Gary Nelson.

Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson Retiring

After nearly 24 years on the job, Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson announced in mid-November that he’ll retire March 31, 2024.

Nelson was hired as executive director in April 2000, when the port had only 21 vessel calls handling 85,000 metric tons of cargo with an operating budget of just $5.2 million. More than two decades later, Grays Harbor is projected to have 100 vessel calls and handle more than 3 million metric tons of cargo with an operating budget of nearly $40 million by the end of 2023.

During Nelson’s tenure, the port has seen more than $275 million in private investment throughout its facilities. In addition, Grays Harbor has diversified to include operations at the Satsop Business Park.

Nelson’s leadership has secured millions of dollars from federal and state grant sources to modernize and make improvements to the Westport Marina, Marine Terminals and Bowerman Airport, positioning the port to accommodate current and future economic growth.

He served as Chairman of the American Association of Port Authorities from 2019 to 2020, Chaired the Washington Public Ports Association Legislative Committee and served on the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association Executive Board.

He also oversaw the critical completion of Deeper Draft, the deepening of the Grays Harbor Navigation Channel to its congressionally authorized depth.

“All good things must come to an end,” Nelson said in a Nov. 14 statement. “I have always been taught to leave a place better than you found it and I would like to think that is the case both at the port and the community as a whole. I look forward to watching the port continue to grow in the coming years with several exciting projects on the horizon.”  

The Grays Harbor Port Commission was expected to consider leadership succession options at a future meeting, including whether to recruit a new executive director using an outside firm, by using port staff, or by promoting from within. 

Casey Hehr, Eleanor Torres.

POLB Appoints 2 Managing Directors

Two managing directors have been appointed to lead bureaus at the Port of Long Beach, the port announced Oct. 30.

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners recently approved the appointment of Port Security Director Casey Hehr as managing director of the Commercial Services Bureau, which consists of the port’s business development, tenant services, information management and security divisions.

Hehr started at the port in October 2016 as assistant director of the Security Services Division before becoming its director in August 2018. He previously served with the U.S. Coast Guard for more than two decades before retiring as chief of operations and response for the Los Angeles-Long Beach Sector. 

Government Relations Director Eleanor Torres has been chosen to be the managing director of the port’s Strategic Advocacy Bureau, made up of the government relations and communications and community relations divisions. 

Torres joined the port as director of the Government Relations Division in December 2019. She previously worked at the Orange County Water District for 12 years, serving as its director of public affairs. Before that, she worked for a decade for the California legislature, which included being a district director for then-Assembly Majority Leader Dario Frommer. 

Both are expected to report to the port’s chief operating officer, Noel Hacegaba.

“The goods movement industry is in an era of dynamic change as seaports around the world find more efficient ways to move cargo, more closely engage with communities we serve and reduce operational impacts on the environment,” Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordero said. “Casey and Eleanor understand the importance of these goals to the Port of Long Beach and the collaboration between internal and external stakeholders that’s needed for us to accomplish our organizational objectives.”  

Diane Middleton.

LA Harbor Commissioner Middleton Receives Leadership Award

The Center for International Trade & Transportation (CITT) has named Los Angeles Harbor Commission Vice President Diane Middleton as this year’s Domenick Miretti Award winner.

Announced Nov. 17 at a town hall at California State University Long Beach, the annual award is conferred to an individual for dedication to the goods movement industry.

Middleton began serving on the Los Angeles Harbor Commission in 2019 and was elected vice president in July. A resident of San Pedro, Middleton is an attorney and expert in labor and maritime law, who long has been active in Harbor area labor and civil rights issues.

She began her law career representing injured auto, steel and hospital workers and was the first in the 1970s to file a class action asbestos lawsuit on behalf of shipyard workers. In 1979, Middleton established her own law practice in San Pedro, representing injured longshoremen and shipyard workers until her retirement in 2010.

“I am greatly honored to receive this CITT award, and to be recognized for my work on behalf of our local workforce,” Middleton said in a statement. “As I have done throughout my career, I will continue to do whatever I can to help strengthen and build our workforce here at the Port of Los Angeles and across the entire supply chain.”

