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Summer Update from Commissioner Sam Cho

Sep 05, 2023

Appointment to National Committee Against Human Trafficking

I am both humbled and honored to announce my recent appointment to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking. Serving as a Port of Seattle Commissioner has given me a unique perspective on the vast networks that connect our world. Tragically, these same networks are exploited by predators who prey on the vulnerable.

This advisory committee to Secretary Pete Buttigieg has a mandate to advance comprehensive strategies and best practices that would fortify our transportation sectors against human trafficking, so we can eradicate this blight on our skies.

IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee


Along with the Port’s Executive Director Steve Metruck, I attended the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in July. It was particularly important for me to join this meeting, where the IMO officially adopted its Strategy on the Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, so I could represent the Port of Seattle’s commitment to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions on an accelerated timeline.

While the proposed strategy sets a vision for net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping by around 2050 and the promotion of alternative zero and near-zero GHG fuels by 2030, I still think there is more work to be done to implement an aggressive plan to reduce maritime emissions, and I will continue to be a strong voice on the international stage for realizing such a plan.

NWSA Asia Customer Visit


I recently had the exciting opportunity to join Port of Tacoma Commissioner Kristin Ang and key executive leadership of the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA or the Alliance) on a whirlwind five-day trip to Singapore, Seoul, and Taipei. Our mission? To connect with key international shipping customers of the Alliance and to foster greater collaboration and sustainability in the shipping industry. In today's fast-paced, technology-driven world, the value of face-to-face interactions can sometimes be overlooked. However, I experienced firsthand how connecting in person with these key leaders can strengthen partnerships and open doors for new opportunities. I'm grateful for the relationships we built and the experiences we shared during my time in Singapore, Korea, and Taiwan. These connections will undoubtedly prove invaluable as we work together to propel the Northwest Seaport Alliance and the global shipping industry into a prosperous and sustainable future.

Equity Policy Directive + Language Access Policy

I am thrilled to report that the Commission has successfully passed a portwide Equity Policy Directive. Our Commission’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has driven this policy's development through community and Port employee engagement, collaborative development with Port executive leadership, and expert input. This directive serves as a guiding framework that addresses organizational culture shift and goalsetting, community engagement, environmental justice, and performance measurement and accountability. Our work doesn't stop with the passage of this policy; rather this policy serves as a jumping-off point for bodies of work that will move us ever closer to becoming the most inclusive and equitable port in the nation.


The Commission also recently passed a portwide Language Access Order, legislation that directs the development of a comprehensive plan to accommodate individuals with limited English proficiency, including those who use American Sign Language (ASL). This initiative aims to bridge language barriers and create equal opportunities for all members of our diverse community and visitors from around the globe. The plan will include a review of the most critical external- and internal-facing communications and media owned by the Port, so we can facilitate better communication and promote a more equitable experience at our properties and beyond.

Firefighter Training

DecorativeI had the honor of attending the Port’s annual FireOps firefighter training near Boise, Idaho. Our dedicated firefighters play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and security of our port facilities, and it was both humbling and inspiring to witness their commitment to excellence in action.

During my time at the training session, I had the opportunity to personally experience some of the rigorous training exercises these professionals endure. I quickly realized just how physically demanding all these drills were, pushing the limits of strength, endurance, and dexterity. It gave me a newfound appreciation for the immense dedication and perseverance our firefighters embody, as they continually hone their skills to protect our port community in even the most challenging situations.

I am proud to support the ongoing professional development of our brave first responders, who work tirelessly to safeguard the well-being of our port community. Their unwavering dedication and resilience represents the standard that we all should aspire to achieve across the operations of the Port of Seattle.

Raisbeck High School Environmental Challenge Kick-off Assembly

I'm pleased to share my recent experience speaking at the Raisbeck High School Environmental Challenge Kick-off Assembly. These talented high school students have been invited to propose environmentally friendly projects for SEA’s renovated South Satellite. This massive project represents an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the Port’s commitment to green building, convey a Pacific Northwest sense of place, and meet the needs of all passengers using the space for decades to come. One of my favorite things to see as Port Commissioner is the passion and creativity of young minds at work. Stay tuned as we follow the progress of this exciting competition and witness the transformative ideas that will help shape a greener travel experience for everyone at Seattle Tacoma International Airport.



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