Longtime Sunnyside resident Jay Hester has been hired by the Port of Sunnyside as its new Property, Development and Project Manager.
Hester, who will begin his new job on Jan. 2, is currently employed by Oxbow, a Pasco company that manufactures harvesters for sweet corn and sweet peas.
Port Manager Amber Hansen said commissioners selected Hester because of his experience in construction management, as well as sales and marketing.
Most of all, she said, commissioners like his attitude.
"He is very community minded," Hansen observed. "He wants to make the community better."
Hansen said Hester's experience in the manufacturing sector of the agricultural industry should translate well with the port's interaction with the local agricultural community here in the Lower Valley.
Hester's responsibilities with the port will include assisting with current operations and pursue funding for new projects.
"We're certainly excited to have him with us and to have someone who already has roots here," Hansen said.
Hester, 34, is a 1991 graduate of Sunnyside High School and still has family living in the area.
He said he was drawn to the port post because of his experience in purchasing and project management.
Hester worked for Mercer Ranches before joining Oxbow.
One of the side benefits with the port position is that Hester will not have to commute to the Tri Cities each day.
"It's unbelievable, I'm amazed," he said of the opportunity to work in Sunnyside. "I've been working away from the Valley for about seven years."
Hester said he will take the time he was spending on commuting and now spend it with his wife and their one-year-old daughter.