AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port People: Florida. Virginia

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Port Everglades Chief Executive/Port Director Steven Cernak Elected Chairman of the Florida Ports Council

Port Everglades Chief Executive/Port Director Steven Cernak, PPM®, was elected chairman of the Florida Ports Council during the group’s annual board meeting August 30in Tallahassee. He succeeds Port Tampa Bay Director Paul Anderson, who had served as council chairman since September 2015.

At the same August 30 meeting, the council members also elected PortMiami Port Director and CEO Juan Kuryla, PPM®, vice chairman and Port of Palm Beach Executive Director Manuel Almira, PPM®, secretary/treasurer. All positions serve one-year terms.

"Steven Cernak has been an invaluable member of the Florida Ports Council. His extensive experience at numerous ports around the nation is a great asset to capitalize on the strengths of Florida’s diverse seaport system," said Florida Ports Council President and CEO Doug Wheeler. "We look forward to working with Steven and port partners to continue to move Florida forward as a key player in the global marketplace."

Mr. Cernak joined Port Everglades as chief executive in March 2012, after serving 10 years as Galveston port director and before that as manager of port development for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He also worked with several private engineering consultancies in New Jersey. Next month, he takes the helm as AAPA chairman of the board for the 2017-18 activity year.

"Florida is in an enviable position because we have 15 dynamic seaports that specialize in diverse business sectors ranging from cruise to cargo to petroleum and even to military and ship building," Mr. Cernak said. "And, we have a governor and legislature that supports Florida’s robust maritime industry because they know it is a job creator that drives our economy forward."

The Florida Ports Council is the professional association of Florida’s public seaports, providing advocacy, leadership and research on seaport-related issues before state and federal government. Florida’s ports support nearly 900,000 jobs in the state and contribute $117.6 billion to the state’s economy each year. The Florida Ports Council administers the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council, which is required by law to provide a 5-year Florida Seaport Mission Plan annually.

Steven Cernak

Virginia: Port Names Brian Kobza Director of Ocean Carrier Sales

Brian Kobza joined the staff of The Port of Virginia® as director of ocean carrier sales, effective September 5.
Most recently a senior international account manager with CSX Transportation, his work experience also includes time with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Maersk Equipment Service Co., and APM Terminals in Elizabeth (NJ). He received a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

"Brian is very diverse in terms of his industry experience," said Thomas D. Capozzi, the port’s chief sales officer.
"His experience working for one of the Class-1 railroads will be particularly helpful as we develop our rail-growth strategies. He’ll be a solid addition to the team and integral to marketing a growing Port of Virginia to the world’s ocean carriers."

In the spring, the port’s sales team underwent some planned changes that included the promotion of Joe O’Brien to vice president of ocean carrier sales following the retirement of Frank Naughton and the sear that led to Mr. Kobza’s hiring.

Mr. O’Brien will remain in the port’s office in Hoboken (NJ). Mr. Kobza will operate out of the New Jersey office during a transition period before relocating to the port headquarters in Norfolk.


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