Port of Coupeville interviewed four potential candidates for the executive director position, choosing a Port Townsend candidate who has previous experience with ports.
Forrest Rambo, a former Port Townsend City Council member who served a year as mayor, was selected unanimously by the board of commissioners.
Current Executive Director David Day says he expects to have an employment contract for review and signing at the Nov. 11 port meeting.
Initial budget numbers show the position budgeted in 2016 at $50,000 annual salary.
The port board selected four candidates from the nearly 20 applications received for the position.
Those candidates were asked the same six questions in public session.
Questions centered upon the candidates’ experience and abilities with public process, port regulations, management style, budget experience and other aspects related to port issues.
Rambo has experience within the private and public port arena, he said.
As someone who has once lived on his boat, Rambo said he began attending port commissioner meetings in 1981.
He has worked as a manager for three different marinas and dealt with government issues in relations to ports.
“In researching this position and the Port of Coupeville, I’ve become aware of issues challenging the port, such as governance transparency, financial management, the future of the Greenbank Farm property, and community relations.” Rambo wrote in his application letter. “These are very similar to issues I successfully dealt with as general manager of Point Hudson Resort & Marina and mayor of Port Townsend.”
During his interview, Rambo addressed the issues he’s seen with the port and Greenbank Farm.
“The port has a huge community relations problem,” he said. “There are steps that can be taken so the public can have more participation.”
In his professional experience, Rambo said he’s overseen staff ranging from 5-17 people and works to develop a team.
His management style is “firm, fair and friendly” and there needs to be some fun in there.
“You have to have some humor on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
Port Commissioner Marshall Bronson said Rambo was chosen because of his previous experience with ports.
His experience cultivating revenue generating changes while working at Point Hudson were also deemed favorable when looking at needs at the Greenbank Farm.
During his time there, Rambo created new revenue by re-purposing facilities.
He converted a former commanding officer’s residence into a beachfront B&B, remodeled registration office space and a marina store into a 49-seat waterfront restaurant and reconfigured storage space into flexible rooms for meetings and special events.
While currently living in Port Townsend, Rambo said he and his wife will relocate to Whidbey Island.
Day’s employment contract ends Dec. 31. The board hopes to have Rambo on board earlier to work alongside Day before his departure.