Port picks finalists for vacant executive director position

The Port of Bellingham has finalists for its vacant executive director position.

Three candidates, which were chosen from a field of 95, were announced during a port commission meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

The finalists will be in Bellingham from Oct. 29-30. Port officials are holding a public reception and introduction at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven.

Former executive Charlie Sheldon resigned in April amid disputes with port commission president Scott Walker and other staffers. Sheldon’s resignation set off a wave of controversy and angry public comments directed toward the commission last spring.

In the interim, port deputy director and CFO Rob Fix stepped in to handle executive duties.

Port commissioners will make the final decision on who will take over. That decision is expected to be made later this fall.

An executive director would early a salary between $130,000 and $155,000. The executive would oversee a port authority that today operates the Bellingham International Airport, Fairhaven Transportation Station, the Bellingham Shipping Terminal and the Bellingham Cruise Terminal.

More than 250 business operate on port property. The agency also employs about 90 full-time workers.

Meet the finalists 

Jonathan Daniels- Current executive director for the Port of Oswego, N. Y. He has held that position since 2007. Previously, he held various leadership positions with the Eastern Maine Development Corporation, the city of Bangor, Maine, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, LA.; and Eastport Port Authority in Eastport, Maine. Daniels earned a bachelor’s degree in international politics and foreign affairs from The Citadel in South Carolina and pursued graduate studies in maritime management at the Maine Maritime Academy.

William (Bill) Panos- Now the public works and port director for the city of West Sacramento, Calif. He has held that position since 2007. Previously, Panos served in leadership positions for the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Los Angeles Unified Schools, Calif., Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, TRW Automotive Group and the California State University Chancellor’s Office. Panos earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University.

Les Reardanz- Current chief administration officer for the Port of Everett, a position he has held since in January 2011. Previously, Reardanz served in both legal and leadership level positions for more than 10 years at the city of Bellingham. Reardanz, an attorney, also worked for several private law firms. He is a captain and a general counsel attorney in the United States Navy Reserve. Reardanz earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, and his Juris Doctor from Southwestern University School of Law in California.

Contact Evan Marczynski at evan@bbjtoday.com or call 360-647-8805. 

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