Aberdeen City Engineer Kris Koski, an instrumental player in big projects like the North Shore Levee and East Aberdeen rail separation project, is leaving the city for a job at the Port of Grays Harbor.
“I’m joining the Port of Grays Harbor in the new position of port engineer,” said Koski after word of his departure from Aberdeen got out at the Wednesday, Sept. 8, City Council meeting.
“I’m really looking forward to the new experience, and I’m confident that Aberdeen’s big capital projects are in great shape to move forward,” said Koski.
Aberdeen City Council member and chair of the Public Works Committee Tiesa Meskis said at Wednesday’s meeting, “He’s very much irreplaceable,” of Koski. “We are going to do our best and it’s going to be a tough one. And hopefully you can look back and see a lot of the projects that you have helped to get started and carry on to some form of fruition and look back and say ‘hey, I was a part of that.’”
The bigger-ticket items like the levee and rail separation project required a lot of teamwork with the city of Hoquiam and other stakeholders. That work has led to projects that are basically designed and soon to be ready for construction when funding can be found.
Koski “and I worked very closely over the last five years on the North Shore Levee and he played a significant role to get the project on the path to being shovel ready for construction in 2023,” said Hoquiam City Administrator Brian Shay. “Kris made a significant positive impact on the city of Aberdeen that our communities will benefit from for decades.”
Koski has served as City Engineer at the city of Aberdeen since 2016. Prior to his time with the city, Koski worked as both a design and project engineer for KPFF Consulting Engineers for nearly 10 years. A graduate of the University of Washington, he holds a BS in Civil Engineering, as well as a Professional Engineering License with a Civil Endorsement.
“We are excited to welcome Kris to the Port team. His experience and leadership at the city will translate well into this position,” shared Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson. “Kris has a proven track record of project planning, development, management and most importantly completing projects. His skill set will surely be an asset to our team as we continue to improve and grow public infrastructure throughout the Port’s various facilities.”
Koski will be responsible for the Port’s engineering activities, including project planning and management, field monitoring, contract administration, and permitting for all Port facilities. The Port Engineer reports to Director of Health, Safety and Environment Randy Lewis. Koski will begin his position with the Port on Oct. 4; he said his last official day with the city will be Sept. 17.
As for a replacement, the city is advertising for the position, and is still advertising for a city attorney since Patrice Kent resigned a few months ago. At Wednesday’s meeting, City Council member Frank Gordon urged the city to take whatever steps possible to come up with salary packages that will attract high quality candidates quickly.
“Our hands are tied until we get somebody in both of these positions,” he said, adding the council may have to look at doing some budget trimming “so we have the funds so that we can compete with the I-5 corridor” for top candidates. Until that happens, “You guys are just blowing smoke. You’re doing nothing but just talking to hear yourself talk.”