Candidate interviews set for Port of Port Angeles executive director position

A NATO staff member, a New York City Economic Development Corp. executive and a former Port of Columbia County, Ore., real estate and business development manager are finalists for the Port of Port Angeles’ executive director position.

Port commissioners will interview Geoffrey C. James, Justin Poulsen and Caleb McMahon in public at a virtual meeting and with limited seating available at the port administrative office at 11 a.m., noon and 1:15 p.m. Thursday.

They may select a finalist candidate late Friday afternoon.

Commissioners are accepting potential questions from the public in advance for Thursday’s interviews.

Queries must be submitted by noon today (Wednesday, April 28) to portangeles@thebeckettgroup.org.

Jeannie Beckett, the Gig Harbor consultant hired by the port to assist in finding a replacement for outgoing Executive Director Karen Goschen, provided profiles of the three candidates Tuesday.

James will be interviewed at 11 a.m. Thursday.

James, who has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University, enlisted in the Navy in 1986 and was branch Chief for Current Operations to the International Military staff at NATO headquartered in Brussels.

He advised and developed military advice for the 30 nations of the Military Committee for consideration by the North Atlantic Council on all matters concerning NATO’s operations, missions and activities.

James retired this spring and plans to settle in Clallam County.

“Geoff’s vision for the Port of Port Angeles is to work with the communities and elected representatives to identify opportunities to develop long-term strategies for balanced economic growth and resiliency,” according to his profile.

Poulsen will be interviewed at noon Thursday.

A Pacific Northwest native, Poulsen has a bachelor’s degree in marine transportation from the California Maritime Academy and spent 10 years in cruise industry strategic planning and revenue management, according to his profile.

As vice president and executive director at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, he oversees the portfolio for the Port of New York City’s that includes maritime, aviation, rail and cruise assets.

“Justin’s vision for the Port of Port Angeles is simple: modernize, diversify and develop lines of business while continuing to embrace the port’s legacy industries, strengthen collaboration with community and regional partners, and to establish the port as a leader in attracting and nurturing innovative ideas and talent,” according to his profile.

McMahon will be interviewed at 1:15 p.m. Thursday.

Hired by the Port of Columbia County in 2019, McMahon assisted in business attraction, real estate and management of the port’s deep water port, according to his profile.

The port has a 1,500-foot pier and two other piers in its industrial parks. McMahon also managed the marina, airport and its five industrial parks and worked on a $1.2 million biodiesel plant.

McMahon has a bachelor’s degree in international business from Missouri Southern State University and a law degree from the University of Arkansas with a focus in international and corporate law.

“Caleb’s key aspiration for the Port of Port Angeles is simple, to attract business and promote business expansion to create new high paying jobs,” according to the profile.

Join the meeting Thursday by going to us02web.zoom.us/j/82957064659 or calling 253-215 8782. The meeting ID is 829 5706 4659. No passcode is required.

The applicants be will interviewed by port staff Friday morning.

Port commissioners will interview the candidates individually Friday afternoon in executive session before discussing them in executive session from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

They will discuss the candidates in open session beginning at 5:15 p.m. and will decide whether to select a top candidate with whom to negotiate a contract.

The salary range for the position is $144,000 to $170,000. The executive director will oversee an $8.4 million 2021 operating budget and a port staff of fewer than 50 employees.

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