AAPA Seaports Advisory
March 9, 2023
Lieutenant General Michael S. Groen, U.S. Marine Corps, Ret., will share insights into the latest on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence at the AAPA Legislative Summit: Strong Ports, Strong America,  March 27-30, at the Waldorf Astoria Washington, D.C. This conversation will be facilitated by Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, CEO of Ocean STL Consulting and former NOAA Administrator.

LTG Groen served over 36 years in the U.S. military, culminating his career as Director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, and senior executive for artificial intelligence (AI) in the Department of Defense. He previously served at the National Security Agency, overseeing Computer Network Operations, and as the Director of Joint Staff Intelligence (JSJ2), working closely with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Secretary of Defense and Senior Leaders across the Department. Groen is an experienced Marine commander and multi-tour combat veteran. He is the author of With the First Marine Division in Iraq, No Greater Friend, No Worse Enemy.

There is still time to register for AAPA’s Legislative Summit, taking place March 27-30. View the full agenda online.
Trimble Heavy Industry
Center for Advances in Port Management, Lamar University
Continuing AAPA’s interview series with port industry leaders, this week’s conversation is with Charles Tillotson, executive director of Plaquemines Port Harbor & Terminal District. In this series, AAPA celebrates the accomplishments of port professionals and shares how they inspire the rising leaders of tomorrow.
What attributed to your success as a port leader?

My success can be attributed to my short U.S. Navy enlistment while attached to two different U.S. Navy Ships that, unknowingly at the time, instilled in me a great sense of discipline, pride, and a love for the maritime industry. I have been associated with ships, ports, and waterways for over 40 years and more than 40 U.S. ports.

What was your first position in the ports industry, and how did that help prepare you for your current position?
  • My first military position was a Seaman (E3) on the USS Kiska, where I was promoted to Petty Officer 3rd Class (E4) within six months of joining the ship. This promotion at 20 years old was my first supervisory position putting me in charge of the vessel ammunition magazines/cargo holds. In hindsight, this challenge at a young age was the beginning of my understanding of the vital relationship between labor, supervision, management, and leadership.
  • My first commercial position was Marine Terminals Corporation (MTC) in Oakland California.  Again, in hindsight, I worked under great visionary leaders who provided ongoing examples of how to drive sustained growth and success, people, processes, and technology. MTC was a marine terminal and stevedore management company that was a part of an acquisition known today as Ports America.
If you could go back and give any advice to your younger self, what would it be?
  • Carefully select the people in your inner circle. Carefully seek out people of good character and high moral standards to build lifelong support networks.
  • Make your bed and sweep the decks every day by creating a mindful daily routine of organization as you rise, and a maintenance activity that keeps your “decks and ladder wells” clear of debris and clutter. This routine provides a recovery pathway from the rough weather that every leader inevitably faces.    
  • Learn to recover by eating well, exercising often, and embracing and learning from your mistakes, i.e., don’t sweat the small stuff. Eat food for fuel, exercise for mental and physical fitness, and recover to start the day over tomorrow, i.e., endurance is key.
What is your favorite way to spend time on the water?

I am an endurance athlete and love open cold saltwater wetsuit swims in a temperature around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. To me there is nothing more invigorating, and I look forward to a time when I can do it multiple times weekly.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has released the full Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the FY2023 U.S. Marine Highway Program (USMHP). The NOFO makes available a total of $12.4 million for expanding, developing and promoting marine highways. This figure includes $10 million from the FY2023 Appropriations Act and an additional $2.4 million of unspent funds from the FY2022 program. USMHP, formerly known as America’s Marine Highway Program, was subject to several changes included in the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) reauthorization in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. Most importantly, the program now has expanded cargo eligibility, including cargo to or from Canada and Mexico. Additionally, the program no longer requires proposed projects to be deemed eligible by the Secretary of Transportation, meaning all marine highway projects may apply. The NOFO also includes updates to selection criteria.

Ports are encouraged to keep selection criteria in mind when creating applications, as MARAD has told AAPA that even a low score on a selection criteria is better than not addressing the criteria at all. Grant applications must be submitted via Grants.gov before midnight April 28.

MARAD will hold a webinar March 16 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET to discuss USMHP’s application process. The presentation will be followed by a live Q&A session. Learn more about the webinar and how to join online.

