Port of Grays Harbor Deputy Executive Director Leonard Barnes has been chosen as the port’s next executive director. He is succeeding Gary Nelson, who is expected to retire in March.
The Port of Grays Harbor Commission is expected to consider Barnes’ employment agreement at its Jan. 9 meeting. It was at a special Dec. 14 meeting that the commission authorized port Director of Finance and Administration Mike Folkers and legal counsel Art Blauvelt to begin employment agreement talks with Barnes.
Barnes began his career at the port in 1984. Since becoming deputy executive director role in 2005, he has been in charge of business development, industrial property leases and airport and marine terminal operations at the port.
He has been active in a number of organizations, including the Northwest Marine Terminals Association, Washington Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board, Washington Public Ports Association and the American Association of Port Authorities.
“He is most certainly the right person for the job as our largest customer nears a major expansion and we take on the largest infrastructure improvement project in the history of the port,” Port Commission President Tom Quigg said. “We have a high degree of confidence that Mr. Barnes will be a great leader for the Port of Grays Harbor.”
Port Commission Secretary Stan Pinnick said that Barnes “has a proven track record of developing and maintaining customer and community partnerships, bringing economic development and jobs opportunities to the table, and possesses an extensive knowledge of international and business markets.”
In a statement, Barnes said that he’s grateful for the chance to lead the port during a transformational time.
“With so many exciting and important projects on the horizon, I look forward to seeing them to fruition for our partners and our community,” he remarked.