Matt Klontz, former Public Works director for the City of Sequim, is the new Director of Capital Projects and Chief Engineer for the Port of Port Townsend. Photo courtesy of Port of Port Townsend

Matt Klontz, former Public Works director for the City of Sequim, is the new Director of Capital Projects and Chief Engineer for the Port of Port Townsend. Photo courtesy of Port of Port Townsend

Klontz, former Sequim public works director, takes job with Port of Port Townsend

Port Townsend native Matt Klontz is leaving his job as Public Works Director for the City of Sequim to take a position with the Port of Port Townsend, the Port announced early this week.

Klontz, 42, who grew up in Port Townsend, is joining the Port as its new Director of Capital Projects and Chief Engineer, a position being vacated by Mike Love..

“Matt is a great fit for the Port team,” said Eron Berg, executive director for the Port of Port Townsend.

“It’s hard to imagine a better fit than an experienced engineer and project manager who grew up right here In Port Townsend coming back home to apply his expertise and experience at the Port.”

For the last six years as Sequim’s city engineer, Klontz has brought his civil engineering skills to a wide variety of projects, including roads, water, sewer, parks and public facilities. Earlier this year he was also named the city’s director of Public Works.

Prior to his Sequim tenure, Klontz worked as an engineer on huge construction projects that included the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge and Washington state highways. In the late 2000s he was transferred to Southern California to work on freeways, light rail and the expansion of the John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

Klontz and his wife Chiarra — also a Port Townsend graduate — decided to raise their family in a small town. He joined the Jefferson County Public Works Department for several years before being hired by Sequim. The couple lives just outside of Port Townsend.

It’s been a good move, he said.

“For the first decade of my career it was all mega projects,” Klontz said. “Once the concrete set I was off to the next project. I was never there to see how it benefited the community. But at Sequim I could see the benefit and get to know the community.

Projects that were small and simple like fixing a sidewalk became some of the most rewarding projects because I knew the impact it had on people for the better.”

At the top of his list for the Port are the rebuilt breakwater jetties for the Point Hudson Marina. While dates are fluid, Klontz is hopeful permits will be issued, funding contracts approved and the project will be underway a year from now in the fall of 2022.

He will also take the lead role with the Port’s stormwater system at the Boat Haven, among many other things.

“I’m excited about it,” Klontz said of his new role. “It’s a really good fit for who I am as a person and an engineer. Even when I landed in Sequim there was a backlog of projects, and they needed someone with a knack for delivering those. That’s something I’ve always been proud of: delivering projects, getting things done.”

Klontz’s parents moved to Port Townsend from Olympia in 1986. A basketball player and track athlete, Klontz worked on the high school annual before graduating from Port Townsend High School in 1998.

Attending Washington State University,

Klontz said he rediscovered his love for math and was a good fit for the engineering department while attending Washington State University; he graduated with a bachelor’s of science degree.

Klontz returned to college to obtain a Masters in Construction Management in 2009, this time from the University of Washington.

“I’m both a Cougar and a Husky,” he said.

He and Chiarra have two sons, Silas, 13, and Arlo, 10, both of whom attend local schools. Chiarra works at Salish Coast Elementary School.

“My hope, when I land at the Port, is to have the same contact with the community, the working boatyard and the tenants, to make improvements that benefit them and the Port, now and into the future,” Klontz said.

Love, whom Klontz replaces, was hired in October 2020 after serving as assistant director of Mount Vernon’s Public Works Department.

In Sequim, one of his many projects included securing funding to refurbish Fir Street by Sequim Schools.

Klontz started with the city in October 2015 as the City Engineer and Assistant Public Works Director. He was appointed public works director in April following the retirement of David Garlington.

Interim city manager Charisse Deschenes said administrative staff started to learn of Klontz’s decision late last week.

“We’re evaluating our options for recruiting a public works director now,” she said.

Deschenes said with new city manager Matt Huish starting in November, he should be involved in the decision-making, recruiting process.

Klontz’s outgoing salary as public works director is $110,858 annually.

He’ll make $127,000 with the Port of Port Townsend, Berg said.

Deschenes said in a statement that Klontz “helped build an excellent Public Works Team and they’ll miss him on the city’s team.

“His positive, servant leadership style is an asset to any organizations that he joins,” she said.

Klontz said in a release he feels “truly fortunate to have worked for the Sequim community.

“I am leaving with a sense of accomplishment and each of those accomplishments was made possible through the support of the City Manager, City Council, and the Sequim community,” Klontz said.

“The experience of the last 18 months changed my perspective. At the heart of my decision to leave is my family. I simply wanted to be near them and share more experiences. Working closer to home will create space in my life to do so. I am deeply saddened to be leaving Sequim, but I am excited about going to work for the Port of Port Townsend. I feel like I will be joining the organization at a time when I can contribute to the Port’s mission.”

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