June 14, 2021 — After nearly three decades at the Port of Skagit, including 14 years at the helm, Executive Director Patsy Martin will be retiring at the end of September. She will leave behind a legacy of effective leadership, community engagement, job growth and advocacy for port authorities at the local, state, national and international levels.
Patsy began her career with the Port of Anacortes in 1987 before coming to the Port of Skagit as the Property/Development Manager. She worked in several capacities before becoming the Executive Director in 2007. Patsy’s dedication to the Port of Skagit’s mission of “Good Jobs for the Skagit Valley” is punctuated by a long list of accomplishments and accolades that include the creation of an innovative wetland protection program, the expansion of buildings, public assets and funding partnerships to support Bayview Business Park, Skagit Regional Airport and La Conner Marina, the development of the 10+ miles of nature trails through the Port, investing in critical infrastructure to support the value-added agriculture sector, the acquisition of the Northern State Hospital property and the statewide distinction as Port of the Year by the Washington Public Ports Association in 2018 to name a few. More broadly, Patsy has led collaborative efforts to increase the effectiveness of ports through her strategic planning, relationship building, and leadership within partnering organizations, including the Association of Pacific Ports.
“There are two kinds of Executive Directors in the Port world,” Port Commission President Kevin Ware explained. “There are those who are placeholders who simply manage properties, and then there are those who see where the Port should go and make it happen—that’s Patsy. She has always understood and embraced the Port’s job of encouraging economic development for our community, and that has made all the difference.”
At the June 8th Port Commission meeting, Sara Young, the Port’s Director of Planning and Facilities, was officially named as Patsy’s successor and will formally assume Executive Director duties on September 1st as part of this transition.
While Patsy’s leadership and presence will be missed on countless levels, she feels good about the position and strength of the Port of Skagit, as well as its future. “I am blessed to have such an amazing team to work with over the course of my career here,” Patsy stated. “I am thrilled to see where the Port goes next under Sara’s leadership.”
The Port of Skagit has spent the past year developing a succession plan in preparation for Patsy’s departure, with the goal of a seamless and effective transition that maintains the Port’s high-functionality and service to our community.