Posted on January 15, 2024
Port of Camas-Washougal CEO David Ripp said he plans to retire in 2024, capping a port management career that spanned nearly three decades.
Ripp, 57, made the announcement during a port commission meeting in early January. He said he hasn’t set a specific date for his retirement but “will probably leave sometime in the fall.”
Ripp added that the port will begin a search for his successor later this month or in early February.
“We want to have enough time for me to work with (them) to make sure they’re not just being dropped down (to) hit the ground running,” Ripp said. “They’ll have time to be brought up to speed and know exactly what they’re doing.”
Speaking with the Post-Record following his announcement, Ripp said he believed now is the right time for his retirement.
“The port is doing amazing. It has an amazing staff and an amazing commission, and everybody really works well together. We all work as a team,” Ripp said. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, so I’m in a good spot.”
Ripp has served as the port’s CEO since January 2008.
“I’ve been very blessed,” Ripp told port commissioners during the Jan. 4 meeting. “I kick-started (my career) in Woodland, and I was very fortunate to be there and then come here in 2008. I’m very proud of the things that we have accomplished — not me, all of us — at the waterfront, the industrial park and the airport. It has just been an amazing place to be a part of.”
Ripp served as the executive director of the Port of Woodland from 1994 to 2007.
Port Commissioner Larry Keister told Ripp he was a big reason why Keister decided to become a port official.
“I became a commissioner because you (were) here, knowing that you’d be a great person to work with,” Keister told Ripp. “The team concept that you’ve developed over the years is what has made the port so successful, and your legacy will continue on (because you) set the path for our long-term future.”
Commissioners John Spencer and Cassi Marshall also lauded Ripp’s accomplishments.
“It’s bittersweet from our side of things,” Marshall said. “Someone will be able to step into a really collaborative, healthy, productive environment where great things are happening and good work is moving along, and that will be a lot to your credit.”
The port grew from 12 to 23 employees during Ripp’s tenure, which included the development of several major projects, including the upcoming Hyas Point waterfront development, the construction of five buildings at the port’s industrial park and two buildings at Grove Field. Ripp also oversaw the rebuilding of the airfield after a two-alarm fire destroyed 10 hangar bays in 2014.
“All I can say is that I feel very honored to be a part of the whole process, to see the changes and say, ‘I’ve been a part of that change,’” Ripp said. “Maybe 15, 20 years from now, I have grandkids and I can say, ‘Yeah, Grandpa was involved with this. Grandpa was involved with that.’ I can hang my hat on that and be proud of the things that the port has been able to accomplish. As I’ve always said, ‘It’s not me. It’s a team.’ I’m just lucky I get to be a part of the team.”