Port of Olympia, Executive Director Part Ways

(Left) Former Port of Olympia Executive Director Sam Gibboney. (Right) Interim Port of Olympia Executive Director Rudy Rudolph. Photos: Port of Olympia.

The Port of Olympia is looking for a new executive director.

Earlier this month, the port commission accepted the “separation of service” from former Executive Director Sam Gibboney and on Sept. 20 announced its plans to seek a replacement in the coming months. 

In the interim, the port has installed 19-year port veteran Rudy Rudolph as acting executive director while a search for a new permanent executive director is conducted.

“During this transitional period, the commission is committed to prioritizing and ensuring a seamless leadership transition while maintaining the port’s stability and effectiveness,” according to the port’s announcement.

Gibboney became the port’s executive director in 2018. She was previously the executive director of the Port of Port Townsend and prior to that, was the director of community development in San Juan County, Wash.

Gibboney was on medical leave from the port from early June through early August. She was then placed on administrative leave Aug. 7, which is when Rudolph was named the port’s interim head.

In June, just prior to her going on leave, the Port of Olympia Commission voted 2-1 to give her a 4% raise, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2023. It increase raised Gibboney’s salary from $191,227 to $198,876. Commissioners Joe Downing and Bob Iyall voted in favor of the raise, while Commissioner Amy Evans Harding dissented.

Gibboney last couple of years at the helm at the port were rocky, beginning with a vote of no confidence she received from about two dozen employees unhappy with her leadership, The Olympian newspaper reported.

The Port of Olympia’s executive director reports to three-member elected port commission and oversees all management and operations of the Port of Olympia. The person leads a port staff of about 50 people and an average annual budget of $22 million.

The port manages operations for a breakbulk deepwater marine terminal, Swantown Marina and Boatworks—Washington state’s seventh largest marina—as well as the Olympia Regional Airport, and a wide range of commercial and industrial properties throughout Thurston County.