The CITT Miretti Award was established in 2017 in honor of the late Domenick Miretti, who served as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) liaison for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. He was a long-time advocate of industry and education collaborations and partnerships, which he believed were essential for the betterment of the trade and transportation workforce.

CITT delivers education programs, research and community outreach in the area of goods movement.  

Krista Williams.

Williams Named CEO of Alaska Trucking & Logistics Firm Carlile

Saltchuk Logistics’ Chief Operating Officer Krista Williams has been appointed the new CEO of Alaska trucking and logistics firm Carlile, the company announced Oct. 13.

Williams takes the helm of a company created in 1980 that has terminal operations in Alaska, Washington, Texas and Canada, as well as more than 390 employees.

Williams is expected to work alongside Carlile’s president since 2015, Terry Howard, who plans to stay with the company through the rest of the year.

Howard’s steadfast leadership has helped guide the company through many challenges in recent years, Williams said.

“His commitment to our employees and to the safety and success of our operations leaves a legacy of respect, teamwork and commitment to the Carlile brand,” she said.

Before arriving at Saltchuk (Carlile’s parent company) in 2018, Williams worked on continuous improvement and strategic programs at Toyota, Kaiser Permanente and Whirlpool. 

She has a mechanical engineering degree from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and a master’s degree from Seattle University.

Williams, who worked with Carlile executives in gearing up the company for future opportunities for the past two years, is expected to guide Carlile as it prepares to handle heightened demand for transportation and logistics services in and beyond Alaska.

“In the coming years, we see tremendous growth opportunities in natural resource development, retail, government and other sectors of Alaska’s economy,” Williams said. “I look forward to building on the company’s success in future years. This is an exciting and promising time for transportation companies in Alaska.”  

Emilia Sánchez.

Sánchez Appointed Engineering Director at Port of Oakland

Engineering project manager Emilia Sánchez has been named the Port of Oakland’s new director of engineering, becoming the first woman and Latina to take on the leadership role, the port announced Oct. 12. 

Born and raised in Oakland, Sánchez has a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from UC Berkeley and a Master of Science degree in construction management from Cal State East Bay. She has a California Professional Engineering license and a Project Management Professional Certificate and is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. 

Before joining the port in February, Sánchez worked at Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) for more than 10 years in various roles. During her tenure at BART, she oversaw the Hayward Maintenance Complex development and BART Headquarters Tenant Improvement in Oakland. She also worked on the Earthquake Safety Program and the Oakland Airport Connector.

“Ms. Sánchez brings to the port’s director of engineering position a depth of experience combining technical engineering background with expertise in managing multi-discipline, cross-functional, stakeholder engaging teams and projects,” according to the port announcement. “Her integrated skill sets are ideal for delivering the variety of projects the port will undertake in its transition to a zero-emissions port.” 

Sánchez said she is excited to oversee projects that deliver cleaner operations that protect the environment and improve the port.   

“I look forward to drawing upon my experience in managing large projects with my varied educational foundation and a personal commitment to the community,” she said.  

Colin Millan.

Millan Named Port of Tacoma Security Director

Port of Tacoma has tapped security expert Colin Millan to be its new director of security, the agency announced Sept. 19.

Millan takes over for Louis P. Cooper Jr. who retired after 18 years with the port. He is expected to oversee a department with security operations throughout the port’s facilities and assets. His responsibilities include incident and security project management and management of Port Patrol and Terminal Security officers for SSA Terminal Tacoma.

“Colin brings a wealth of experience to this role, and we are very excited to welcome him to our port family,” Port Executive Director Eric Johnson said.

Millan brings law enforcement and security experience to the port: he previously worked for Bank of America’s western region, where he had managed its security program since 2009.

As senior vice president, he was responsible for security for more than 3,100 facilities with 16,000 employees in 13 states, according to the port.

Millan, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice studies from Colorado Technical University, also spent seven years as a police officer in Hampton, Va.  

