A new leader has been appointed in Erie: the executive director of the Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority.

The former executive director resigned in August 2022, and after several months of searching, the Port Authority hired Martin LaMar as the new executive director. Board members said they performed an extensive search to fill the position.

“It was just a very long exhaustive process. We went through quite a bit of testing, had to have certain qualifications, and I think we landed on the right individual in Marty LaMar,” said Dave Zimmer, chairman, Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority.

Previously, LaMar worked as the City of Pittsburgh’s chief economic development officer where he oversaw the Housing Authority as well as the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Port Authority members said LaMar has more than 20 years of experience in real estate and economic development.

“He’s a very strategic big-thinking person. A couple of things that I remember that really made an effect on me is when he said he wanted to leave a legacy,” Zimmer added. “He was looking for a position like that, an organization to lead where he could look back and say ‘hey this is what I helped achieve.'”

Zimmer added that in addition to hiring a new executive director, they have several projects planned for this year.    

“We have plans to further develop Liberty Park. We have plans to further develop the McCallister Site. There are just so many potential things going on,” said Zimmer.

Last year, the Port Authority completed a State Street improvement project, making the area more pedestrian friendly.

City of Erie Mayor Joe Schember said he had the opportunity to meet LaMar when he visited Erie during the interviewing process and that he looks forward to working with Lamar soon.

“I think Martin LaMar is going to really make a huge impact and really improve our Bayfront incredibly. I’m really looking forward to working with him and I’ll do anything I can to help him. He’s a great man,” said Mayor Joe Schember City of Erie.