In a special Port Commission meeting on July 22, Port of Everett CEO Les Reardanz announced he would be leaving the Port in October to move back to Bellingham to focus on his aging parents and expanded military responsibilities.
Earlier this month, the President of the United States nominated, and the U.S. Senate confirmed, the promotion of Reardanz to the Reserve list for promotion to the permanent grade of Rear Admiral (Lower Half) in the Navy Reserve Judge Advocates General Corps (JAG). This promotion comes after Reardanz returned home from his fourth tour of duty overseas last year.
“Character and integrity are values I hold deep, and it is with great sadness that I have to move on from my role at the Port of Everett to tend to my aging parents, while also balancing my new Navy role,” Reardanz said. “It has been a humbling honor to work at the Port of Everett, and I am so proud of what our team has accomplished and will continue to accomplish in the years to come.”
All three Port Commissioners recognized Reardanz for his role as Port CEO these nearly five years and are sad to see him leave – but they understand family is first. He plans to assume a new role in a private legal firm in late October focusing on port and municipal issues.
“Les has been a tremendous leader for the Port and our region and led the Port through the busiest construction season we have had in the past decade,” Port Commission President Glen Bachman said. “I am so fortunate that he is going into private legal practice, so we have the opportunity to continue to work with him in his new role.”
Reardanz took the role of Port CEO in November 2014. Prior to taking on the CEO roles and responsibilities, he served as the Port’s Deputy Executive Director. Prior to coming to the Port, Reardanz served as the municipal legal advisor at the city of Bellingham. He was also the project manager for the city’s Waterfront District Development, which is a joint effort with the Port of Bellingham.
“I am sorry to see him leave the Port, he is the consummate gentleman both professionally and personally,” Port Commissioner Bruce Fingarson said. “In my 18 months at the Port, his leadership has been the voice of reason and guidance as we continue to move forward. He is leaving the Port in a great position to continue to succeed. I wish him and his family all the best.”
The Port Commission directed staff to move forward to contract discussions to promote the Port’s Deputy Executive Director, Lisa Lefeber, to the Port director role. Lefeber served as Acting CEO in 2018 when Reardanz was deployed to Afghanistan.
“We are sad that Les’ family situation is such that he has to leave,” Port Commissioner Tom Stiger said. “But we are happy with the succession plan that we have in place. We looked at several options over the past month, and we believe this is the right move at the right time.”
Sea News, July 23