The Port of Vancouver has welcomed Commissioner Jack Burkman to our team.  He comes to the port with a broad business experience and a long history of leadership in our community. With the first commission meeting of 2020 in the books, we took some time to sit down with the newest member of the port’s Board of Commissioners.

The draw of public service:

Port of Vancouver USA Commissioner Jack Burkman

It has been an evolution of over 30 years of public service that brought Commissioner Burkman to the port.  His work in the community began with his local neighborhood association and transitioned to a run for the Vancouver City Council. There, he was able to broaden his expertise and advocacy on social and transportation issues and represent the community on a number of boards and coalitions.  These include the SW Washington Regional Transportation Council, C-Tran, and Clark College Board of Trustees, just to name a few.

Commissioner Burkman brings a unique blend of public and private sector experience to the board. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Montana State University, Burkman began his business career as a production line engineer at Hewlett Packard. He advanced in the company and became a R&D manager leading the development and commercialization of new technology and products for global markets. He retired from Hewlett Packard after a 28-year career and brings a range of skills in business, technical oversight, and staff management and growth.

With the goal of fully understanding the responsibilities of a port commissioner, Burkman dove into researching the role. “I interviewed all three commissioners and several port staff with the goal of understanding what this job really takes,” said Burkman. “I learned that this is a position that will allow me to use my transportation expertise and my past experiences, while also helping to lay the foundation for future generations.”  

Port priorities:

Commissioner Burkman brings a long-term vision of economic growth to the port. Looking at 2020, he is focused on bringing new ideas and opportunities to the table and Terminal 5 is a top priority.

“I believe in the philosophy of ports and investments for the long-term.  The loop track and available space at Terminal 5 are huge assets and it would be great to find a tenant that can use all the site has to offer.  It’s a major opportunity for the region and for bringing jobs and growth to Vancouver.”

Commissioner Burkman also believes in the port’s vision for Terminal 1.  As a city councilmember, he was involved with the Esther Short Park Revitalization along with The Waterfront Vancouver and understands the challenges and opportunities these types of development projects face. 

“Funding and timing are the main barriers for Terminal 1,” Commissioner Burkman stated.  “But I am really excited about the ability to bring additional economic benefit to the region and Terminal 1 is a big piece of that.”  We couldn’t agree more.

Public outreach and communication:

Vancouver has exploded in growth over the last few decades and with that comes change.

“At our heart, we are a small city. There is a staggering number of volunteers and so many non-profits in Vancouver,” said Burkman. “This is a special city but it’s hard to maintain a small town feel as this city continues to grow.”

The shift in communication and the impacts of social media has brought a new chapter to how information is shared in the community. Face to face will always be his preference says Burkman, but you’ll see his presence on social media as well.

“Social media provides you with an opportunity to inform and help educate the public,” said Burkman. “Talking in person with community members allows for the initial question to evolve into a conversation organically.” Later this year, the port will be announcing dates for our Commission Coffee events where you can speak with all three board members and learn more about your port.

Beyond the boardroom:

Outside of his commission duties, Burkman is an avid bird photographer and enjoys spending time in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Burkman and his wife of 46 years, Sherry, have three adult children and seven grandchildren.

The port welcomes Commissioner Burkman and looks forward to working with him to continue bringing jobs and economic benefit to the region.