Port director search nears endPort Authority Board members have whittled 27 applications for the executive director position to three finalists, and the community will have the opportunity to meet them Wednesday.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
Port Authority Board members have whittled 27 applications for the executive director position to three finalists, and the community will have the opportunity to meet them Wednesday.
The event will be a wrap-up to months of work in searching for the right person to lead the organization and fit into the community, said Port Board member Chris Simonson, who also heads up the Personnel Committee.
Simonson said they are looking for someone who can unify efforts throughout the community and act as a “cheerleader.”
“We’re wanting to find the candidate that not only can tactically do the job but will be a good fit for Red Wing,” Simonson said.
There are a number of different organizations working on economic development, business issues and other similar topics in Red Wing, Simonson said. The Port Board is looking for someone who can bring them all together with a vision and also keep an eye out for new projects and opportunities.
The Port Authority director position in Red Wing is unique, Simonson said. So the interview process has been different as well.
“We’ve broken from some of the traditional process a little bit,” Simonson said.
The board is working with consulting firm Springsted in the search and posted the position in February.
Most applicants were from the Midwest, though some came in from across the country, Simonson said.
After applications were submitted and reviewed, some candidates were asked to complete a questionnaire, and six were interviewed. From there the three finalists were chosen.
The full Port Board interviewed those three this week in a more traditional setting. But next week’s format will be more informal, Simonson said.
Candidates will give presentations addressing a scenario they were given. They also will meet with the community during an open house.
Presentations will begin at 1 p.m. in the Red Wing Public Library’s Community Room. The informal community conversation will be from 4:15 p.m. to about 5:30 p.m. in the library’s Foot Room.
“It’s a good opportunity to see how they’re going to interact with our community,” Simonson said. “Knowing Red Wing there’s a lot of passionate people … and it will be good to see (the candidates) on their feet.”
Simonson said Wednesday’s events will be the last component of the interview process, and they hope to have someone in place by July 1, if not sooner.
The three finalists for the Red Wing Port Authority executive director position are:
• Michael A. Ericson: served as the city administrator of Hugo, Minn., for more than a decade and held similar positions in other Minnesota cities. He attended Minnesota state universities at Mankato and Winona.
• Randall "Randy" Olson: has led economic development efforts in the public and private sectors. He attended the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.
•Larry J. Thompson: has served as city administrator in cities throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, and also has experience as a business executive. He attended Minnesota State University, Mankato.