John McCarthy

Commissioner | Position #1
Current Term: 2022-2026

Current Commission Office: Second assistant secretary

John McCarthy has been elected to three terms as a Port of Tacoma Commissioner, from 1983-1989, 1989-1992, and currently, 2018-2021, for a total of 13 years. In 2020, McCarthy held the office of president of the Port of Tacoma Commission and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance. He is a former president of the Washington Public Ports Association and an honorary life member.

McCarthy worked as a longshoreman for nearly a decade while earning a bachelor’s degree in science with a minor in mathematics from Seattle University and a law degree from the University of San Francisco. McCarthy was a Pierce County District and Superior Court judge for more than 22 years before retiring in 2014.  He has been an attorney and member of the Washington State Bar Association since 1975.

In May 2020, McCarthy was appointed to serve a second term on the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board by Gov. Jay Inslee. He also currently sits on the Tideflats Subarea Plan Steering Committee, the Urban Waters Advisory Board, the Washington Council on International Trade, and was the port representative for the WSDOT Freight Stakeholder group. 

McCarthy was born and raised in Tacoma, where he continues to live today. He volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park, officiates high school football and was the first member of the Boys and Girls Club of South Puget Sound to be selected to their Alumni Hall of Fame.  

McCarthy is focused on job creation, expanding future trade opportunities, and the Port’s ongoing environmental stewardship of the Tacoma Tideflats. He worked extensively with the community to help guide development of the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan, which will serve as a roadmap for the Port’s future projects and activities.

Port of Tacoma Committees 

  • Local Economic Development Investment Fund
  • Tribal Liaison (Puyallup Tribe of Indians) 

Northwest Seaport Alliance Work Groups/Committees

  • Growing the Gateway
  • Internal Governance
  • Legislative
  • Orca Task Force
  • Tribal Liaison (Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Puyallup)