After 31 years, Port Commissioner Fabulich retires

After more than three decades on the Port of Tacoma Commission, Chairman of the Board Jack Fabulich yesterday struck the gavel for the final time to close a Commission meeting.
When Fabulich first served as a Commissioner 31 years ago, the Port of Tacoma was a small regional port focused on breakbulk and grain, logs and other natural resource-based cargoes. “Jack’s leadership helped change us from that sleepy little port of 1976 to one of North America’s premier container ports today,” said Dick Marzano, a longtime Tacoma longshoreman and current President of the Port Commission.
Fabulich and his fellow Commissioners helped bring Sea-Land, Maersk Line, Hyundai Merchant Marine, “K” Line, Evergreen and Yang Ming Line to Tacoma, increasing the Port’s container volumes from 85,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in 1977 to nearly 2.1 million TEUs today.
Meanwhile, total the Port’s auto business grew from 19,000 to 178,000 units, and total tonnage expanded from 3.9 to 19.9 million short tons.
“While we have certainly grown and become a highly regarded Port,” said Fabulich, “I am most proud of the economic impact that our growing operations has brought to our region. From 1982 — just before the arrival of Sea Land — to today, Port-related, family-wage jobs in Pierce County have grown from about 12,000 to more than 43,000. And we’ve built this regional economic foundation while protecting and restoring our environment.”
According to Port of Tacoma Executive Director Timothy J. Farrell, Fabulich’s leadership will pay even greater dividends in the years ahead, with 2010-2012 construction of a $300 million, 168-acre (68-hectare) container terminal for NYK Line and the repositioning of an expanded Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE) terminal.
“Perhaps more than anyone else, Commissioner Fabulich has contributed to our customers’ success, and the economic strength and community vitality that makes Tacoma such a remarkable place to live and work,” Farrell said.
To honor his contributions to the Port and the Greater Tacoma community, fellow Commissioners and Port staff honored Fabulich Wednesday by rededicating the Port Business Center, a five-story office building that hosts Commission meetings, as The Fabulich Center.
In addition to his work for the Port, Fabulich is the former President of Tacoma-based Parker Paint Manufacturing Company. He is a graduate of the Tacoma’s University of Puget Sound and a U.S. Navy veteran. He helped found the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County and is a member of the Executive Board of the Puget Sound Regional Council and the Tacoma Chapter of the Propeller Club of the United States. He served on the Board of the Washington Public Ports Association and the Board of Directors of Columbia Bank.