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Lute Powered: Port of Tacoma and Northwest Seaport Alliance

Lute Powered: Port of Tacoma and Northwest Seaport Alliance

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A banner with three headshots of John Wolfe Eric Johnson and Mark Miller. Each are dressed business casual and standing in front of different backdrops around the Port of Tacoma.

Image: Port leaders John Wolfe, Eric Johnson and Mark Miller all say PLU helped prepare them for their careers.

November 7, 2022

Together, the ports of Tacoma and Seattle are the fourth-largest container gateway for containerized cargo shipping between Asia and major distribution points in the Midwest, Ohio Valley and the East Coast. For this installment of Lute Powered, we interviewed three PLU alumni who are serving in key leadership roles at the Port of Tacoma and the Northwest Seaport Alliance.

Eric Johnson ’83, Port of Tacoma Executive Director

When Eric Johnson ’83 majored in political science and minored in biology, he wasn’t sure how the two would fit together in a career. After he graduated from PLU, he earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington and began his career working at the state legislature. He then spent 35 years working at Washington Public Ports Association, most recently as the executive director. Johnson now combines his interest in public policy, the environment and economics as the executive director of the Port of Tacoma – the fourth largest trade gateway in North America.

Read our Q&A with Eric Johnson ’83.

Eric Johnson ’83 standing in a Port of Tacoma meeting room. His hands rest on the backs of two chairs and we can see the port behind him through giant windows. Eric is wearing a grey blazer, blue shirt and is smiling confidently.

John Wolfe ’87: Northwest Seaport Alliance CEO

Shortly after John Wolfe ’87 graduated from PLU he went to work for a Seattle-based company called SeaLand Shipping Line. In the years that followed he worked in sales, marketing, and operations for a variety of marine cargo companies and agencies. Eventually, he was appointed executive director of the Port of Olympia and later served as CEO of the Port of Tacoma. Since 2015, Wolfe has been the CEO of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, a marine cargo operating partnership of the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma.

Read our Q&A with John Wolfe ’87.

John Wolfe wearing a dress shirt and blazer. He is smiling with his hand on a metal rail and the Port of Tacoma behind him.

Mark Miller ’88: Port of Tacoma Director of Information Technology

When Mark Miller ’88 enrolled at PLU he planned to become a math teacher, but he soon discovered he had a passion for technology and business. He’s followed that passion ever since. His career in information and technology has spanned three decades and included chapters at consultancies, a start-up, and large corporations like Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser. He is now the director of information technology at the Port of Tacoma.

Read our Q&A with Mark Miller ’88.

A portrait of Mark Miller in front of large photographs of the Port of Tacoma. Miller is smiling wearing a patterned buttoned up shirt. (Photo by John Froschauer/PLU)
Lute Powered is a story series highlighting PLU alumni at some of the most well-known organizations in the Puget Sound region.

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Three headshots side by side of Tom Chontofalsky '03, Clarissa Gines '12 and Lisa Woods '92. All three are smiling. Tom has the port of Tacoma behind him, Clarissa is standing in front of a mural, and Lisa is in her office with the downtown Tacoma in the background.