By Isaac Bonnell
After 15 months of searching, the Port of Bellingham may soon have a new executive director. The port’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Oct. 5 to offer the position to Charles Sheldon, who is currently in charge of special projects on the executive team at the Port of Seattle.
The vote at Tuesday’s port meeting was to authorize the executive search firm Waldron & Company, which has handled the search process for the port, to offer Sheldon the position and begin compensation negotiations.
The vote was the last part of a three-day process that began Sunday when the final three candidates were presented to the public at a meet-and-greet event in Fairhaven, then interviewed by several staff and stakeholder panels on Monday, and taken on a tour of port properties on Tuesday.
After all of that, port commissioners interviewed staff and stakeholders to get their perspectives on the candidates. The consensus was clear, said Commissioner Scott Walker.
“It was almost eerie how close their notes were to our notes on this,” Walker said.
It was Charlie Sheldon’s breadth of experience in port operations that made him stand out above the rest, Walker said.
Before joining the Port of Seattle in 1990, Sheldon was a commercial fisherman on the East Coast for 15 years. Once at the port, he worked his way up to Managing Director of the Seaport Division, which oversees the marinas and commercial shipping terminals. After that, he was involved with the SeaTac third runway project as the director of the Capital Improvement Program in the Aviation Division.
Sheldon has a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University and a Master’s of Science from the University of Massachusetts.