U.S. port leader begins one-year term as Chairman

Steve Cernak, chief executive and port director for Broward County, Florida’s Port Everglades, a world leader in the cruise industry and ranked among the nation’s leading container ports, began his one year term today as the 2017-18 chairman of the board for the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA)—the unified and recognized voice of seaports in the Americas.

As AAPA’s chairman, Mr. Cernak succeeds Mark McAndrews, port director for the Port of Pascagoula, in Pascagoula, Miss., who was installed as AAPA’s 2016-17 board chairman on Oct. 26, 2016.

The entire slate of 2017-18 delegation officers and board of directors were inducted as part of AAPA’s 106thAnnual Convention today in a membership meeting in Long Beach, Calif.

“AAPA’s new chairman, Steve Cernak, will provide strong leadership as AAPA continues to educate stakeholders, provide services, and advocate policies that strengthen the ability of member seaports to serve their global customers and create economic and social value for their communities,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA president and CEO. “Mr. Cernak was elected chairman of the board in an April 2017 vote of AAPA’s board of directors, representing port officials throughout the Americas. With his valuable experience as a port director involved with diversified cargo, petroleum and cruise operations, longstanding active engagement with AAPA member ports throughout the hemisphere, and a background in seaport engineering, Mr. Cernak has the experience, leadership skills, enthusiasm and respect to advance our industry’s priorities and partnerships on common issues.”

Mr. Cernak also chairs the association’s U.S. delegation, whose other officers include Chairman-Elect William D. Friedman of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, and Vice Chairman John D. Wolfe of The Northwest Seaport Alliance. Mr. McAndrews, of the Port of Pascagoula, is the immediate past chair.

Canadian delegation officers are: Chairman Denis Caron, Belledune Port Authority; Chairman-Elect Carl Laberge, Saguenay Port Authority; Vice Chairman – Sean Hanrahan, St. John’s Port Authority; and Immediate Past Chairman Gaétan Boivin, Trois-Rivières Port Authority.

Chairing the Caribbean delegation again this year is Glenn Roach of Barbados Port Inc. The chair-elect is Clement Reid, Port Authority of the Cayman Islands; and the vice chair is Alfred Henley, British Virgin Islands Port Authority.

Officers of the Latin American delegation are: Chairman – Alberto Diaz, Administración Nacional de Puertos de Uruguay; Chairman-Elect – Raúl Urzúa, Empresa Portuaria Valparaíso; and Vice Chairman Giovanni Benedetti, Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Cartagena S.A. The immediate past chairman is Gerardo Varelalero, Autoridad Marítima de Panamá.

Also during the convention, AAPA presented Port Professional Manager (PPM®) certificates to Blair Garcia, vice president and U.S. maritime division director for WSP USA, in Virginia Beach, Va.; Matt Gresham, director of external affairs for Louisiana’s Port of New Orleans; and Stuart Dezember, finance director for the Port of Benton, headquartered in Richland, Wash. AAPA’s PPM® program is a combination academic and interactive, hands-on industry certification designed to shape the future of port leadership and enhance port management professionalism.

Elizabeth Ogden, the Port of Miami’s assistant port director for capital development, was among this year’s four PPM® graduates but wasn’t able to receive her certificate in person at the Long Beach ceremony.