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Camas parks director takes CEO position at Port of Camas-Washougal

Trang Lam, 20 years of local leadership experience

Posted on July 1, 2024

The Port of Camas-Washougal has selected Camas Parks and Recreation Director Trang Lam as the port’s next chief executive officer.

Commissioners Larry Keister, John Spencer and Cassi Marshall voted unanimously June 20 to appoint Lam as the successor to David Ripp, who is retiring later this year.

“I’m excited to culminate all of my work experience into a single mission,” Lam said. “How great is this mission? It includes everything that I’ve done and want to bring together — place-making, community development, jobs and recreation — all in one (place). That’s very exciting for me.”

“The quality of the candidates made the commissioners’ jobs easy as well as very difficult,” Keister said during the commission’s June 20 special meeting.

“What did it for me in the end is that amorphous, ‘How do we bring this port to the next level?’” Spencer said. “I think Trang has the most strategic mind. She’s the one that is going to look 10, 20 years in the future and prepare the port best for reaching whatever goal is out there in the distant future.”

Lam has worked for more than 20 years in leadership roles at the University of Portland; Portland Parks & Recreation; Prosper Portland, a Portland-based economic development corporation; and the city of Camas, where she has led the Parks and Recreation Department since 2020.

“I have (experience with) economic development, community development, parks, transportation, all of the elements that come together to run a port, but I’ve never run a port,” said Lam, who was appointed to Washington State’s Recreation and Conservation Funding Board in 2023. “I’m a quick learner, and I try to bring a fresh pair of eyes into every job that I go into.”

The commission received more than 50 applications for the CEO position by mid-March, conducted interviews in April and May, and announced its three CEO finalists May 24: Lam; Chris Herman, the Washington Public Ports Association’s deputy director; and Guy Glenn, finance director for the Port of Columbia County, Ore.

“It has been a thorough, detailed and, yes, exhausting journey to select a new chief executive officer,” Keister said, “but no less should be expected as we choose the successor to David Ripp, who has served the port with excellence.”

The port commission is expected to vote on Lam’s contract during its next meeting, on July 3.

Lam said she will most likely begin her new position in August.

“I’m going to come into this building relationships and networks to see the big picture,” Lam said. “I think that’s going to be my first step — looking at the big picture, looking at relationship-building, and then leveraging off of all of that.”


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