William “Dean” Lee.
Tom Norton.

Lee, Norton Join SAFE Boats Board

SAFE Boats International has added two new veterans to its board of directors, the Bremerton, Wash.-based company announced Sept. 22.

Retired U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral William “Dean” Lee and Tom Norton have joined the board of the company, which supplies aluminum vessels globally for the public and private sectors, including first responders and military.

“I am extremely honored that Dean and Tom have accepted positions on our board of directors,” SAFE Boats CEO Richard Schwarz said. “As a newly formed 100% employee-owned company, their leadership, business expertise and keen focus on the customer, mission and people will provide tremendous value as we chart the way ahead for SAFE Boats.”

For more than 36 years, Lee served in the Coast Guard in various commander and staff member roles that specialized in search-and-rescue and small boat operations, according to the company.

He recently served as the commander of the Atlantic Area overseeing Coast Guard operations from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf. In a statement, he said he’s “honored to join the SAFE Boats team and looks forward to helping this company reach new heights in the global maritime realm.”

“As a former customer, I am keenly aware of the high quality and unique capabilities of their growing product line,” has added. “These factors, coupled with the ethical manner in which they have always done business, rendered this an easy decision.”

Norton, an aviation veteran of the U. S. Marine Corps and U. S. Army, also served for 20 years with Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations, where he held several leadership roles, including director of the National Marine Center.

In that position, he oversaw asset acquisition and training  in all CBP maritime operations, according to SAFE Boats. Norton later moved to the private sector, working for FLIR Systems as director of business development of federal and airborne law enforcement, then as corporate vice president of global customer support. 

Currently, he is president of Los Angeles area-based HeliNet Aviation.

In a statement, Norton said he’s excited to join the SAFE Boats team.

“The men and women at SAFE Boats consistently demonstrate the traits and qualities found in high performing organizations,” he said. “Their commitment to excellence is unparalleled in the industry; I am especially impressed with their cohesiveness, relentless pursuit of perfection and unyielding standard of quality.”  

Kevin Terry.

Terry Named Senior Adviser by Shipbuilders Council of America

The Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), the national association representing the U.S. shipbuilding, maintenance and repair industry, has named Kevin Terry as its senior defense adviser, overseeing the organization’s national ship repair and security, as well as industry workforce development and education initiatives.

With an extensive career spanning nearly 40 years in the public and private sectors supporting ship material readiness for the U.S. Navy, Terry is a seasoned maritime professional.

He began his private sector journey in June 2014 when he joined General Dynamics NASSCO as its Pacific Northwest program manager, and in July 2015, he was appointed the general manager of General Dynamics NASSCO-Norfolk.

In that role, he managed over 800 employees across multiple facilities in Virginia.

Prior to venturing into the private sector ship repair industry, Terry held the position of commanding officer at supervisor of shipbuilding-Newport News, where he was responsible for overseeing the Navy’s aircraft carrier and submarine new construction and repair programs at Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding.

“Our military forces must be prepared and equipped with the vessels required to carry out their missions with maximum safety and effectiveness. SCA is positioned to fulfill a crucial role in ensuring American shipyards meet this national imperative,” Terry said in a statement. “This is why I am proud to join the strong industry advocacy team at SCA, where we will work closely with shipyards nationwide to address these critical issues.”

SCA President Matthew Paxton said in a statement that Terry’s role as SCA’s senior defense adviser is “essential to preserving and advancing U.S. national security.”

“Mr. Terry’s expertise in domestic ship repair operations will be instrumental in his role as an advocate for our industry, where he will champion our mission to improve and strengthen the operational capabilities of U.S. shipyards,” Paxton stated.

Terry assumed the role from Frank Collins on Dec. 15. Collins has become senior vice president of government and public affairs at Titan Acquisition Holdings.

Paxton gave his best wishes to Collins for his service to SCA and the U.S. industrial base.

“Frank has been an exceptional leader and invaluable colleague. As we reflect on his contributions within our organization, we extend our warmest wishes for a smooth journey in his next endeavor.”