Dave Nakagawara has been a building official for the City of Port Townsend. Starting June 1, he becomes the second engineer with the Port of Port Townsend.

Civil Engineer Dave Nakagawara has joined the Port of Port Townsend’s capital facilities staff to help the Port complete its many planned upgrades in consultation with the community.

Nakagawara is already familiar to many local residents. For the last two years he has been a Building Official with the City of Port Townsend, where responsibilities included plan review and inspections.

“He’s a diligent worker,” said Capital Facilities Director Matt Klontz. “He’s a very good communicator. I’ve always appreciated how quickly he responds to questions raised by the public.”

He is also no stranger to engineering projects or the Northwest.

Nakagawara grew up in Lacey, Wash., obtained his civil engineering degree from the University of Washington went to graduate school at Washington State University. He spent five years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a dozen years with the City of Spokane that included a stint as acting city engineer. Work in three Arizona cities followed, including the job of Tempe’s Community Development Director.

After some time off, Nakagawara came to the City of Sequim where, over four years, he designed and oversaw a variety of projects to improve water systems, streets and parks, among other things. There he worked alongside Klontz who was then Sequim’s Public Works director. Klontz, a Port Townsend native, came to the Port of Port Townsend in 2021 as Capital Projects director.

“We worked together to deliver capital improvement projects, and I’m confident we’ll do the same here,” said Klontz. “We’re a good team. We were also efficient because we standardized some of the tools needed for design and construction management.”

Nakagawara said he is excited to rejoin Klontz and embraced the idea of completing projects. “You take a project from its inception, you engage the public, you select the consultant, you put it out for bids, you find the contractor, you oversee the work and the quality control,” he said. “And then you cut the ribbon. It’s soup to nuts.”

The Port job is particularly attractive, he said, because the Port has a genuine commitment to partner with the community in advance, he said.

“Engineers can be pretty linear and goal-oriented,” he said. “An aspect of engineering that has grown significantly is engaging the public. You can’t just say, ‘here’s the problem, here’s the fix,’ and bulldoze through it. You want to collaborate with the public and those affected from the beginning. I can see the Port is committed to that.”

Klontz said it’s certain that he and Nakagawara will work together on every project, but added it’s likely the new engineer will take primary responsibility for the Boat Haven breakwater repair, the Boat Haven linear dock replacement and the expansion of the Boat Yard north toward Sims Way. There are several other projects on the horizon, including the scheduled fall 2023 replacement of the other Point Hudson jetty, stormwater improvements, upgrades to the Quilcene Marina and to the Jefferson County International Airport.

Nakagawara bought a house just outside of Port Townsend in 2020, where he lives with his wife Marcelle. The couple has two grown daughters living in the Olympia area. His official start date with the Port is June 1.