The Port of Bremerton commission kicked off the new year by swearing in newly elected port commissioner Gary Anderson at its Jan. 14 meeting, starting a six-year term.
One of the first orders of business at the meeting was the election of port officers. Commissioner Cary Bozeman was elected president of the Port of Bremerton, which was previously held by outgoing port commissioner Larry Stokes. Commissioner Axel Strakeljahn was elected vice president of the commission and Anderson was elected secretary. These appointed terms will last two years.
“I have held a desire to improve our community’s way of life and have put that desire into my efforts as a commercial real estate broker,” Anderson said. “[I] have considered running for port commission for the past 10 years to further meet that desire.”
Anderson was born and raised on a family farm in Kitsap County and has more than 30 years of experience in land use and development. He started in accounting before moving into residential and commercial real estate. He opened his own company, G Anderson Group LLC, in 2011. Anderson has also been an active member of the Port Orchard community, serving on the board of directors for the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce, president of the Association of Realtors and as a member of the Port Orchard Rotary.
“We’re happy to have you as part of the commission,” Bozeman said. “Someone with your background and real estate experience is really going to be helpful for this port as we start expanding our industrial park. You’re going to be a great asset to this commission.”
“You’re coming in at a very exciting time,” Strakeljahn said. “Things always sort of cycle through and we went through some difficult economies four or five years ago. Glad to have your talent on board.”
Maintenance employee honored for years of service
One of the heartwarming highlights of the commission meeting was the spotlight shown on Bremerton Airport maintenance lead Ed Draper, who was awarded a plaque for his 32 years of service, the longest tenure by an employee in the Port of Bremerton’s history. Draper started out as a marine attendant in the late ‘80s and was later promoted to port maintenance. He has served in that role for almost 20 years.
“In 106 years, he has almost one-third of the total tenure that this port has been in existence,” Bremerton Airport Manager Warren Hendrickson said.
“In the time that I’ve been here, he has been absolutely indispensable to me, to this port, to this facility. He has shared everything he possibly could, he’s been an open book and I couldn’t do it without him. He runs his staff with a safety-first mindset, [and] that’s a culture that his leadership creates.”
Draper was in attendance to receive the plaque and make a few comments about his long tenure.
“I didn’t realize I wasn’t such an antique,” Draper said with a laugh. “I was thinking this morning what a long and interesting adventure it’s been here. I’ve seen the Port Orchard Marina go away and come back. I actually picked up and delivered the mooring chains for the [USS] Turner Joy with one of our dump trucks. I’ve watched the industrial park go from ghost town to a very busy place that it is today.
“This summer is shaping up to what looks like is probably going to be one of the busiest and one of the largest growth spurts that this organization has seen, with all of the projects that are going to happen this summer. I’m excited to see that happen and the best is yet to come.”