Coast Guard Captain Named POLB Security Director

Ryan Manning.

The Port of Long Beach’s harbor commission in late January approved the appointment of U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Ryan Manning as the port’s security director.

Manning, currently Captain of the Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach and Commander of Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach, is joining the POLB following his retirement at the end of March.

In his present role, Manning leads a team of 550 active duty, reserve and civilian personnel and a 750-member volunteer auxiliary workforce. This team facilitates regional partnerships and conducts federal maritime safety, security, law enforcement and environmental protection operations along the Southern California coast and within the LA-Long Beach port complex.

Manning previously was Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Activities Europe, located in Brunssum, the Netherlands. In this position, he directed U.S. Coast Guard vessel inspection and port security assessments throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

He received his commission from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1994 and has master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, joint campaign planning and strategy. He’s also a registered professional mechanical engineer.

Charles van der Steene Named Maersk North America Region President

Charles van der Steene.

Logistics company A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) in late January announced the appointment of Charles van der Steene as the company’s new Regional President for North America, effective Feb. 1, 2024.

With the move, van der Steene joined the company’s executive leadership team.

A logistics industry veteran, van der Steene joined Maersk in 2011 with experience in commercial leadership, operations, and general management. He previously led Maersk’s commercial organization in North America and most recently headed up Maersk’s Global Commercial Excellence and Transformation organization.

Narin Phol, who had served in the role of Regional President of North America since 2019, has moved into the role of Chief Product Officer for Logistics & Services on the company’s executive leadership team and is now based in Copenhagen.

“Charles has a proven track record and enjoys great respect among our North American customers and within the Maersk organization as a natural collaborator and leader,” Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc said. “North America is our number one market, and Charles takes helm of a very well-run organization.”

“I’m thrilled to be rejoining our talented team in North America, where we’ve invested significantly in growing our end-to-end capabilities in recent years,” van der Steene said. “I’m excited to be part of a team committed to bringing predictability and stability to our customers’ supply chains.”

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority Names Xotta New President-CEO 

Peter Xotta.

Peter Xotta, the Port of Vancouver’s vice president of operations and supply, has been hired as the new president and chief executive officer of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

After a global search by management consulting firm Korn Ferry, the port authority’s Board of Directors announced that it selected had Xotta, who had been the port’s vice president of operations and supply chain since October 2021.

In that role, he oversaw operations for land and marine, as well as health, safety, security and port and supply chain optimization matters, according to the port authority.

He officially took the reins in early December, replacing outgoing President-CEO Robin Silvester, who announced six months prior that he would be leaving the port authority after more than 14 years leading the organization.

Xotta’s job experience with the Port Authority includes business development and strategic projects. He was deeply involved in collaborating with partners in securing money for infrastructure projects and oversaw optimization initiatives, such as Active Vessel Traffic Management Program, according to the port authority. 

He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Simon Fraser University’s Segal Graduate School of Business, and serves on the board of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the Freight Management Association of Canada and the Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping and is the previous chair of Canada Place Corp.

Port of Tacoma Hires Familiar Face as Accounting Director, Auditor

Don Kelly.

The Port of Tacoma has hired Don Kelley as its new director of accounting and port auditor, overseeing accounting activities for the port and the Northwest Seaport Alliance.

His appointment was announced Nov. 22.

Kelley, who officially started Nov. 16, takes over for Darren Arakaki, who is expected to retire at the end of the year.

This is a homecoming for Kelley, who spent 21 years of his career at the Port of Tacoma, starting as an accountant in 1999 before being promoted to manager of financial accounting and deputy auditor. He left in 2020 to become senior manager of general accounting for the Port of Seattle.

“We are so pleased to welcome Don back to the Port of Tacoma in a new leadership role,” Port of Tacoma Executive Director Eric Johnson said in a statement. “His deep knowledge of ports and the public sector and his commitment to excellence makes him an outstanding addition to our team.”

