Danny W. Wan was named the Port of Oakland's Executive Director Nov. 14, 2019 by the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners, the Port's seven-member governing body. His appointment represented a natural transition from the increasing advisory and executive management roles he played over the 13 years of service he has given to the Port. Mr. Wan first advised the Port in the 1990s as an external legal counsel to the Aviation Division. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Wan was Deputy Port Attorney. In 2012, Mr. Wan became Port Attorney and advised the Port Board and staff on a broad range of issues in the conduct of the Port’s Maritime, Aviation, and Commercial Real Estate businesses. Prior to his formal appointment as Executive Director, he served as both acting and interim Executive Director. His comprehensive knowledge of the Port’s integrated operations coupled with his intimate familiarity with the regulatory, community and public policy contexts in which the Port operates has been crucial in providing strategy and support in resolving significant legal and operational challenges.
Mr. Wan has been a public servant, local community leader and policy maker. He started his career in the late 1980s as a public-school teacher in Oakland and San Francisco. In 1996, he was elected to the Board of Directors for the East Bay Municipal Utilities District. In 2000, he was appointed to the Oakland City Council to represent the Chinatown/Grand Lake district, becoming the first openly LGBT council member in Oakland, and was elected to the position by voters two years later. As a council member, he led a successful bond initiative to fund clean-up and capital improvements to Lake Merritt and the Oakland Estuary that has resulted in a revitalized and restored Lake Merritt. He authored and passed an ordinance on multi-lingual access to city services as well as domestic partners and Port living wage policies. From 2008 to 2012, Mr. Wan was the City Attorney and Risk Manager for the City of Morgan Hill. In 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy which promotes economic development and environmental stewardship of the Sierra Nevada region.
Mr. Wan believes in the principles of transparency, common sense and strong ethics, which he believes inspire trust and lead to good decisions and effective implementation of goals and objectives. He welcomes creativity and innovation to advance and solidify the future of the Port as a key local, regional and state economic engine and jobs base. Mr. Wan is committed to operating a Port that facilitates efficient goods movement, provides a convenient and positive airport experience and promotes economic and community benefits for residents of Oakland and the region.
Mr. Wan received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Rhetoric and Masters in Education from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Juris Doctorate from the UCLA School of Law. He lives in Oakland with his fiancé.