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Jim Burke, President

May contain: human, face, person, and beard

Position #5
Serving since June 2018
Term Expires June 30, 2023


Jim Burke was born in Babylon, NY, and graduated from high school there in 1989.  After high school, he went to the University of Rhode Island to study marine biology and marine affairs, and in the summers worked as a carpenter, a fisherman, and a diver.   After graduating college Jim worked as a marine biologist in Alaska, Washington, and Maine before moving to Oregon in 1994 and eventually Newport in 1996.  

Jim initially worked for NOAA here, but has been employed by the Oregon Coast Aquarium since 1997 and has been a member of their senior management team since 2006.   As the Director of Animal Care at the Aquarium, Jim is responsible for the veterinary care of all of the Aquarium's animals, managing a staff of 30 animal care professionals, creating and managing a large budget, facility design/construction, and prioritizing critical infrastructure repair and replacement.

Jim is a proud father to his 17-year-old daughter Una and lives in South Beach.

Jim sits on the Oregon Coast Community College's Aquarium Science Program Advisory Board and is proud to be part of that successful program since its inception 20 years ago.

Jim holds a USCG Masters License, serves as a relief captain on OSU's R/V Elakha, and is a long-time Scientific Diver off of our Coast.  He enjoys everything the Coast and the Port has to offer including sailing, motor boating,  fishing, clamming, surfing, and diving to name a few.

Jim is looking forward to helping the commission, the staff, and the community help the Port of Newport accomplish its mission - "to build and maintain waterfront facilities, and promote/support projects and programs in cooperation with other community organizations and businesses that will retain and create new jobs and increase community economic development." Jim takes pride in taking an unbias approach to Port planning and decision-making that is in the best interest of the citizens of the Port district.  Jim was elected as Commission President at the July 23, 2020 Commission Meeting.