By Mark Edward Nero
The Port of Vancouver USA Board of Commissioners on Jan. 24 voted 2-1 to hire interim CEO Julianna Marler as the port’s permanent CEO/Executive Director.
“I deeply appreciate the commission’s support and the rigorous process they went through to select me as CEO,” Marler said. “The Port of Vancouver plays a significant role in building a strong, healthy and vibrant region, and I look forward leading the port into to a thriving future.”
Marler, who was appointed interim CEO by the board in May 2016, was one of three finalists for the position. The other two were current Port of Olympia Executive Director Edward Galligan, and Arthur Scheunemann, former President and CEO of the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County.
“We had three highly qualified candidates, and that made this a hard decision,” Commission President Brian Wolfe said. “I believe Julianna is best suited to take us forward and realize the vision this port has for connecting with the community and bringing economic benefit to our region.”
“Julianna was stacked up against the best of the industry and she’s the most qualified candidate,” Commission Vice President Eric LaBrant said. “I think this positions us well for moving forward with the vision this port has for its future.”
Commission Secretary Jerry Oliver cast the dissenting vote, but said he would support the CEO selected by the commission.
“I’m excited for what lies ahead and look forward to working with Ms. Marler to realize the opportunities that will mean so much to this port and the community,” Oliver said.
With the vote to hire Marler, the Board of Commissioners directed port Director of Human Resources Jonathan Eder to negotiate terms of employment, including salary, benefits and a start date, which must be approved by the commission.
The port said it expects to present this as an action item at the next regularly scheduled Board of Commissioners meeting, scheduled for Feb. 14.
If approved, she would replace ex-CEO Todd Coleman, who stepped down from the position in May 2016.
Coleman, an engineer by trade, began his career with the port in 2001, when he was hired as facilities manager. After three promotions, he was named deputy executive director in 2005. He was appointed CEO in 2012 and said at the time that he intended to lead the port for just four years.