ANCHORAGE - He rescued a troubled port project in St. George, Alaska. Now he's being asked to do the same in Anchorage.
On Wednesday, Mayor Dan Sullivan announced his new choice for director of the Port of Anchorage, Richard Wilson.
Wilson served 13 years as development director of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, "during a period in which the airport went through a tremendous growth and had a lot of challenges in managing that growth properly, making sure that economic engine both grew and prospered," Sullivan said.
And in St. George, where port planning was among Wilson's duties, "they had a project very similar to our port expansion project where the construction was in trouble," said Sullivan.
"Rich took the project over and he and his team led that project to success."
Wilson expressed confidence about addressing the problems at the Port of Anchorage, including construction flaws in the expansion project.
"The project has had challenges, but these can and will be overcome. A lot of work has been done to create an environment of cooperation among the stakeholders, and as a new member of your management team you have asked me to add my background in port development to the experience of an extraordinary group of experts, representing disciplines across the board."
Assemblywoman Jennifer Johnston, who chairs the committee overseeing the port, applauded Sullivan's choice.
"I'm pleased, I'm happy that he has someone who has municipal background, municipal management background and infrastructure, public infrastructure background. That's a great place to start. We need somebody with experience because we really need to get the port running functionally and serving the statewide need."
Wilson docks at the port office May 14.
It remains to be seen how smooth his sailing will be.
Sullivan and Johnston also expressed appreciation to the legislature for appropriating $100 million for the expansion project.
Although that was far less than the request of $350 million, Sullivan said it's three times larger than the single biggest previous appropriation.