The Port of Port Townsend Commission has chosen four finalists for the job of executive director of the public port district. Those finalists will meet invited stakeholders and the general public on Tuesday, Jan. 14. A hiring decision by the Port Commission is expected the third week of the month.
“This is an extremely strong set of candidates,” said Executive Director Jim Pivarnik, who expects to work alongside the Port’s new leader starting March 1, 2020. “It’s going to be a tough choice for the commissioners. But the public will be well-served by any choice they make.”
The four finalists:
- Anthony Warfield
Warfield would come from the Port of Tacoma, where he’s been since 2008. He started as an environmental project manager and was named senior manager of Facilities Development in 2012.
In that role, he oversees construction projects in terms of permit and SEPA compliance, and spill response. He works with tenants on improvement projects. He oversees the project to deepen the Port of Tacoma’s harbor in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Previously he worked on transportation planning and environmental issues with the state Department of Transportation, where he played a role in the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
He also worked on environmental issues for the state Department of Ecology and for Boeing. He holds a Master in Regional Planning from Washington State University.
Warfield was born in Port Townsend and although his family left when he was young, he now owns a home in the community.
- Eron Berg
Berg would come from municipal leadership of the City of Sedro Woolley. Since 2007, he has been the city supervisor and city attorney for the town of almost 12,000. He reports to the elected mayor and is responsible both for day-to-day operations and legal guidance. The city has a staff of 90 and an annual budget of $38 million.
Berg is also an elected official, as a commissioner of the three-member Skagit Public Utility District. The PUD supplies water to 65,000 residents and businesses. For four years starting in 1999, he served as the elected mayor of La Conner. He grew up in LaConner where his parents owned a marine chandlery and where, for five years as a teen, he and his parents lived on a sloop.
He has worked with the Port of Skagit on several projects including infrastructure, planning, permitting and sustaining the Swinomish Channel.
Before going into government service, Berg was an attorney with Cascade Law Center.
Berg holds a law degree from the University of Washington and a Master of Science in psychology from Western Washington University.
- Andy Haub
Haub would come from Olympia, where he served as the Water Resources director of that city until his retirement in April, 2019. Over 28 years with the City of Olympia, he worked in many roles including project engineer, program coordinator, planning and engineering manager and most recently director of the city’s systems for drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and surface water.
As Water Resources director, he supervised about 70 employees and a $30 million budget. The work was both technical and community-based. He led research into the impacts of rising sea levels on downtown Olympia. He was the primary liaison with community groups, other governments and the elected City Council.
Prior work included design engineering in Bellevue and as shop foreman in a welding and machine shop in Kalispell, Mont.
Haub holds a Master in Engineering from the University of Washington. He also holds a U.S. Coast Guard Marine Captain license, has a home in Port Townsend and keeps a sailboat at the Boat Haven.
- Travis Matheson
Matheson would come from the Washington State Patrol in Olympia, where he has had a long career and, for eight years, has been a captain. In 2019 he was promoted to lead the Property Management Division, in charge of some 300 WSP facilities across the state. Matheson manages 63 employees and a $153 million two-year budget.
He has been with the Patrol since 1992, starting as a Trooper and rising through the ranks. He was a sergeant on the Bomb Squad, a lieutenant in first the Homeland Security Division and then the Criminal Investigation Division, and then a captain in various posts. One was as chief of security for two governors; another was as leader of the Patrol’s Human Resource division.
He was also, in 2007-08, a White House Fellow during the tenure of President George W. Bush, where he worked on transportation issues and rode mountain bikes with Bush.
Matheson is chair of the Port of Olympia Citizens Advisory Committee, is an Ironman triathlete, and holds a Master in Business Administration from the University of Washington. His grandparents, Bob and Margaret Matheson, were lifelong Jefferson County residents as were other relatives.
The finalists were named after a Port Commission executive session on Jan. 8. On Tuesday, Jan. 14, the finalists return to Port Townsend for a series of meetings. Invitation-only meetings will include Port employees, key stakeholders such as leaders of the marine trades, the moorage tenants and pilots, then a meeting open to the general public at 6 p.m. in the Northwest Maritime Center at 431 Water St., downtown Port Townsend.
“We urge people to come out and meet our finalists for themselves,” said Pivarnik. “The members of the commission want to hear from as many people as possible before making a final decision.” The public will be invited to contact commissioners with their thoughts via email or a special feedback feature on the Port’s website at www.portofpt.com. (From the home page, scroll down to the blue box.)
The Port Commission is slated to meet again, possibly in executive session, on Wednesday, Jan. 15. While the schedule could change, Pivarnik expects that the commission may not make its final decision until a week later, Jan. 22.
The hiring process, guided by Karras Consulting of Olympia, initially produced 45 candidates from all over the world. They were winnowed to seven, and now to four.
Pivarnik noted that the Port still has challenges, but that the voter-approved Industrial Development District tax levy, which authorized up to $15 million for capital projects, marked both public support of the Port and provided needed funding for infrastructure. The Port Commission recently elected to collect $805,000 in IDD funds in the upcoming fiscal year.
Pivarnik served for 15 years as the Port’s deputy director, left to run the Port of Kingston, then returned to Port Townsend in October 2018 to serve as interim executive director after the departure of Sam Gibboney. One of his assignments was to find a permanent director.
He expects to work alongside the new hire from March until June, then retire, he said.
The Port is guided by a three-member elected commission: Pete Hanke, Bill Putney and Pam Petranek, who was recently elected. The Port operates marinas and boat ramps throughout Jefferson County and an industrial boatyard in Port Townsend. The Port also operates the Jefferson County International Airport. The Port employs about 30 people and has an operating budget of $5 million.