Kelley, who received his MBA from Saint Martin’s University, is a licensed CPA and Certified Global Management Accountant.

Port of Grays Harbor Selects New Executive Director, Appoints 2024 Officers

Leonard Barnes.

Port of Grays Harbor Deputy Executive Director Leonard Barnes has been chosen as the port’s next executive director. He is succeeding Gary Nelson, who is expected to retire in March.

The Port of Grays Harbor Commission confirmed Barnes’ employment agreement at its Jan. 9 meeting. It was at a special Dec. 14 meeting that the commission authorized port Director of Finance and Administration Mike Folkers and legal counsel Art Blauvelt to begin talks with Barnes.

Barnes began his career at the port in 1984. Since becoming deputy executive director in 2005, he has been in charge of business development, industrial property leases and airport and marine terminal operations.

He has been active in a number of organizations, including the Northwest Marine Terminals Association, Washington Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board, Washington Public Ports Association and the American Association of Port Authorities.

“He is most certainly the right person for the job as our largest customer nears a major expansion and we take on the largest infrastructure improvement project in the history of the port,” commission President Tom Quigg said. “We have a high degree of confidence that Mr. Barnes will be a great leader for the Port of Grays Harbor.”  

Commission Secretary Stan Pinnick said that Barnes “has a proven track record of developing and maintaining customer and community partnerships, bringing economic development and jobs opportunities to the table, and possesses an extensive knowledge of international and business markets.”

In a statement, Barnes said that he’s grateful for the chance to lead the port during a transformational time.

“With so many exciting and important projects on the horizon, I look forward to seeing them to fruition for our partners and our community,” he remarked.

At the same Jan. 9 meeting, Port of Grays Harbor Commissioners appointed District 1 Commissioner Phil Papac to serve as Commission President in 2024. Commissioner Stan Pinnick was named Vice President and Commissioner Tom Quigg was selected as Secretary.  

Port of Grays Harbor District 2 Commissioner Tom Quigg was also sworn in to his first full 6-year term. Quigg was originally selected to fill the District 2 position after the sudden death of Commissioner Jack Thompson in December 2018.

Thompson had been attending the annual convention of the American Association of Port Authorities in Chile when he fell and hit his head while out for a walk. 

Oregon-Based Greenbrier Overhauls Business Operations Structure

Brian Comstock.
William Glenn.

Lake Oswego, Oregon-based firm Greenbrier Companies, a global supplier of freight transportation equipment and services, on Jan. 8 announced changes to its business structure, including the roles of some senior managers.

Brian Comstock, a 26-year Greenbrier veteran with more than four decades of railway industry experience, has assumed responsibility for all operations in the Americas, including the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Brazil. Additionally, William Glenn, who has spent more than 20 years at Greenbrier in various roles, has assumed responsibility for all operations in Europe.

Greenbrier’s board appointed Comstock to the position of executive vice president and president, the Americas, and Glenn as senior vice president and president, Europe. Both Comstock and Glenn continue to report to company CEO and President Lorie Tekorius.

“Now is the time to leverage the benefits of scale and standardization,” Tekorius said in a statement, adding that the changes “will bring greater focus and accountability to our operating units while driving efficiency in our enabling functions.” 

Meanwhile, CFO Adrian Downes is expected to step down from his role on or about March 31 and move into a one-year role as senior advisor to the CEO. The company has launched a national search for a new CFO.

Additionally, Greenbrier’s board appointed Christian Lucky to the role of senior vice president, chief legal and compliance officer, succeeding Martin Baker, who now serves as senior vice president.  

Port of Seattle Commission Elects First Black Female President

Hamdi Mohamed.

Hamdi Mohamed is the Port of Seattle Commission’s president for 2024, making her the first Black woman to hold the leadership position, the port announced Jan. 9.

Meanwhile, Toshiko Hasegawa is the new vice president and Ryan Calkins is now secretary. 

