WILMINGTON — A thorough yet time-aware search was authorized Thursday for the next Port Authority executive director, an action necessitated by the unexpected death three weeks ago of Dan Evers.

The volunteer Board of Directors voted in favor of contracting with a search firm in the coming weeks to aid in the recruitment and selection of an executive director.

Board members also authorized retaining former Port Authority Executive Director Kevin Carver, because of his familiarity with the Port Authority and the community, to interact with the search firm as an independent contractor.

Prior to the voting, Acting Executive Director Elizabeth “Beth” Huber explained the recommended retention of Carver.

“As might be expected, the staff and board will benefit from a project manager who is able to focus solely on the search for the next executive director. The proposal is to engage this individual to report to the Board or the HR / Personnel Committee, and to be available for the continuing and focused contact with the search firm,” Huber said.

Just weeks before Evers’ death, Jennifer Klus Ekey who worked as Economic Development Director of the Clinton County Port Authority, left her post to become Director of Economic Development for the City of Dublin, Ohio. So the small staff of the Port Authority is now short-handed by two people.

Moreover, Huber cannot assist in the search because, according to HR / Personnel Committee Chair Brian Smith, she may put her name in the hat for the position.

Port Authority Board of Directors Chairman Walt Rowsey noted that Carver fulfilled the same role during the search that led to the naming of Evers as executive director.

Huber said she believes the goal is to focus on the search process in order to get it moving quickly to keep continuity going with all of the Port’s existing projects.

In 2019, the Port Authority was designated as the economic development organization for Clinton County, and all county development efforts are now concentrated through the Port Authority.

At the start of Thursday’s meeting, Huber said that in the wake of Evers’ death, everyone from board members and partners and all those who work with them at the air park has been supportive.

“It means a lot and thank you to everyone,” said Huber.

In connection with the board ratifying the appointment of Huber to be acting executive director of the Port Authority, Smith said he thinks everybody on the Port Authority Board of Directors feels “we are in good hands with Beth at the helm as we navigate this.”

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

From left are Port Authority board member Brian Smith, Acting Executive Director Elizabeth “Beth” Huber, and Port Authority board chair Walt Rowsey.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/06/web1_b_huber_c.jpgFrom left are Port Authority board member Brian Smith, Acting Executive Director Elizabeth “Beth” Huber, and Port Authority board chair Walt Rowsey. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

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