The Colgate Scene
People on the go
A Fine Mooring
Last November, Lawrence T. Molloy '85 unseated a 28-year incumbent to become one of five members of the Port of Seattle Commission. The port employs 1,800 people, with a 20,000-person workforce in its operations at Seattle's Fisherman's Terminal, cargo terminals and Sea-Tac airport (which serves 27 million passengers a year) and has direct or indirect impact on 60,000 other jobs that exist because of its facilities. Its 10-year capital budget is $7 billion, and it is the second-largest port authority in the United States, after the New York-New Jersey authority.
"I believe in living a life of service," Molloy said when asked why he ran for the demanding office. "Having been very active in my community, I found that being engaged in planning and government is the place where I am most effective." His term, which began in January, lasts four years.
Molloy had strong union support, which helped him to become the only successful challenger in any major statewide race. He arrived on the commission at a time of general labor unrest in the staunchly pro-union city and amid a controversy over whether pleasure boats should be allowed to use Seattle's Fisher-man's Terminal. In January the commission voted to allow non-fishing boats into the terminal, but the proposal carried a clause -- inserted by Molloy -- that said the area would not be developed for residential use.
"Letting pleasure boats into the Fisherman's Terminal is a smart move from a revenue and resource point of view," he said. "The capital projects at the terminal are all fishing-focused -- you won't find cable/dsl lines or mini-marts that sell an excellent selection of California reds . . . . If somebody truly wanted to capture what Cannery Row was really like when Steinbeck characterized Monterey, they can find it today at Fisherman's Terminal."
Many issues facing the port commission appeal to Molloy's wide range of interests -- from engineering to environmentalism to social justice to public service. After earning a geology degree at Colgate, he went on to Stanford for a masters in environmental engineering. He was a Peace Corps volunteer and worked for the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. before landing at Japan-based Ebara Corporation. He is a technical officer at the company, which manufactures industrial pumps and equipment used in water distillation, energy generation and heating and cooling.
Molloy says Colgate provided him a "great" academic experience that has been "supplemented by fifteen years of reading The Economist magazine." But he cites the two Peace Corps years, which he spent running a UNICEF water project in the Sahara Desert, as the biggest influ- ence on the course of his life to date.
He has a long record of community service in the Seattle region, as well. He has worked with the environmental group Washington Conservation Voters; served as president of the Mt. Baker Community Club, possibly the oldest continuously active organization of its kind in the United States; and advised the Puget Sound chapter of Angels With Attitude, which is a socially responsible investment fund that matches investors with entrepreneurs in search of seed money. In whatever spare time he can muster, Molloy enjoys backpacking with his wife, Lisa Olszewski, a fellow former Peace Corps volunteer who served in Lesotho.
Molloy is taking the lead in an effort to develop a clean energy accelerator (an incubator of sorts) with the goal of both creating jobs and eliminating the need to drill for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve. "If we follow a different path that gives the country true energy security -- it is more secure to use power management, renewable energy and energy efficiency than to have our warships guarding tankers coming down from Alaska -- provides livable-wage jobs and economic growth for the region and protects the environment, then we will have won," he said.
Not surprisingly after the September 11 attacks, Molloy says the most critical issue confronting the Port of Seattle is aviation and marine security. The climate post-Sept. 11 is "like having built a sand castle and having just been hit by the first wave," he said. "Your perspective on your castle and its priorities/strengths/weaknesses has changed completely. More than people realize, we are vulnerable." Airlines, he adds, have been slow to accept responsibility for security in terminals: "Their concern is too focused on keeping the quick throughput of customers through the airport terminals so people don't become frustrated with air travel and start taking their cars for the short feeder flights of one hundred miles or more."
Molloy's vigilance on the environment, appreciation for Seattle and dedication to community service also combine in another objective: getting the Port of Seattle to help clean up a nearby federal Superfund site. His election victory showed that he knows how to build coalitions among disparate groups, which makes it a good bet that he'll succeed. But the bedrock of his commitment to achieving his goals goes well beyond politics.
"To stand at the center of your principles and live your life before the eye of God is incredibly easy," he said. "The corollary that extends from that philosophy is that one should live a life of service." SB
From left: Jay Chandrasekhar '90, Paul Soter '91, Steve Lemme '91, Erik Stolhanske '91 and Kevin Heffernan '90
The Broken Lizard comedy group -- Jay Chandrasekhar '90, Kevin Heffernan '90, Steve Lemme '91, Paul Soter '91 and Erik Stolhanske '91 -- was in Hamilton in February as part of a 23-college tour to promote its new movie, Super Troopers. The story revolves around five Vermont State Troopers stationed on a quiet stretch of the Canadian border who spend their time avoiding work, feuding with the local police, psyching out drivers at their checkpoint and taking impounded sports cars for joyrides. When the state decides to shut down the station for lack of activity, the Troopers get to work to prove they are needed -- with mixed, but funny, results. Super Troopers, directed by Chandrasekhar, was shown at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.
The comedy troupe has its roots at Colgate, where the members performed as the Charred Goosebeak Sketch Comedy Group, and the ties have continued.
"There are so many smart and funny people that go to Colgate -- that's how we got together," said Heffernan, who noted that it was Colgate people who packed the house during their early days performing in New York City. Broken Lizard's first feature-length film, Puddle Cruiser, was filmed on campus. Released in 1996, it also screened at Sundance, as well as at the London and Berlin international film festivals, and received the Hamptons Film Festival's grand prize for best film.
The executive producer of Super Troopers, Peter Lengyel, is dad to Kristen Lengyel '91.
Said Lemme of Super Troopers: "This is the culmination of 10 years of work. It's been an incredible bonding experience to go through this journey together."
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