Foss Waterway Seaport Executive Director Tom Cashman, who built the maritime museum and education center from an all-volunteer organization to a non-profit enterprise with seven employees and an historic waterfront home, is leaving the organization.
Cashman, 56, said now was an opportune time for him to look for a new career after nine years of building the seaport. Cashman’s last day will be Sept. 30.
Foss Waterway Seaport Director Tom Cashman
“I’m looking for an organization that’s beginning to look for a new direction,” he said.
During his tenure at the seaport, Cashman raise more than $20 million and enhanced and focused the museum’s collection and broadened its education programs.
The building that houses the seaport, the old Balfour Dock on the east side of the Thea Foss Waterway, is nearing completion of its first phase of renovation, the replacement of its wooden north wall with an expansive glass structure to draw light into the museum and to create a welcoming entrance for museum goers. That wall is scheduled to be completed next month . Work on restoring the dock’s west wall, where rail cars once unloaded cargoes of grain, is scheduled to begin next year. That project is already funded by a grant.
Seaport Board President Archie Matthews said Cashman “shaped a comprehensive vision, built a set of dynamic programs and raised more than $20 million to put the project on a strong path to fulfill its mission.”
Matthews noted that the seaport passed a significant milestone this week with the Tacoma City Council approving a long-term lease with the seaport for its waterfront site.
Cashman praised the “skilled and dedicated board” and a “committed and creative staff team and outstanding volunteers” for helping the seaport execute its vision.
Cashman, who in other parts of his career had served as a lobbyist, a university official, and a private school administrator, said he hopes to build on his diverse experience in finding a new job.
The seaport’s board has not yet appointed an interim director and hasn’t announced how and when it will seek a replacement for Cashman.