By Carey Restino
When Homer’s Port and Harbor Director Bryan Hawkins took the position as a harbor officer 14 years ago, he and his family thought it would be a low-impact, low-stress, 40-hour-a-week job. It didn’t turn out that way, as Hawkins quickly rose through the ranks to the harbor’s top position.
“I didn’t say the course,” Hawkins said, apologizing to his wife.
Hawkins, however, is obviously in his element in the position, and on Monday, was recognized for his excellence by being named the Alaska Harbormasters Association Harbormaster/Port Director of the Year.
Among the accolades noted at the ceremony this week was Hawkins great team-building skills. Homer Mayor Beth Wythe noted that Hawkins exhibited extraordinary supervisory skills, with his staff being “happy, motivated and very productive.”
Hawkins said, however, that he couldn’t take credit for the many accomplishments listed in the award. Instead, he said, it was a collective effort.
“Everybody’s had a hand in this,” he said. “I was thinking about this award, with it’s ship’s wheel on it. When you think of a ship’s wheel, you might think of a man in charge, a man driving the ship. I don’t think that’s really my task here. Mine’s more fundamental. There are many, many hands at the wheel. All ships’ wheels large and small have one thing in common. If you follow them right to the hub, where they connect to the spindle, they are all held in place by one single nut. That’s me.”
Hawkins was noted as a leader in dealing with issues that are of primary concern to many port and harbor directors statewide, including dealing with derelict vessels, and promoting and implementing the Clean Harbors Program. He was also applauded for his effort to open up new opportunities and services for marine businesses on the Homer Spit, including the promotion of a new barge haul-out and mooring facility.
In a statement read into the council record, Wythe noted that he currently oversees approximately $24 million in capital construction projects over the next two years, including upgrades to the Deep Water Dock, the replacement of aging ramps and floats, and the renovation and expansion of the Deep Water Dock and the harbor.
“He has dramatically improved customer service and I receive comments to that effect on a regular basis,” Wythe noted. “He has exhibited exemplary supervisory skills and he leads by example. He establishes clear expectations and sets the performance bar high.”
Wythe noted at the end of the council meeting that while he may not be able to take credit for all the accomplishments of the port and harbor department, “without that nut, everything falls apart.”
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