Bozeman says Port of Bremerton’s ‘future is in aircraft’

Port of Bremerton Chief Executive Officer Cary Bozeman told the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce luncheon crowd last week that the port’s “future is in aircraft.

“We need to attract a commuter airline like Kenmore Air, that can fly people to Portland, Yakima and Wenatchee,” Bozeman said. “We are meeting with Kenmore Air in two weeks.”

Bozeman said the port also needed to add a maintenance facility for jet aircrafts.

“Most use Boeing Field, but Boeing Field is full, and it is very expensive,” he said.

“I”m thrilled to see you’re looking at aircraft,”said 26th District Rep. Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard), who attended the luncheon Aug. 13, but asked Bozeman if Bremerton National Airport’s runway could accommodate jet aircraft.

“We can’t handle a 747, but we can take a MD-80 or a 737,” he said.

As far as the rest of the port’s operations, Bozeman said it has an airport, two marinas and an industrial park, but “none of our businesses are breaking even at this point. That has got to stop.”

Even the Port Orchard Marina, which he said has been “full for 24 years, barely breaks even.”

To improve business, Bozeman said he was applying his main principles for success, which he said were the same for businesses, cities or governments.

“How do you get better every day?” Bozeman asked, then answered with five rules.

“First, surround yourself with really smart people. That can make a huge difference in the success or failure of your organization.”

Once you have the smart people, Bozeman said you should “give them an area to specialize in, them let them make decisions. I tell my staff, ‘I’m the only generalist here.’”

As your staff works, Bozeman said to make sure “you can give and take honest feedback,” and that you are prepared to “push” people, and to “inspire them.”

“My obligation as a leader is to push people,” he said. “I don’t believe in the status quo — you’re either decaying or you’re growing.”

Using the Port as an example, Bozeman said that basic things like the port’s buildings and signs need some improvements.

“Our signage is awful. We have a great park in Port Orchard (along the waterfront), and I don’t think anyone knows it’s the port’s,” he said, adding that along with a bigger sign, he would like to plant flowers and have the park lighted at night.

“We also need to do a better job of recruiting and marketing,” Bozeman said, adding that he has “never heard a drive-time ad about Kitsap County in Seattle,” and that he was working on have such a campaign.

“We have a lot to offer: affordable housing, lack of traffic, and several golf courses,” he said.

Bozeman concluded by saying “a lot of people are mad at the port right now because we implemented a big tax and forgot to tell people, but I pledge to you that we’re going to work our tails off for the next three years.”

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