Port of Tacoma commissioners name Wolfe top CEO candidate

Port of Tacoma Commissioners Friday selected interim Executive Director John Wolfe as their top candidate from among five finalists for the permanent job to lead the Port of Tacoma.

The other finalists considered for the chief executive officer position included Brian Boyle, a former PortsAmerica executive; Bernard Groseclose, former CEO of South Carolina State Ports Authority; Ned LaGoy, an executive with Sea Star Shipping in Puerto Rico; and Ali Nikkhoo, a former shipping line and trucking company executive.

Wolfe has served as the deputy executive director of the Port of Tacoma since June 2005. Prior to joining the Port of Tacoma, he served for two years as the executive director of the Port of Olympia, and before that as Olympia’s director of operations and marine terminal general manager. Wolfe also spent 10 years with Maersk Sealand/APM Terminals in Tacoma, most recently as the terminal’s operations manager.

A native of Puyallup, Wash., Wolfe earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pacific Lutheran University in 1987.

Shey-Harding Associates, of California, was hired in March to find a permanent replacement for former Executive Director Tim Farrell, who left the top job at the end of 2009. Wolfe stepped in Jan. 1 to serve as interim executive director. The job attracted 59 applicants. Commissioners narrowed the field to five finalists during a May 27 public work session. The five finalists toured the Port, met with customers, community members and employees at a reception at Port headquarters, and interviewed with commissioners earlier this week.

The commissioners and Shey-Harding will begin negotiations soon with Wolfe on a contract for the permanent position.