EVERETT— The 101-year-old Port of Everett will welcome its first female CEO this fall.
A unanimous vote this week of the port’s three-member commission approved Lisa Lefeber, the port’s current deputy executive director, for the top leadership post.
Lefeber replaces current CEO Les Reardanz, who is leaving to focus on his aging parents and expanded military duties.
She will take the helm on Oct. 16.
Lefeber currently holds the No. 2 position at the Port and served as acting CEO in 2018 when Reardanz was deployed to Afghanistan.
Lefeber’s salary as CEO will be $193,000, the same as Reardanz’ annual salary, port officials said.
“It’s a great honor. I am very excited that I have the opportunity to serve in that role,” Lefeber said. “I have a strong passion for the Port of Everett and the surrounding community, and I look forward to continuing on in my predecessors’ footsteps of building a balanced waterfront that supports commerce, Navy operations, jobs, recreation and creates a destination on the beautiful Everett waterfront. I am also excited to grow and diversify the Port to help our surrounding communities with job growth.”
Lefeber was selected in 2016 to lead the port’s seaport modernization efforts. The $100 million-plus project will allow the port to better accommodate larger ships and handle heavier cargo, including oversized containers carrying parts for the new Boeing 777X.
Prior to serving as deputy executive director, Lefeber was the port’s chief of policy and communications, a position she held for more than 13 years.
Lefeber said she plans to move forward with the port’s push to acquire the Kimberly-Clark property, the former site of a paper mill. She also plans to continue the port’s efforts to boost economic growth without sacrificing the environment. “Our philosophy is environmental cleanup and economic development go hand-in-hand,” Lefeber told The Daily Herald.
“It’s an honor to welcome Lisa into this historic role,” port commissioner Glen Bachman said. “She is a strong leader dedicated to this port district and our greater community. We are lucky to have her and the creative foresight she brings to this organization that helps grow our economy, create and protect jobs and enhance livability in our county.”
Said port commissioner Bruce Fingarson: “The port, by focusing on its strategic initiatives and keeping consistency in its leadership, makes Lisa the obvious choice. I believe she will be an outstanding director as the port continues to support significant commerce and economic growth for our community and the region.”
Port commissioner Tom Stiger congratulated her on a “well-earned promotion.”
“With nearly 15 years in port leadership under her belt, I can’t think of anyone better to lead the port into its next century of service,” Stiger said.
Reardanz, a Navy captain and an attorney, has led the port for five years.
Last month, President Donald Trump nominated, and the U.S. Senate confirmed, Reardanz for placement on the reserve list for promotion to rear admiral in the Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. The position would put Reardanz in charge of about 600 reserve lawyers and paralegals.
“While I’m saddened to leave the port and our incredible team at such an exciting time, I have full confidence that Lisa is the right person for this job,” Reardanz said. “She has all the skills and more than enough passion to push this economic enterprise to its fullest potential to the benefit of our community and region.”
Lefeber, who started at the port in 2005, is in the American Association of Port Authorities professional management program.
She has a master’s degree in public administration from Seattle University and an undergraduate degree in journalism from Western Washington University.
Janice Podsada; firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods