Vanta E. Coda II has been named as the Ports of Indiana’s next chief executive officer to replace Rich Cooper following his retirement, effective July 1, 2018. Cooper is retiring after 16 years with the Ports of Indiana and will assist the organization with the leadership transition through the end of the year.
Coda returns to the Ohio River Valley with 25 years of experience in maritime and multimodal operations on the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and Ohio River. He most recently served as the executive director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, operating in the busiest port district on the Great Lakes. During his time at Duluth, Coda led the completion of $24 million in infrastructure renewal projects, opened the CN Duluth Intermodal Terminal and launched the Duluth Cargo Connect initiative. Originally from Kentucky, Coda previously managed sales and marketing for Indiana-based American Commercial Barge Lines, and is married to a native Hoosier - his wife Allison is from Greenwood, Ind.
“We’re excited to find someone with Vanta’s extensive experience managing operations on the Ohio River and Great Lakes to guide the continued success and future growth of Indiana’s ports,” said Ports of Indiana Commission Chairman Ken Kaczmarek. “We thank Rich for his tremendous contributions to the Ports of Indiana and we’re very appreciative that Rich and Vanta are coordinating a seamless transition for our customers and our business.”
Cooper has served as CEO of the Ports of Indiana since 2005, after being hired as chief operating officer in 2001. Under Cooper’s leadership, the organization experienced unprecedented growth and became a completely self-funded enterprise. The last four years have been the best in the organization’s 57-year history and from all indications, 2018 could easily make it the fifth. All three Indiana ports recently achieved new records for cargo shipments.
“It’s been a privilege to lead the Ports of Indiana and work alongside a great team that has made such tremendous contributions to the state of Indiana,” said Rich Cooper. “Our success can largely be attributed to the partnerships we have developed with world class companies that call our ports home. There is no question the Ports of Indiana is in great hands, led by an outstanding group of commissioners, a superior staff committed to excellence, and now Vanta, as the new captain of the ship. I’m looking forward to watching this team take the Ports of Indiana to the next level.”
Coda began his career in Chicago with the Illinois Central Railroad, eventually becoming director of marketing and sales following its merger with the CN railroad. Having played a key role in CN’s strategic planning for chemical transport, he was hired by the Westlake Group of Companies in 2000 to manage logistics for its vinyl subsidiary. Five years later, he was recruited by American Commercial Lines to be director of regional sales, managing an international portfolio that included expansion of its project cargo business and the company’s first wind generation movement. Coda also served as director of fuel transportation for Dynegy Inc. and director of global logistics for Nabors Industries.
“It’s an honor to be part of the Ports of Indiana and to have the opportunity to bring my family back to our roots,” said Coda. “I have always enjoyed watching the growth and development of Indiana’s ports, and I could not be more excited about the transformational opportunities that lie ahead. Indiana truly has a unique port system that is recognized around the maritime industry as one of the premier port authorities in the country. I look forward to working with our customers, stakeholders, local communities and the Ports of Indiana team to build on this record of success.”
Coda has been actively involved with maritime policy initiatives for the Great Lakes at the state and federal levels in his roles as president of the Minnesota Ports Association, member of the board of directors for the American Association of Port Authorities and member of the American Great Lakes Ports Association and USDOT Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee.