SEATTLE-As part of a strategic realignment of its functions, the Port of Seattle has created the Economic Development Division.

The new division will be lead by Deputy CEO Tom Tierney. In addition, John Okamoto has been hired as chief administrative officer and will oversee key aspects of the port’s business functions.

The changes are aimed at focusing the Port’s efforts more specifically on economic development and achieving top financial returns from Port properties, as well as managing its business in a very challenging economic climate. The new division will be equal in stature to the Airport and Seaport divisions.

Port CEO M.R. Dinsmore says the new division will allow the port to maintain its commitment to maritime commerce and air transportation, while allowing it to focus new energy on its role as an economic-development driver for the regional economy.

As managing director of the new division, Tierney will oversee Port real estate development and economic development activities, as well as its role in regional transportation. He will continue to serve as deputy Chief Executive Officer, a role he has held for the past two years.

Dinsmore says Tierney will immediately focus on plans for redevelopment of the uplands at Terminal 91, near Magnolia. He will also represent the Port in efforts to come together on regional transportation improvements, including the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

As Chief Administrative Officer, Okamoto, the former Assistant Secretary of the state Department of Transportation, will oversee the Port’s key administrative departments, including human resources, facilities, engineering, construction services, government relations and public affairs. Okamoto will begin work Jan. 13.

This reorganization is the final step in a year-long process at the Port, which saw major reductions in its Seaport and corporate staffs. It will be accomplished out of existing resources without budgetary increases.

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