Aberdeen finance director leaves to work for Port of Grays Harbor

Folkers said it was a “tremendous” opportunity he couldn’t pass up

City of Aberdeen Finance Director Mike Folkers will leave his position to assume a similar role for the Port of Grays Harbor. Folkers will replace Finance Director Mary Nelson, who will retire in June after 23 years at the Port.

“It was a tremendous opportunity that I felt I couldn’t pass up,” Folkers wrote in an email to The Daily World. “The Port of Grays Harbor has a long history of finding creative solutions to complicated issues and I thought I would fit in well there.”

Folkers will begin his new job on April 16, after spending years as a finance director in Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Ocean Shores. The Port’s Executive Director Gary Nelson said he looks forward to bringing in Folkers to manage the organization’s finances.

“Mr. Folkers’ proven leadership and knowledge in the field will be an asset to the Port’s management team,” said Nelson in the press release. “We look forward to having him on the team and continuing the strong legacy of fiscal responsibility Ms. Nelson and her department have established over the past 23 years.”

Mary Nelson was finance director at the City of Aberdeen before joining the Port. She is the wife of Eric Nelson, who retired this past June as the city attorney for Aberdeen.

With Folkers’ departure, the City of Aberdeen now needs to fill three significant positions: finance director, city administrator and police chief.

Folkers holds a Masters of Business Administration from Washington State University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from the University of Washington. In addition, he has received the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award each year for the past 16 years received the Certified Government Financial Manager designation in 2016, and was appointed to the Washington State Auditor’s Local Government Advisory Committee in 2017.

“We are confident Mr. Folkers’ experience and skills will be an excellent fit for ensuring the legacy established during Mary Nelson’s tenure of prudent, judicious and transparent management of the public assets entrusted to the Port for the betterment of the community,” said Port Commission Secretary-Treasurer Jack Thompson. “Mike is well prepared to assist our Port management team in navigating future challenges and opportunities.”