Eric Toews was named deputy director of the Port of Port Townsend as part of an effort to consolidate administrative roles. Toews previously served as acting director after the departure of former executive director Sam Gibboney. Port Executive Director Jim Pivarnik moved Toews to the deputy position after receiving approval from the port commission.
Since the hire of Jim Pivarnik, the port has begun to merge and consolidate positions in order to save money, eliminating the communications position and director of operations position. Management of the port will now be overseen by Toews, Pivarnik, and Director of Finance Abigail Berg. “When Greg [Englin, former director of operations] left, it left a big hole here obviously, so what Eric and I have decided to do is to split up his duties,” Pivarnik said in a press release. “In the deputy director position, it is two-fold. One, he is the de-facto operations person, and when I’m gone he is basically in charge. He has signature authority and will be able to take over the port if I’m gone.”
Although Toews grew up in California, he had family ties to the Port Townsend area; his grandfather owned a dairy farm overlooking the bay. Toews visited the farm frequently during his childhood and decided he wanted to move to the Northwest. After completing law school, he and his wife did just that. Toews combined his legal knowledge with land use planning, working in government at both the county and city level. He was contracted by the Port in 2010 to work on its first Strategic Plan, hired as staff in 2016, and briefly served as acting director in 2018.
Upcoming projects for Toews and the port include the rebuild of the Jefferson County International Airport, and improving the Boat Haven’s stormwater system and the Point Hudson south jetty. The port’s budget has been tight for the past few years due to a small tax base. Its main source of income is from leases and moorage fees. Merging management positions is one way the port is saving money in 2019.
The smaller administrative staff increases the pressure to complete upcoming projects, but the team feels up to the challenge. Toews especially is up for the additional responsibility. “Being at the port is the most direct route to sustaining and building upon the vision of retaining an authentic working waterfront long into the future,” said Toews “I want to do all I can to achieve that working waterfront vision.”