About the Washington Public Ports Association (WPPA)
As a state legislative and regulatory advocacy organization, the Washington Public Ports Association (WPPA) fosters public policy for ports to achieve their goals. The WPPA was formed by the legislature in 1961 to represent public port districts throughout Washington, serving as the focus through which ports work cooperatively to develop policy direction, share information, and address issues on economic development, trade, transportation, and environmental stewardship. Public port districts offer a wide range of locally governed services including marine terminals, barge facilities, industrial development, marinas, airports, railroads, and tourism promotion.
The Board of Trustees governs the affairs of the Association. The Board consists of one member from each port and meets twice annually. Trustees are chosen by a majority vote of their respective port commissions. The Board of Trustees authorizes a six-member Executive Committee to oversee Association administration and management and hires an Executive Director to manage day-to-day Association activities.
WPPA is committed to promoting the interests of Washington Ports and maintaining the State’s leading role in the maritime industry.
WPPA is the voice of Washington Ports before the Legislature, Congress, other government agencies, and stakeholders. We are the catalyst for promoting communication between ports and developing a broad public understanding of the important roles of ports across the state.
WPPA fosters broad participation and values and respects the differing opinions this creates. We are committed to delivering high-quality programs, products, and services to all members; advocating on behalf of member ports; and appreciating and recognizing the diversity of our membership.
There are 75 public port districts in Washington. Large and small, east and west, Washington’s ports are active in many different areas of economic development, providing jobs and economic vitality for their communities, as well as environmental remediation, providing transportation facilities for trade, and recreation and quality of life improvements.
With 40 percent of our jobs tied to international trade, Washington state relies on both imports and exports for our high quality of life and ports are an integral part of delivering these benefits. Our inland ports are also key economic drivers, participating in this trade economy and functioning as the state’s premier economic development agencies.
Washington’s port districts are a unique form of government known as special purpose districts, locally governed and separate from a city, town, or county government. The primary focus of a port is economic development, with the end result of creating jobs that pay a family wage and encourage growth in the port district – and often beyond.
Ports concentrate on developing capital infrastructure and are able to finance these long-term investments with four different sources of revenue: taxes, service fees, debt, and grants or gifts.
About the Position
The Washington Public Ports Association focuses on the areas of legislation that affect port interests, including economic development, environmental policy, transportation and trade, aviation, tax, land use, public assets and public works, among others.
Under the Executive Committee, the Executive Director has two important roles. The first is the responsibility for carrying out the strategic mission of WPPA. The second is the responsibility for managing operations and ensuring WPPA is a leader in providing its members valued services to include government relations, education, and strong advocacy for economic development, land use, trade, the environment, aviation and long-range planning for public assets. The Executive Director will provide leadership and management to a staff of seven and oversees an annual budget in excess of $1 million.
Essential functions include:
Coordinates the development of association policies in cooperation with the President, Executive Committee and Board of Trustees.
Facilitates meetings of the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees and implements Executive Committee and Board directives.
Leads and develops the association’s legislative and executive agencies’ program, which includes setting priorities in conjunction with the Executive Committee, WPPA’s Legislative Committee, association staff, and stakeholders.
Oversees a sophisticated meeting and seminar program.
Serves as WPPA’s principal spokesperson to the State and Federal executive, legislative, and judicial branches, the private business sector, interest groups and other agencies.
Directs and supervises WPPA’s staff and is responsible for teamwork, hiring, goal setting, training and development, succession planning and day-to-day human resource matters.
Responsible for day-to-day liaison and communications with association membership; coordinates and provides staff support to association committees and other functions.
Develops coalitions with allied organizations and implements cooperative activities in support of the association’s goals and programs.
Interacts with diverse groups and businesses at hearings and other functions, testifies before legislative and administrative groups; drafts testimony, position papers and other written materials; and enhances legislator and other stakeholders understanding of port issues and value.
Leads planning and programming for Annual Meetings, Spring Meetings and other workshops and programs to ensure they meet member needs.
Works with the Office Business Manager to manage the WPPA building asset. This includes lease management, tenant interactions, building maintenance and repair contracting, and marketing of vacant offices.
Environmental Stewardship and Brownfield Cleanup: Many ports have large, multi-year cleanup projects from historic industrial activity that require significant support from the State. Several of these ports would like to propose legislation to reaffirm the importance of the state funding partnership, to provide necessary funding by increasing the hazardous substances tax and to authorize the Department of Ecology to contractually commit the legislature to fund the State share of cleanup projects.
Transportation Funding: Transportation leadership in both chambers are expected to propose a modest increase to the gas tax and a possible carbon tax to provide for quickening major project completion and removal of fish passage barriers. Ports advocate for freight mobility and efficient systems that manage local and global supply chains.
Economic Development: The WPPA will continue to advocate for tax policy, financing mechanisms, and increased funding for local governments to build public infrastructure which supports private business growth and expansion.
The Ideal Candidate
For this important role, the WPPA seeks a seasoned leader who is deeply committed to the success of the Ports and is a strategic big-picture thinker. The ideal candidate will be an accomplished professional who exhibits a high level of transparency, diplomacy, and professionalism.
The Executive Director must be a creative, innovative team player who can work effectively with the Ports and Legislature. The Executive Director should bring an entrepreneurial spirit and be committed to supporting the best interests of the Ports. This is a visible public position with significant responsibility. Honesty and integrity are critical.
The Executive Director must be politically savvy, comfortable seeking and receiving input from the Executive Committee, Board of Trustees and members and adept at working with the media.
The Executive Director must have demonstrated leadership skills and set a standard by engaging people at all levels – from staff and Trustees to partners and members. For this important role the Board seeks a dynamic, highly credible, unifying leader who is deeply committed to the success of the WPPA and who will be able to deliver the level of services that members value.
The Executive Director must be eager to make a personal investment in the long-term success of WPPA. Proven leadership experience and political acumen are essential. Candidates should bring strengths in both external relations and internal management with an ability to balance the two.
The Executive Director’s starting salary depends on experience and qualifications. The salary range is $175,000-$210,000.
Total compensation is competitive and will be dependent on experience and abilities. The WPPA offers an excellent package of benefits. This includes medical, vision and dental, and a car allowance. In addition, the WPPA offers 20 days of vacation leave, paid holidays, sick leave, family and bereavement leave, a fully funded 401(a) pension plan, and access to Washington State’s deferred compensation plan.
A bachelor’s degree and seven years or more of progressively responsible management experience leading major functions within municipal government, a professional association or Port. The preferred candidate will have substantial experience working with the Legislature. Experience working with a board, council or commission and an advanced degree is preferred.
Persons interested in this position must submit a cover letter and a current resume.
If you have questions regarding this announcement, please call Marissa Karras at 360-956-1336. The position will remain open until filled; however, the screening process will move quickly. Please submit your application materials at www.karrasconsulting.net as soon as possible but no later than August 12, 2019.
The WPPA is an equal opportunity employer, values workplace diversity and seeks to create an environment and culture that embraces employee differences. All qualified applicants are considered in accordance with applicable laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, marital status or veteran status or any other legally protected status. We will provide assistance in the recruitment, application and selection process to applicants with disabilities who request such assistance.
LIVE AND WORK IN A GREAT CITY
The position is located in Olympia, the capital city of Washington State. Olympia is a vibrant city with a small town feel conveniently situated between Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Mount Rainier and the rugged Cascade Mountains provide majestic scenery to the east while Washington’s Pacific Coast is just an hour’s drive to the west. Olympia enjoys the benefits of an engaged and educated community and a well-supported school system, augmented by two universities and a community college.