatically altered the look and feel of the marina – but the Port worked with the community to ensure that “new” infrastructure matched the aesthetic of the existing facility.
With property management in his bones, Pivarnik points to the campus environment that was created at Point Hudson as a highlight. “I’m really pleased with how Point Hudson came together, with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State University, and US Customs (and others) anchoring that space. This is classic property management – we worked with Fish and Wildlife for more than 2 years, and then to have WSU say ‘hey we want to be a part of what you’re creating out there’ – that was very satisfying.”
What will Pivarnik miss about the Port? The people. “This place is one big family, and we’ve certainly shed some tears thinking about leaving,” he said.
While Jim will be living part time in Kingston (and has already moved the family boat there), he and Christina will continue to live in Port Townsend. “I’m excited to get to know Kingston and develop deep relationships with that community. But there is no question that both Christina and I love PT as much now as we did 15 years ago.“