AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port People: Long Beach. Vancouver USA

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Long Beach Harbor Commission Names Two Engineering Executives for Port

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners last week approved the appointments of two Port of Long Beach engineers to senior leadership positions.

Suzanne Plezia, the port's director of construction management, has been promoted to senior director of the Engineering Bureau’s Program Delivery Group. The position also holds the title of chief harbor engineer. The chief harbor engineer is responsible for executing the port’s capital projects. Ms. Plezia is the first woman to hold that title at the Port of Long Beach.

The Program Delivery Group Ms. Plezia will lead comprises four divisions – Program Management, Construction Management, Survey and Project Controls. This group is responsible for the port’s capital program, including the Middle Harbor container terminal redevelopment and the Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement. This decade, the port is investing $4 billion in capital improvements.

As director of program management, Tom Baldwin, will oversee the port's capital improvement program, which includes dredging, wharf, terminal, building, railroad, bridge, safety, roadway and utility projects.

Ms. Plezia joined the Port of Long Beach in 1996 as an intern. A licensed civil engineer, she was named to her previous position, director of construction management, in December 2014, and has worked in the Design, Program Management and Construction Management divisions. In 2012, she guided the procurement process for the Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement contract, and she managed construction for the recently completed Pier G container terminal redevelopment project. She earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Irvine.

Mr. Baldwin began working for the port in 2002 and was named assistant director of program management in January 2015. He specializes in leading large harbor development projects, including terminal renovations in use by tenants. The program is combining two outdated terminals into a 305-acre, state-of-the-art facility designed to boost capacity while reducing pollutants. Mr. Baldwin has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Penn State University.

Both appointments are effective April 29.

Suzanne Plezia (left) and Tom Baldwin
Photos/Port of Long Beach

Elizabeth Gotelli will be joining the Port of Vancouver USA as chief financial and administrative officer on May 8.
"Elizabeth has a strong financial and administrative background, combined with knowledge of our community and experience with local agencies," said Port CEO Julianna Marler. "These traits are what really make her stand out as the right person for this position. We look forward to having her join our team as we continue growing and bringing sustainable economic benefit to our community."

Ms. Gotelli’s professional experience includes direct management of finance, procurement, legal and administrative functions; staff training; budget development and administration; policy development; strategic planning, and; emergency management.

Her duties at the port will include strategic planning; development of port business policies; operations and budget responsibility for the administration, contracts, finance and IT departments; and ensuring the port complies with local, state and federal regulations and laws governing port operations.

For the past five years, she has served as director of public affairs and human resources for the City of Lacey, Washington. Earlier, she worked for the City of Vancouver (WA) as director of human resources and procurement services manager, and before that, in positions with Clark County Public Works and Community Services.

Ms. Gotelli graduated from the University of Oregon with a Master of Urban and Regional Planning and a Master of Science in Public Affairs.

Elizabeth Gotelli
Photo/Port of Vancouver USA


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