AAPA is pleased to announce the 2023 candidates for its newly launched Port Professional Associate (PPA) annual credential program. Candidates were selected by AAPA’s Professional Development Board based on their professional goals, recent accomplishments, and reference letters. The PPA candidates include:
  • Ashley Davis, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Normagene Dmytriw, Port Everglades
  • Sharita Gardener, Port of Port Arthur
  • Samuel Hankinson, Port of Monroe
  • Danile Lamborn, North Carolina State Port Authority
  • Andrew Rodriguez, Port of Hueneme
  • Brittany Russino, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Lorena-Parada Valdes, Port of Corpus Christi Authority
  • Zachary Werkmeister, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The PPA program is comprised of rising professionals with less than five years of experience in the port and supply chain industry who want to learn the fundamentals of the industry, enhance maritime knowledge and skills, and receive mentorship from experienced port and supply chain leaders. PPAs will gain their credential by earning 36 learning hours per year. Credential options include:
  • Receive mentorship from a Port Professional Executive (PPX) and participate on monthly mentor calls.
  • Attend AAPA events, webinars, and other approved industry events.
  • Take a course or session at a local college or online educational program.
  • Participate in a port/supply chain host residency experience.
PPAs can earn up to 112 credit hours towards the PPM certification. For more information on AAPA’s Professional Development programs, including the PPA annual credential, contact Julie Barelas.
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Port of Palm Beach commissioners have selected Michael Meekins as the next executive director of the Port of Palm Beach, replacing retiring Manuel Almira who has served as the port’s director for 15 years. Meekins has served as the port’s business development director since April 2020, where he has been responsible for day-to-day operations. Meekins previously worked as senior director of business development and operations for MLSBC Cruises, and as the senior director of cruise and port operations at Canaveral Port Authority.
Ports of Indiana handled 11.9 million tons of cargo in 2022, resulting in a 6% increase from 2021 and 42% more than 2020. The year-end totals were announced last week at the ports annual first quarter commission meeting held in Jeffersonville. The Commission also approved more than $20 million in expansion and maintenance projects.
The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) announced that the Ridley Island Export Logistics Project (RIELP) has reached a significant milestone with the receipt of its final determination of the Federal environmental effects evaluation review. The Federal Authorities have determined, in accordance with the requirements of Section 82 of the Impact Assessment Act (IAA), that RIELP is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.
Port of South Louisiana held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new headquarters building in Reserve, Louisiana. PortSL also unveiled its rebrand, which will further tell its story and highlight the port’s prominent place in the global market. PortSL’s new logo emphasizes its ability to utilize all four modes of multimodal transportation through shipping, trucking, rail, and aviation.
Andrew Palomares, the Port of Hueneme’s deputy executive director, chief financial and chief administrative officer has retired, following a 15-year stellar career of public service and organizational leadership. His retirement was effective March 3. Palomares said: “I couldn’t have made a better choice than to spend the balance of my 45 years in the workforce with a career at the Port. It truly cares about jobs, the environment, and its surrounding neighborhoods.”
The Port of Oakland held an event on Feb. 28 to connect small, local, and diverse contractors with large companies that the port contracts with on a variety of projects. Prior to the contractor networking event, the port held a workshop on the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification process. DBE certification is invaluable for small companies seeking to become sub-contractors on large infrastructure projects undertaken by the Port of Oakland.
Green Marine
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC
Marine Terminals Business Development Manager, Bellingham, WA; Port of Bellingham

PAMP Project Controls Engineer, Anchorage, AK; Port of Alaska

Director of Strategic Initiatives & Commission Relations, Olympia, WA; Port of Olympia

Director of Trade Development, Everett, WA; Port of Everett

Chief Operating Officer, Miami, FL; Port of Miami Crane Management, Inc.

Performance, Data and Report Analyst, Vancouver, WA; Port of Vancouver USA

Port Senior Equipment Mechanic, Oakland, CA; Port of Oakland

Electronics Officer, U.S. Merchant Marine, Nationwide; American Radio Association
Mar 2023
March 27-30, Washington, D.C.
Apr 2023
April 18-20, Portland, OR
Jun 2023
June 6-7, San Pedro, CA
Jul 2023
July 19-21, Boston, MA
Oct 2023
October 22-25, Aurora, CO
Dec 2023
December 4-6, Barranquilla, Colombia
Save the Date!
South Jersey Port Corporation
Orion Marine Group