By unanimous vote, the Harris County Commissioners Court and the Houston City Council on Tuesday jointly re-appointed James T. Edmonds as chairman of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority. County commissioners and city council members gathered in the council chambers of the Houston City Edmonds was first named chairman in 2000 after serving two terms as a commissioner. He is also a member of the board of commissioners for the Houston Pilots Association. The chairman and the commissioners serve two-year terms on the port commission without pay.
Under Edmonds’ leadership as chairman, the port authority has implemented some of the most innovative environmental, security and operations initiatives – while experiencing the most aggressive growth, capital expansion and profitability – in its nearly century-long history.
“I’m glad to see Jim Edmonds reappointed for another term as Port Commission chairman,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “It’s in times of economic uncertainty like these that Jim’s foresight and calm, steady guidance are most needed. All of us in Harris County benefit from Jim’s experience and wisdom.”
Houston Mayor Annise Parker stated, “I am pleased to join Harris County Commissioners and Houston City Council in reappointing Jim Edmonds as chairman. He is a proven leader who has guided the port through a period of unprecedented growth and environmental advances. Keeping him at the helm will help ensure this progress continues.”
“I am deeply honored and grateful for the confidence Harris County Commissioners and the Houston City Council have expressed in me since I was first appointed chairman in 2000,” Edmonds said. “I will work even harder over the next two years to ensure that confidence is well placed.
The port authority made history in 2002, when it became the first U.S. port facility to implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) that meets the rigorous parameters of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 system. Under Edmonds’ leadership, the port authority continues to set standards in environmental stewardship and security measures.
In 2008, it became the world’s first port authority to initiate a Security Management System certified under ISO 28000:2007. In 2009, the recertification of its EMS raised the bar yet higher, with the additional certification of the Bayport Container Terminal. Opened in February 2007, the Bayport terminal has greatly added to the port authority’s annual container handling capacity, which now totals 1.8 million container TEUs.
During Edmonds’ tenure, one of the largest single allocations of federal funding was appropriated to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) for infrastructure projects at the Houston Ship Channel. In 2009, the bipartisan efforts of the Texas Congressional Delegation and the Corps resulted in the designation of $98.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for these local infrastructure projects, helping enable the ship channel to annually contribute about 785,000 jobs and $118 billion in regional impact, and 1.5 million jobs and $285 billion of economic activity to the nation.
In addition, Edmonds’ leadership helped the port authority become a major player in the conception and creation of the Gulf Coast Rail District, and the nation’s first Ship Channel Security District. Both are considered models of success in public-private partnerships.
Edmonds is also well known for other coalition building initiatives. A prime example: under Edmonds’ leadership, the $700 million deepening and widening of the Houston Ship Channel was completed in 2005. As a result of this port authority partnership with local stakeholders and federal funding from congress, more than 4,200 acres of wetland and wildlife habitats are being created, while enabling the Port of Houston to continue as the $118 billion economic engine for this region and the state of Texas.
The port authority has focused on business opportunities for small businesses under Edmonds’ l