Port Townsend Marine Science Center changes leadership

Outgoing chief to continue on some projects

Diane Quinn.

Diane Quinn.

PORT TOWNSEND — The board of directors of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center has promoted Diane Quinn, program director of six years, to the position of executive director after Bee Redfield resigned.

“We are very excited about all the wonderful skills and experience that Diane brings to the position,” said Diane Baxter, board president of Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC).

“We are sad to see Bee move on and we are grateful to her for her many contributions to the PTSMC’s success,” Baxter added.

Quinn accepted the offer on Monday. Baxter continues to work with the center on contract for special projects, such as he articulation of a skeleton of a gray whale, said Liesl Slabaugh, spokesperson.

“We have a smooth transition as she trains Diane Quinn,” Slabaugh said.

Quinn had worked for more than two decades at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum, ending as the director of education, and joined the PTMSC staff in 2017. The Burke collaborated with the PTMSC on an exhibit in 1998 which was how Quinn first learned of the nonprofit.

Said Quinn: “I worked closely with Libby Palmer, Judy D’Amore and Anne Murphy, the founders and founding executive director, and I became convinced that the organization has a unique role in the local community, that community marine science centers have a critical role in the broader community of practice, and that change for the better happens in communities and in the world through sustained effort and commitment.”

Baxter said the board carefully studied the needs of the organization as it prepares to plan for the renovation of the Flagship Landing building and for moving its aquarium off of the pier at Fort Worden State Park which is slated for demolition in the next few years. She said the board enthusiastically and unanimously supported the hire of Quinn.

“Besides her track record of successful regional collaborations, and her pre-existing relationships with many community leaders, Diane has developed a deep mutual trust between herself and the PTMSC staff,” Baxter said.

“Her comprehensive knowledge of the organization, especially in terms of program and operations, as well as her experience with creative program design and transformation, makes her an ideal fit for the top leadership position at this time in PTMSC’s journey.”

Redfield was appointed executive director in March 2022 after a national search. She holds two master’s degrees, one in conservation biology and one in human resources, and is finishing her doctorate in quantitative ecology at Purdue University.

In February, as negotiated during her hire, Redfield assumed a more limited role for three months while she prepared for her final steps in her Ph.D. program. In April, Redfield notified the board that she was stepping down from the position for personal reasons.

“I am fully dedicated to supporting PTMSC through this transition and beyond. I love PTMSC, the team, and the Port Townsend community, and I am so grateful for the time that I spent with you all,” she said.

“I’m thrilled to see Diane Quinn stepping into this role, as she brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for marine education that will serve PTMSC well as we move into the future.”

Baxter said Redfield’s biggest legacy is “what we think will become an iconic landmark in Port Townsend: a gray whale skeleton on Union Wharf which is scheduled to be installed this summer.

“She also expanded the Future of Oceans lecture series, oversaw new programming at the Flagship Landing building downtown, and strengthened the internal systems of the organization.”

For the latest information about the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, visit www.ptmsc.org.

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