ELLENSBURG CEREMONY SPEAKERS 2018
Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib
Cyrus Habib was elected Washington State’s 16th Lt. Governor in November 2016 at the age of 35. A former legislator, Lt. Governor Habib represented east King County in both the State House of Representatives and the State Senate, where he served as Democratic Whip and a member of the Democratic leadership team.
In his role as Lt. Governor, he presides over the State Senate, serves as acting-Governor in the event of the Governor’s absence, and maintains a portfolio of key issues including Veteran and Disability Employment, Access to Higher Education and Creating a College-Going Culture, and Economic Development, Trade, and International Relations.
In this capacity, Lt. Governor Habib has traveled nationally and internationally marketing Washington State and strengthening trade relationships that ensure our economy flourishes, and that Washington remains a globally-facing, globally-competitive state. As a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Consular Association of Washington, and the Trade Development Alliance, Lt. Governor Habib maintains relationships with the diplomatic community in Washington State and nationally, welcomes foreign dignitaries to the state, and works to promote international trade and foreign direct investment.
A three-time cancer survivor, Lieutenant Governor Habib has been fully blind since age eight. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from Iran before he was born, and he is both the first and only Iranian-American official to hold statewide elected office in the United States. He is the youngest presiding officer in the country, and has been recognized as a political rising star by multiple publications including the Washington Post and Governing Magazine. He is a graduate of Columbia University, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and Yale Law School.
KENT CEREMONY SPEAKER
J. Christopher Lytle
Port of Oakland, California
With more than 40 years in the shipping industry, J. Christopher Lytle is internationally recognized as a leading authority on ports, marine terminals, and container shipping.
Currently, as executive director and chief executive officer of the Port of Oakland, California, Lytle is responsible for the Port’s three lines of business: the seaport—one of the largest in the US, Oakland International Airport, and an extensive commercial real estate enterprise. He was selected, in part, for his proven track record of growing business while engaging the community and ensuring leading environmental stewardship.
A longtime shipping industry veteran—he got his start driving trucks while putting himself through college—Lytle previously served as the executive director at the Port of Long Beach. During his tenure, he played a large role in implementing groundbreaking environmental initiatives, attracting new business to the Port, and kicking off $4 billion in projects that has prepared the Port of Long Beach to compete in the future.
Lytle holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Puget, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration (’79) from Central Washington University’s North Seattle Campus. He served as an Infantry Officer in the US Army and has traveled extensively during his career in the maritime industry, including positions in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Lytle and his family now live in the San Francisco Bay Area.