News Flash


Posted on: October 19, 2011

Port Executive Reorganizes Senior Staff - Focus on Development and Job Creation

[Bellingham, Wash.] Port of Bellingham Executive Director Charlie Sheldon today announced a re-organization of port senior staff to better focus the organization toward business development, greater job creation, and a more balanced staff workload.

“I’ve been here for a year and I have been impressed with the knowledge and abilities of my staff,” Sheldon said. “We now need to bring a laser-like focus on meeting our basic mission of providing economic development and transportation facilities to the residents of Whatcom County. I have full faith and confidence in my senior staff and believe that our current structure works extremely well, but I am making a few changes to better position us for the future.”

The changes include promoting port Chief Financial Officer Rob Fix to the newly created position of Deputy Director/Chief Financial Officer. In addition to serving as the second-in-command at the port, Fix will be charged with overseeing port finances, economic development, informational services and real estate administration. Fix worked for many years in the private sector in the hotel and hospitality industry and he has been at the Port of Bellingham since 2009. While at the Port, Fix has been heavily engaged in overseeing port finances and also has been a key leader in the economic development efforts that port has undertaken with other entities in Whatcom County.

Sheldon has created a new position, Director of Business Development, and moved Real Estate Director Lydia Bennett into that role.

“After many years of discussion, planning, environmental review, and the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement and a new Master Plan, we are now at the moment when we must move from study to delivery,” Sheldon said. “While we are still some months away from concluding our rezoning agreements with the City, now is the time to provide full-time, direct attention to finding users of that property, whether they are mixed- use developers or industrial users. Our priority is bringing those properties back into productive use and adding jobs to the waterfront, similar to those we recently announced for the Shipping Terminal, and to do that we need to move beyond planning efforts to action and that action relies upon outside investment, developers and innovative partnerships,” Sheldon said.

“This economic climate demands that we go out and find new businesses and new partners, as well as work with companies and organizations in our community that are ready to grow,” Sheldon added. “Lydia Bennett has extensive private sector real estate experience and I want her to now spend all her time bringing the waterfront properties, as well as other port properties in the county, such as in Blaine, back into use. ”

In addition to her Realtor license, Bennett has achieved distinction and developed national connections through her role as a national instructor for Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) Institute.

Communications Manager Carolyn Casey has been promoted to Director, External Affairs. This new position will include communications, media relations, supporting Sheldon and the Commissioners in government relations, providing support for port-wide strategic planning, support and supervision of corporate events and the port’s meeting and event rentals operations.

Sheldon also announced that Human Resources Manager Elizabeth Monahan’s title is now Human Resources Director. Monahan will take on additional administrative management responsibilities and oversight of emergency management and safety programs in addition to her human resources and labor relations duties.

“These changes announced by Charlie are responsive to the critical changes we have seen in our local economy and our need to move aggressively ahead with both the waterfront and our capital programs across the organization,” said Mike McAuley, port commission President. “We’ve spent many years planning and preparing to upgrade our properties, and now is the time to make it happen. I share Charlie’s belief in the staff and believe that these changes will better position us to face the many challenges ahead.”

For More Information:
Carolyn Casey, 360-676-2500;

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