Mike Johnson, the contract and projects manager for the Port of Grays Harbor, works to coordinate construction and maintenance efforts throughout the Port’s facilities. After getting his start sorting logs, he has moved on to running security upgrades and managing development projects.
Johnson, 58, has kept track of project bids, infrastructure improvements and other maintenance work since 2004. Much of his work in recent years has focused on planning growth and increasing security. A Grays Harbor native, Johnson has two young children with his wife, Janet.
He enjoys volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America and looks forward to finishing out the rest of his career with the Port.
What responsibilities do you have with the Port of Grays Harbor?
I manage the construction projects which include repairs to existing facilities as well as any new construction projects. I also provide support for purchasing equipment and supplies required for day to day operation of Port facilities. I am also the Port representative for Homeland Security working with the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure the Port is in compliance with all federal security regulations.
How did you come to work for the Port?
I started in the log marshaling division in 1984 operating log handling equipment sorting logs for Port customers. Other responsibilities for the Port during my tenure have been Marine Terminals Superintendent and Maintenance Superintendent prior to my current position starting in 2004.
What projects do you coordinate and how do you approach them?
My job is to manage all maintenance and constructions contracts for the Port from beginning to end. All contracts must go through a solicitation and selection process whether it is through public procurement or by selection from the Port’s small works roster. Depending on the dollar amount of the project, Port commissioners may be required to approve projects before work may begin.
My job is to present the project to the commissioners for their review, provide plans and specifications to contractors wishing to bid on the project, review the bids with Port Staff, and recommend action for the Director and Port Commission for approval. Once this step is complete, work with contractors, engineers, suppliers, and staff on the project through completion.
What is the best part of your job?
I work with a great group of people and it amazes me the amount of work that is accomplished every single day. Working with Port staff, contractors, and vendors on Port projects really is a rewarding job and I enjoy interacting with everyone involved.
What sort of evolving security issues has the Port faced in recent years?
Since Sept. 11, 2001, there have been many changes in our security operations. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security have required the Port to increase security awareness and install new infrastructure to restrict access to our terminals.
Since 2007 the Port has received over $800,000 in federal grant dollars and have contributed almost $600,000 of matching funds for security upgrades. The Port Marine Terminal is completely enclosed with perimeter fencing and at some entrances, new hydraulic powered gates have been installed to secure the facility.
New video surveillance equipment is scheduled to be installed in 2012 and will provide round the clock monitoring of the marine cargo yard perimeter.
What challenges does the Port face in the coming years?
The Port is fortunate to be experiencing a period of growth, I think the challenge will be maintaining this continued growth as our economy continues to slowly recover. For our department, assets owned by the Port need to be maintained. Annual maintenance required for these assets will be an ongoing job and upgrades or repairs will be monitored through our asset management program to keep the infrastructure in good condition. Summer service and maintenance contracts are starting up this month and will continue until fall.
What is the most surprising thing about your work?
That every day holds great potential to learn something new due to the diversity of the people and agencies this position exposes me to.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I try to relax mostly but strive to keep active. I have a passion for collecting and restoring antique farm tractors and machinery, and have enjoyed off and on participation in the Boy Scouts of America for over the last 50 years. The Boy Scouts of America is a great program for youth and gives them the opportunity to learn and practice life skills, I look forward to many more years of involvement.
What sort of future plans, personally or professionally, do you have?
Professionally, I plan to continue on in my current role at the Port. Personally I’m looking forward to the prospect of retirement within the next five to 10 years after which I plan to become a full-time “collector and creator,” bringing new life to old unused farm equipment with the hope of putting it to good use on a patch of sunny farmland.