Jim Pivarnik spent 15 years as deputy director at the Port of Port Townsend before re-routing to the Port of Port Kingston for a leadership position. Two years later, Pivarnik has announced that he will be returning to his home port for a year as Interim Executive Director, after which he plans to retire.
“When I left here to go to Kingston it was a different time, a different commission, and a different feeling,” Pivarnik said in reflection. He continued, “The reason I came back was that I realized, through this process, I left my own community. Port Townsend has been my home for 20 years, and given the opportunity to come back and be part of helping my community was really important to me.”
Pivarnik entered the Port of Kingston at a chaotic time, but under his leadership, lawsuits were settled and relationships rebuilt. He reflects, “I think we were successful in getting some of that trust back,” he said. “I feel that’s one of my best accomplishments.”
However, Pivarnik’s last year in the workforce won’t be all that easy. The Port of Port Townsend is underfunded with two degrading Point Hudson jetties and other decaying infrastructure that needs to either be repaired or replaced. Most of the port was built back in the 1960s with little-to-no maintenance since.
The port has also encountered issues with finances and leases. Pivarnik isn’t concerned. He explains that the port’s issues are due to many factors, one being how the government works. He continues to explain that “a lowly assistant manager of a port does not make decisions. It’s a process. That is not only an executive director’s job and not one commissioner’s job, it’s the job of the body politic. This is what we need to do.”
Pivarnik has two additional tasks on his to-do list during his next 12 months at Port Townsend. He explains, “The stormwater project is the biggest thing we’re doing. There are 450 jobs related to that. We gotta get it right,” he urges. Secondly, he hopes to revisit and rework the Northwest Maritime Center’s proposal to manage the Point Hudson Marina campus to satisfy all who are involved.
Of all the projects he plans to take on in the next year as deputy director at Port Townsend, he feels the toughest job will be finding a successor. He continues, “As treasurer of the WPPA [Washington Public Ports Association], I know the pool out there. We should really try to find someone who understands this community. I came from Salem, Oregon, and I had a dream that I could fit into this community. I did. It can be done.”