The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) unanimously elected Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson to serve as Chairman of the Board for the 2019-20 activity year that begins in October.   AAPA, the unified and recognized voice of seaports throughout the Americas, represents more than 130 public port authorities in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America. 

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected as AAPA’s next Chairman,” shared Executive Director Gary Nelson.  “I look forward to working with AAPA’s membership and staff to continue to promote and improve our industry so that we can continue to create economic value for our communities, no matter how big or small.”

Mr. Nelson joined the Port of Grays Harbor in April 2000, bringing with him a strong background of private sector management, particularly in trading wood products throughout the Pacific Rim.  Since joining the port, Mr. Nelson has worked with port customers, staff, state and federal agencies and the local community to position Grays Harbor as a major hub for international trade and economic development.  During his tenure, the Port of Grays Harbor has experienced exponential growth in cargo shipments, private investments and business activity.

“The Port of Grays Harbor Commission is extremely proud of Gary’s appointment as AAPA’s next Chairman of the Board,” stated Port Commission President Stan Pinnick. “Over the last 19 years, we have experienced first-hand the results and benefits of his strong leadership.  We are confident he will lead AAPA in 2019-20 just as well as he has served our Port and the community.” 

“With his valuable experience as a port director involved with diversified cargo, his international trade background, and his longstanding active engagement with AAPA and our member ports throughout the hemisphere, Gary Nelson is an outstanding choice for leading our association during the upcoming activity year,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and chief executive officer. “Gary’s outstanding leadership and business skills, together with his easy-going demeanor, will be of enormous value as our member ports work together to address common challenges and legislative priorities.”

Mr. Nelson is slated to be installed as Chairman for a one-year term on the final day of AAPA’s 2019 Annual Convention, set for Oct. 12-15, in Norfolk, Va.  He will assume the AAPA chairmanship from William D. Friedman, President and Chief Executive Officer for Northeast Ohio’s Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, who began his one-year term on Oct. 10, 2018.

Founded in 1911, the Port of Grays Harbor is one of Washington State’s oldest port districts and Washington’s only deep-water port located directly on the Pacific Ocean.  The Port of Grays Harbor operates 4 deep-water marine terminals, the Westport Marina, Bowerman Airport, Grays Harbor ship assist services, numerous public waterfront access facilities, in addition to industrial and business parks throughout the County.  The addition of Satsop Business Park increased the Port’s properties to more than 1,000 acres of industrial properties and an additional 1,200 acres of sustainably managed forestland.   Strategically located midway between Seattle and Portland and less than 1 ½ hours from open sea, the Port of Grays Harbor provides businesses a diverse portfolio of facilities. More information on the Port of Grays Harbor’s facilities and operations is available at or