Mohamed, who serves as director of the city of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, was the first Somali woman elected to public office in Washington state and the first Black woman chosen to be on the port commission when she was elected in November 2021. She also became the first Black woman to serve on any of the 75 ports in the state.

Mohamed said she is thankful for the historic opportunity to take the helm and proud to represent the more than 2 million people of King County.

“Our port plays a crucial role in supporting the state’s economy and its people, functioning as a vital engine of prosperity and connectivity,” she said. “It is a hub of opportunities and we are dedicated to creating and sustaining these opportunities for current and future generations.”

She highlighted a record year for the port in 2023 and the approval of its largest budget yet, with $5.6 billion in capital development spending, an average of $1 billion a year for the next five years.

Mohamed said that along with airport improvements at SEA, the port continues to invest in electrification of its fleet and facilities, developing the maritime workforce and creating economic opportunity “throughout King County and beyond,” while including underrepresented communities.   

Port of Long Beach Appoints New Division Directors

Monique Lebrun (left)  and Terra Van-Andel.

The Port of Long Beach Commission has appointed Monique Lebrun as director of its Program Management division and Terra Van Andel as director of its new Central Procurement Services division, the port announced Jan. 8.

Lebrun, who joined the port in 2008, has served in various roles in the Design and Program Management divisions. Since December 2022, she has been the port’s assistant director of program management, which is part of the Engineering Services Bureau overseeing improvements to harbor, wharfs, terminals, railroads, bridges, roadways and utilities.

Van Andel, who joined the port’s finance division as contract compliance manager in 2020, has been the port’s Streamlines project manager since 2022.

She will oversee the Central Procurement Services Division, created to “standardize purchases and contracts across the Long Beach Harbor Department’s 19 divisions,” a move that is expected to enhance consistency, transparency and efficiency, according to the port.   

Port of LA Appoints Chief Harbor Engineer

Chris Brown.

Port of Los Angeles Assistant Chief Harbor Engineer Chris Brown has been named the new chief harbor engineer in charge of the agency’s engineering division.

Brown takes over for Dina Aryan-Zahlan, who has been promoted to Deputy Executive Director of Development, the port announced Jan 3.

In his new role, Brown’s expected to oversee planning, development and design of infrastructure and facilities at the port, including wharves, terminals and rail.

“Chris has been a pivotal player in many port infrastructure projects over the last two decades, including the award-winning Wilmington Waterfront Park and the current port-wide electrification program,” Aryan-Zahlan said.

“This promotion recognizes all his hard work, dedication and contributions to these critical infrastructure programs,” she continued.

Brown, who earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in structural engineering from the University of Maryland, joined the port in 1993 as a student engineer.

He worked for Holmes & Narver (now AECOM) for four years before returning to the port, where he rose through its ranks.

From 2000 to 2015, he served as section head, program manager and designer on various projects. As assistant chief harbor engineer, he oversaw division sections that handle the structural, specifications, architectural and electrical aspects of port infrastructure projects, according to the port.   

Northwest Seaport Alliance Hires New CEO

Jeff Bellerud.

Transportation executive Jeff Bellerud is the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s new chief operating officer, managing the NWSA’s rail, terminal, breakbulk and other marine operations, it was announced Dec. 4.

Bellerud joins the alliance from CN Rail, where he served as director of intermodal and port operations. That includes 14 marine terminals spanning seven port authorities in North America and operations for seven inland terminals in Western Canada, according to NWSA.

“Jeff’s senior level experience with a Class I railroad and extensive experience in container terminal operations make him an outstanding choice to help drive the alliance forward,” NWSA Deputy CEO Don Esterbrook said.

Bellerud graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and received a master’s in business administration from the University of Northern British Columbia.

“I believe the Northwest Seaport Alliance has big things on the horizon,” Bellerud said in a statement. “I am excited to be leading a dynamic team to continue to drive operational value for our partners and this gateway.”