Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bellingham Port Names New Top Exec

After a nearly 15-month wait and at least one failed round of candidates, the Port of Bellingham has selected a new top executive.

The port commission on Tuesday selected Charles Sheldon, a 20-year veteran of the Port of Seattle, to be the port's new executive director. The 63-year-old Sheldon is currently serving as a special projects coordinator for the Seattle port's executive team.

Bellingham commissioners praised Sheldon's long track record with Seattle and his experience with large development projects such as the third runway project at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Sheldon, who beat out two other finalists, will reportedly be paid in the middle of the advertised range for the position of $125,000 to $135,000.

Earlier this year, the port announced five finalists for the executive director position after whittling down a pool of more than 110 applicants. Shortly before a round of public meetings to introduce the candidates, two of the five finalists removed their names from contention. Port officials then decided they wanted additional candidates beyond the three remaining finalists. Although the three individuals were asked to keep their names in contention, each withdrew his name shortly after the port decision to expand the candidate pool.

Sheldon was part of a second pool of three candidates pulled from the original applicant pool.

Port Facilities Director Fred Seeger has served as the port's interim executive director since the resignation of former port top executive Jim Darling in June 2009.