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Black Ball Ferry Line Sold

By Brian Hartz | Jan 10, 2012

Black Ball Ferry Line announced on Jan. 10 that the company’s current executive management team has agreed to purchase the company from the Oregon State University Foundation. Terms of the deal were not released.

The company, which operates the M.V. Coho passenger and vehicle ferry between Port Angeles, Wash., and Victoria, B.C., was bequeathed to the foundation by former owner Lois Acheson in 2004 as part of a $21 million gift of her estate to establish an endowment in OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Pursuant to her bequest, the company was placed in a long-term trust with the intention of preserving the company’s culture and commitment to its employees and the region it serves.
 
Both the foundation and Black Ball Ferry Line’s board of directors voted unanimously in support of the deal, agreeing that it best respected Acheson’s wishes while continuing local stewardship of the company.
 
“My aunt Lois Bates Acheson’s wishes have been carried out exactly as she would have wanted to the mutual benefit of the Black Ball management group, the Oregon State University Foundation and the College of Veterinary Medicine,” says Donna Lee Schoen, Black Ball Ferry Line trustee and board member. “It was her intention that the Coho ferry would continue to provide long-term employment and continuing service for the Port Angeles and Victoria communities. This is a wonderful resolution for all the parties involved. She would be very happy with the outcome.”
 
“I would like to thank the foundation, trustees, and the board for their stewardship in the transition to management ownership,” said Ryan Burles, president of Black Ball Ferry Line.
 
“Our management team will continue a strong commitment to the local community, the employees and culture of Black Ball Ferry Line,” he adds. “We will ‘stay the course’ while continuing to improve our service and invest in the future.”
 
The company's executive management team includes: president and COO Ryan Burles (Victoria); CEO Capt. John Cox (Seattle); senior vice-president of finance David Booth (Seattle); Rian Anderson, district manager (Port Angeles); and marketing director Ryan Malane (Port Angeles). The company remains a U.S. corporation.
 
Black Ball Ferry Line recently embarked on a multi-year program to improve the terminal in Port Angeles, as well as the continued renovation of its Victoria facilities. The company employs more than 120 people and operates terminals in both cities. The ferry line transports 400,000 passengers and 120,000 vehicles annually, and has an estimated annual economic impact of more than $160 million within the local communities.
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