Dear Northwest Seaport Supporters and Volunteers,
After serving on the Board of Directors for the past five years, I have been given the chance to lead Northwest Seaport for the next two. In this role, I stand on the shoulders of my predecessors and will continue the process of growing the organization that has been underway since I came aboard.
Thanks to Joe Shickich, president when I joined the board, we were able to preserve the memories, history, and construction details of the schooner WAWONA. Thanks to our maritime heritage partners, WAWONA artifacts continue to educate people about the importance of our shipping and fishing industries. In addition, the documentation procedures developed by Northwest Seaport have set the standard for other maritime museums around the world that cannot afford to keep all of their historic vessels afloat.
More recently, we have invested over $1M in grants and matching funds to preserve the hull and abate the lead and asbestos on Lightship 83. We have started installing her new deck and are embarking on a capital campaign to complete her restoration. This success has been due in large part to the commitment of Immediate Past President Shannon Fitzgerald. Shannon made sure we got the most from our money and took on the monumental task of completing all the grant paperwork when we lost our project manager.
Over the last year, we have heard from many segments of the maritime industry that there is a need to encourage more young people to consider maritime careers, both at sea and on shore. To help meet this need, we will be integrating job skills training into our restoration and educational programs and promoting opportunities with our industry and heritage partners. Our vision is to be a centrally located, highly visible gateway to maritime careers and, with our partners, provide opportunities for basic training. Being moored just outside the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Lake Union Park, we are also in a great location to showcase the importance of the maritime industry to Seattle’s future, as well as its past.
To bring this vision to life, we will be working with shipyards, vessel operators, and labor to promote the industry to high schools, colleges, and the public at large; with social service agencies and vocational organizations to develop effective educational and training programs; and with the heritage and arts communities to preserve our fleet and bring it to life.
I am excited to take the helm for the next leg of Northwest Seaport’s journey and look forward to working with our Board of Directors, staff, and the diverse communities of Seattle to create the place where industry, education, and heritage converge, raising all of our boats. I welcome your suggestions and ideas as we plot our course forward and I look forward to seeing you at our May events, including the Stories of the Sea contest on May 8th and the Maritime Festival on May 10th &11th.
President, Northwest Seaport
(View signed letter(pdf): Northwest Seaport Presidents Message April 25 2014)
Colleen Browne, Treasurer, retired in 2009 from the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, where she was the Pro Parks Levy/Major Maintenance Manager. As a Capital Projects Manager at Seattle Parks, she was the lead on the Historic Ships Wharf, Lake Union Park, Luna Park, and the multi-million dollar Seattle Aquarium makeover project completed in 2007.
Shannon Fitzgerald, Secretary, is the Manager of the Coordinated Seabird Studies Group at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he has been a biologist and scientist for 23 years.
Jim Flies ,Vice President, is the Quality Systems Manager for Harley Marine Services, Inc. Previously, he served as the Academic Dean and the Dean of Students at Seattle Preparatory School, where he taught for twenty years.