Port of Tacoma: Executive Director Riniker will retire in December

At the October 7 Port of Tacoma Commission meeting, Andrea Riniker, the Port’s Executive Director, announced her intention to transition out of the position at the end of the year. Riniker recently returned to the Port after taking a three-month sabbatical.

At the meeting, the Port Commission indicated their interest in having the Port’s current Deputy Executive Director Tim Farrell succeed Riniker as Executive Director. Over the next few weeks, the Port Commission plans to meet with Farrell to evaluate requirements for the position, and negotiate an employment agreement with him. The Commission does not plan to interview any other candidates for this position while having these discussions with Farrell. It is expected that these discussions will be concluded by the end of October.

“Tim has proven himself throughout his four years at the Port of Tacoma, and especially during the last three months,” said Clare Petrich, President of the Port of Tacoma Commission. “Under Tim’s leadership, major Port projects continued to move forward, and key strategic issues were addressed. We haven’t missed a beat.”

Riniker has served as Executive Director of the Port of Tacoma since 1997. Prior to joining the Port of Tacoma, she spent five years as Deputy Executive Director of the Port of Seattle.

“Andrea has given her heart and soul to our Port, and to our community,” Petrich said. “Through her leadership and her focus, the Port has made tremendous strides in our relationships and success with our customers, our community, and our employees.”

During Riniker’s tenure as Executive Director, the Port of Tacoma increased container throughput by 62 percent, to a record 1.74 million TEUs in 2003; became the fifth largest container port in North America, and the largest container port in the Pacific Northwest; and broadened the Port’s focus to include economic development and community development investments and contributions (e.g. the Port contributed $500,000 to the University of Washington Tacoma Technology Institute).

A major gateway to Asia and Alaska, the Port of Tacoma is the largest container port in the Pacific Northwest, handling 1.74 million TEUs (Twenty-foot ‘containers’) in 2003. Other major freight categories include automobiles, bulk cargoes, breakbulk and project/heavy lift cargoes. This activity creates 28,400 family wage jobs in the region while contributing more than $471 million in annual wages in Pierce County and $77 million each year in state and local taxes.

Over the next few months, Riniker plans to wrap up a variety of Port projects, and assure a smooth transition in leadership. Although her long-range future plans aren’t finalized, Riniker indicated that she will stay in the Puget Sound area.