Port to Interview Finalists for Executive Director




Port of Walla Walla to Interview Finalists for Executive Director Position

Press Contact Information:
Paul Gerola, Interim Executive Director
PH: 509-525-3100
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Walla Walla, WA, April 6, 2016 – The Port of Walla Walla Commission will interview four candidates to become the Port’s next Executive Director.  On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, the community is invited to an open house/community reception for the finalists at the Marcus Whitman Hotel from 4:30 to 7:00 PM.  At the open house/community reception the public will have the opportunity to meet and interact with the candidates and provide written comments that will be forwarded directly to the Port of Walla Walla Commissioners.  The candidates will be interviewed the following day on Thursday, April 14, 2016 by a panel consisting of the three Port of Walla Walla Commissioners, three members of the Port administrative staff, and three members from the community selected by the Port Commission.  Also in attendance for the executive session interviews will be the Port’s legal counsel, Tom Baffney, and the Prothman representative, John Hodgson. 

The four candidates include:

Jennifer Dickinson has been the Manager for the Port of Columbia, a countywide port district for Columbia County, Washington, since 2007.  From 1999-2007, she was Executive Director of the Dayton, Washington, Chamber of Commerce, and served the Associate Development Organization for Columbia County half-time during this period. Ms. Dickinson has been on a number of boards, including the Southeast Washington Economic Development Association, the Palouse Regional Transportation Planning Organization, the Columbia Regional Economic Development Trust and the Washington Economic Development Association. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from Washington State University.

K.C. Kuykendall is owner and principal consultant for Sustainable Solutions Group, LLC, which he started in 2009. Recently, he was Global Supply Chain Manager for Kurion, Inc., Richland, Washington, an international corporate technology firm, and prior to that, he was Director of Energy & Sustainability for Vista Engineering Technologies, also in Richland. He was also owner and president of Second Chance Renovations, Inc., a green-building general contractor, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from 2004-2009, and owner and president of QII Advisors Group, Inc., also in Colorado Springs, from 1999-2004. Mr. Kuykendall is a council member for the City of Waitsburg, Washington, and he is on the Walla Walla County Planning Commission. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Colorado.

Patrick Reay has been the City Administrator for the City of College Place, Washington, since 2004.  Prior to that, he was City Administrator for the City of Irrigon, Oregon, for five years. He also served as the Community/Economic Development Specialist for the IDA-ORE Planning & Development Association, Boise, Idaho, and he was Assistant Planner for the Baker County, Oregon, Planning Department early in his career. Mr. Reay’s community involvement and service includes the Walla Walla Fair Board, the Educational Advisory Committee of the Association of Washington Cities, and the Cities Insurance Association of Washington Board. He has Bachelor of Science degrees in Liberal Studies and Business Administration from Eastern Oregon State College.

Arthur Scheunemann was most recently Senior Vice President of Business Development for Northwest Container Services, Seattle, Washington, and was with the company for over 11 years. Prior to that, he was the President & CEO for the Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County for almost six years, and he was Managing Director for the Market Development Division of the Washington State Department of Agriculture for over ten years.  Mr. Scheunemann was also a founding member and Executive Director of the Washington Wine Marketing Advisory Council from 1983-1987. He has a bachelor’s degree in Education from Augsburg College in Minnesota and a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Washington State University.

On Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 4:00 PM, the Port Commission will hold a special port commission public meeting to discuss the qualifications of the candidates and will indicate their choice for the new executive director in open public session.  The Port Commission will then direct the Port attorney and one Port Commission member to negotiate an employment contract with the proposed new Executive Director. The employment contract will be reviewed and approved, and the appointment of the new Executive Director confirmed, at the next Port Commission regular meeting on April 28, 2016.

The Port hired Prothman, an executive search firm, to help with the search and hiring of a new Executive Director.  After a review of the written applications Prothman interviewed candidates that best met the Port’s profile for the position. Prothman then met with the Port Commission to review the results of those interviews and the Port Commissioners chose the four finalists.

The Port is governed by three elected Commissioners, Mike Fredrickson, Peter Swant and Ron Dunning. The Port was founded in 1952 and is the lead economic development agency for Walla Walla County. The Port has been the recipient of the Port of the Year Award by the Washington Public Ports Association for its leadership in enhancing the economic vitality of Southeastern Washington.