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News / Clark County News

Port of Camas-Washougal commissioners search for next CEO

New hire will replace longtime CEO David Ripp, who is retiring later this year

By Doug Flanagan, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: March 30, 2024, 6:02am

The Port of Camas-Washougal has launched a search for its next chief executive officer — and will soon move to the interview process.

Longtime port CEO David Ripp, 57, announced in January that he would retire by the end of the year. Port commissioners hope to have a successor in place by the end of July.

Applications for the position closed Friday.

Port Commissioners Larry Keister, John Spencer and Cassi Marshall will review the applications, narrow the pool to a handful of finalists and schedule interviews in the next two to three months.

Keister said the commissioners will likely conduct three interviews with each of the finalists, assisted by a panel of community stakeholders.

Keister added that one of the interviews will be in a public setting. “We want the applicants to meet the community members,” he said.

“John and Cassi and I are in full agreement — this is the most important thing we’ll ever do for the port,” Keister said. “I have a vision of what the port can develop into, short term and long term. … John and Cassi and I have a lot of hours invested in what we feel is good for the community.”

Ripp has served as the port’s CEO since January 2008.

“The port is doing amazing,” Ripp said earlier this year. “It’s a good time to bring someone else in and transition. And hopefully it will be a smooth transition.”

The port’s recruitment brochure lists a salary range of $160,000 to $191,888.

The port hired The Beckett Group, a Gig Harbor-based consulting firm, to conduct the search.

“It is a nationwide search, but we would like to have somebody from the state of Washington,” Keister said. “There are 75 ports in Washington, and we are all unique, but if we were to hire somebody from the state of Washington, they’d have a jump on the rules and the laws and that kind of stuff.”

The port’s recruitment brochure said the ideal candidate will have a minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible management experience directing operational activities, research or marketing, economic development, finance or other activities relevant to municipal or port operations; and should have strong management and executive leadership experience.

“I’m looking for somebody that will take the vision that’s been established by previous commissioners and CEOs and move ahead with it,” Keister said. “You’ve got two communities, and each one of them is unique. How do you tie the port in with Camas and Washougal and the school districts? That, to me, is most important.”