Guest Commentary: Parting Words to Friend and Colleague Randy Mueller


When I came on board with the Port of Chehalis a little over two years ago, it hadn’t been an opportunity that I had seen for myself. Now-former CEO Randy Mueller approached me about a position available at the port. And, at that time, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to leave the business I was a part of — but he knew I had it in me to go further. He saw potential and I will always be grateful for that. 

Now, as incoming CEO of the Port of Chehalis, I find myself looking back at those early conversations, the belief in me, and I’m so thankful for the leadership that brought me to this place. I’m so excited to work with our elected port commissioners and community partners on projects with incredible potential for our community. But, in reality, it’s all thanks to outgoing CEO Randy Mueller. He is the one who saw what all of the staff here could be and gave us the opportunity to prove to him we were worth his investment. 

Randy has been a thoughtful, strategic yet incredibly kind leader. There has never been a better example of how a leader of a public facility should be. He makes it clear to everyone transparency is the highest order and I’ll never not hear his voice saying, repeatedly, “What would the community want?” or “Every transaction needs to take place from the perspective of the people.” I will continue to work on community involvement and transparency, and I am grateful to have had a mentor who emphasized the importance of these qualities in a Port CEO. 

I personally couldn’t have had a better mentor and example of true leadership, and I very much intend to take the things I’ve learned into my new position at the port. 

Randy has had a great effect on the entire staff. The whole team wanted to write this article to honor him and ensure he sees how valued he has been. Our staff wanted to take the opportunity to leave Randy with some parting wisdom and remarks:

Mine is, "keep doing what you do, and never doubt your instincts. Ridgefield is lucky to have you!" 

"Failure means you're finally in the game. Embrace it!" — Dana Lampert, facilities manager for the Port of Chehalis.

"We will miss you here, may your next adventure be just as great." — Justine Pense, office manager for the Port of Chehalis.

So, as a team that has been raised under Randy’s leadership, we would like to say thank you. We are truly grateful for his teaching spirit and his endless patience. We all strive to be a leader like him in our community and we wish him the best on his new endeavors. They are lucky to have him. And we can’t wait to put what we’ve learned from him into practical application as we move forward.

Thank you, Randy. We’re so excited to watch your success in Ridgefield.


Lindsey Senter is the new CEO of the Port of Chehalis.