Docks and Harbors managers announced the hiring of a new port director Monday.
Carl Uchytil, who recently retired from the U.S. Coast Guard as a captain, has been named to fill the post being vacated by John Stone.
Board chairman Jim Preston said the board felt Uchytil was a strong candidate because of his extensive background.
Why was he picked?
“His varying experiences he’s had with the Coast Guard in a wide variety of settings, the fact he is an engineer, his (master’s) thesis was on dredging spoils, which we’ve been dealing with here for four years,” Preston said.
His administration and leadership background also was a strong point, including his work with regulatory agencies.
“He’s been both a person in a command lead and under the command of others,” Preston said. “All of those things led the committee to believe he was a very strong candidate.”
Uchytil will come in temporarily in the next week for a few days to meet the team, but will take the reins in mid-August. Preston said Uchytil has plans to attend his daughter’s college graduation and see to other commitments before he will start. Stone’s last day is June 17, so Harbor Master Phil Benner will serve as acting director until Uchytil starts.
Uchytil, who was stationed in Juneau the past four years, said he was interested in the position because he wanted to make Alaska home for the long term and share his skills.
“I think we feel like we’re Alaskans and we’re connected to the community and I wanted to do something that will help the community grow and develop and provide opportunities for fellow Alaskans in Southeast,” he said. “It just seemed like a great opportunity for somebody with my background with the engineering and marine work. It worked out with my pending retirement.”
Uchytil said it’s premature to have any initial goals coming into the job without meeting with the board to make sure their visions align.
“I’m certainly not one to say I know it all or have all the answers, as I have the opportunity to meet with community leaders in the Juneau area, I’m hoping to put together a vision that the port director can project that will really help move the harbors and port board and that we continue to develop a world-class port here in Juneau,” he said.
Uchytil said he is appreciative of the board having the confidence in him for the job.
“I know it’s an extremely well-qualified short list of candidates,” he said. “I am humbled by and appreciative of the opportunity. I know I have big shoes to fill with John Stone’s departure. He’s really moved the port in a positive direction and he’s started some really ambitious projects I hope to continue and follow the direction he’s already established.”
Uchytil said he is looking forward to working on those capital projects, especially the cruise ship dock replacement. He said he believes his experiences in the Coast Guard have prepared him well for working on those projects, with his background in ocean engineering and construction, along with his most recent duties in working with the public and stakeholders on projects.
For more information on Uchytil see: http://bit.ly/jUYjgP.
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.