Port of Coupeville welcomes new commissioner

John Callahan officially joined the board after taking his oath of office Oct. 28.

The Port of Coupeville has found a new District 3 commissioner.

John Callahan officially joined the board after taking his oath of office Oct. 28. Former Commissioner Patrick Kennedy, who was elected in the 2021 general election, resigned from the board in September to move off island.

Callahan comes to the position with extensive business, legal, management and engineering experience. He served in the Commissioned Officer Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, for 27 years, during which time he commanded two ships.

He was stationed in Washington state in 1988. After retiring from NOAA, he spent 18 years teaching acquisition law to government and civilian organizations around the country. Around seven years ago, he and his wife moved to Coupeville.

Callahan said he had visited friends on Whidbey Island before moving here and always loved it; as soon as he boarded the ferry from the mainland, he started to feel relaxed, he said. He retired from teaching around three years ago and decided it was time to find a way to get more involved in the local community.

“My entire life has been about service,” he said, and being able to contribute to the area he lives in “gives me a really good feeling.”

His wife first had the idea for him to apply for the port board of commissioners. Callahan said she sent him a link to the position posting and said his background would lend itself well to the job.

“It just seems to be a natural fit,” he said.

He said his early goals include getting up to speed on the port’s current projects and speaking to District 3 residents about what they would like to see from the port.

Port executive director Chris Michalopoulos said he and other port officials were a little surprised at the amount of interest they saw in the open position. He said there were several potential candidates, with two ultimately applying and going through the interview process. He added that he and other port personnel were excited to bring on someone with such an impressive resume.

“We felt we chose an amazing candidate with an incredible background,” Michalopoulos said.