Chuck Fauls got his first boat when he was 6 years old.
Growing up in Florida, he has been a lifelong boater. And though he has had several careers over the years (and can’t seem to retire), he is always drawn back to the water.
Though he had worked as a logistics engineer, and then later in the electronics and security industry, Fauls was always drawn to boating which led him and his wife to end up in Port Townsend in 2005, where he began working for the Port of Port Townsend.
Now, after working for the port for 10 years working on the docks with tenants and in the moorage office, Fauls has decided to take his love for the port one step further and run for the District 1 port commissioner position.
He’s hoping to bring his inside knowledge and experience as a port employee to the role.
“What we have coming at us at the port is some important decisions,” he said. “Most important is choosing the next executive director. That will really establish the identity and direction the port will go in.”
Choosing a new executive director, since interim executive director Jim Pivarnik is aiming to take his leave in a year, is one of Fauls’ main concerns when it comes to the direction of the port.
His other main concerns are financial stability and supporting the marine trades.
“The importance of our marine trades and those family wage jobs can’t be understated,” he said. “These people need more consistency.”
As a customer service representative for the port (what used to be called a moorage representative), Fauls sees what moorage and yard tenants struggle with and he’s used to answering questions and solving problems.
Consistency in cost for tenants in both the boat yard and the marina is a big issue, he said. People need to know that they can afford to take on a project at the boat yard and that the marine trades industries will be well-supported to provide the best of their knowledge and skill.
“To continue growing, we’ve got to really partner with the marine trades,” he said. “We need to ask ourselves, ‘How do we increase their labor force?’”
Fauls points to the Port Townsend Marine Trades Economic Impact Study that was published in 2018 as an example of why the port needs to invest more in marine trades. Not only did marine trade workers fund their own study, he said, but it showed that 20% of the workforce in Jefferson County is in marine trades.
But the port is in a sticky spot financially. With big, expensive projects looming, like the renovation of the Point Hudson jetty and the Boat Haven breakwater, among others, the port is struggling to find funds.
To deal with this, Fauls says it’s important that the port fully understand its own resources, not just in revenue, but in expertise as well.
“You’ve got to get back to spending money like it’s your own,” he said. “Hiring consultants and paying for studies strip away from funds and provide nothing. We have really knowledgeable industries in this town. We need to use what we have here.”
As a customer service representative, Fauls travels between each port property, from the Quilcene Marina to Point Hudson, Boat Haven and everything in between. His job allows him to talk with residents and visitors using port facilities and to gain an understanding of the creativity of ideas that come when you just listen.
“He is definitely privy to the inner workings of moorage customers, RV customers and lease customers at the port,” said David Johnson, who has worked with Fauls for 10 years. “He’s got an inside view of how the money comes in and goes out.”
Listening is Fauls’ main goal.
“No one’s got a monopoly on good ideas,” he said. “There are tons out there. And there’s always a diamond in the rough.”
While current port commissioner Steve Tucker decided not to run for another term, Fauls does have some competition. Pam Petranek, a PTMTA board member and longtime port customer, is running as well.
But Fauls said the competition is only a good thing.
“I was disappointed more people didn’t file,” he said. “I’ve known Pam for a number of years and I think we have a lot of shared goals and ideas. Through this process I hope we come away with a collection of ideas from everyone.”