The decision for selecting these two respected federal officials for AAPA’s most prestigious annual award was based primarily on their adept leadership for, and many contributions to, the seaport and freight movement industry.
Marking its 103rd year as the recognized, authoritative and coordinated voice of the seaports industry in the Americas, AAPA selected Sen. Vitter and General Coordinator Ruiz de Teresa based on their dedication to improving their respective country’s water resources, infrastructure and freight transportation policy. Their work toward reforming their country’s water resources development legislation, including boosting federal funding to maintain and improve their nation’s ports and harbors, helps create jobs and propel economic competitiveness in the U.S. and Mexico.
“Both Sen. Vitter and General Coordinator Ruiz de Teresa have displayed extraordinary leadership toward ensuring the needs of the port and maritime industry in each of their respective countries are addressed at the federal level,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO. “Both of these leaders appreciate the critical role that ports and waterways play in the global economy and each has worked hard in his respective role to encourage development of the infrastructure necessary to support modern, efficient seaports, including the land- and water-side connections with ports.”
As a member of Congress for over 15 years (combined House and Senate terms) and recently selected chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), Sen. Vitter has used his political expertise and influence to increase federal appropriations for America’s ports and waterways and positively affect much-needed water resources policy changes. Throughout his tenure and leadership in Congress, he has also been a strong advocate for improving the landside transportation infrastructure needs of America’s ports, both in terms of facilitating safe intermodal operations through funding programs like TIGER (Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery) and in protecting port assets through funding such as the Port Security Grants program. To recognize his achievements in advancing the maritime industry and water resources, Sen. Vitter has received several awards and commendations, including the 2010 Congressional Leadership Award from the Propeller Club of the United States, and the 2013 Congressional Leadership Award from the National Waterways Conference.
A public servant with more than 30 years of experience, Mr. Ruiz de Teresawas Mexico’s first national coordinator of Civil Protection (against natural disasters), and has served as director of Mexico’s Airports and Auxiliary Services on two different occasions where he accumulated substantial experience in the transport and logistics arena. As General Coordinator of Mexican Ports and Merchant Marine, he oversees a sector that will see a total investment of over 76,000 million pesos (around USD$5 billion) before 2018. With this investment, his main goal is to contribute to President Enrique Peña Nieto’s plan of transforming Mexico into a global logistics platform. In December 2014, Mr. Ruiz de Teresa was instrumental in bringing AAPA’s Port Executive Management Seminar to Merída, Mexico. That seminar brought together more than 75 public port executives from eight nations (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain and United States) to share best practices on everything from master planning and economic development to cruise marketing and environmental sustainability.
Each year, AAPA presents its Port Person of the Year award to an individual or individuals who have made significant contributions to the port industry. Recent award recipients include: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Cong. Bill Shuster (R-PA) - 2014; Cong. Janice Hahn (D-CA) and Cong. Ted Poe (R-TX) – 2013; Cong. John Mica (R-FL) – 2012; U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) - 2011; Adm. Thad W. Allen, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard (U.S. “Port Person”) and The Honourable David L. Emerson, P.C., former Minister of Industry, International Trade and Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada (Canadian “Port Person”) - 2010; Cong. Jane Harman (D-CA) - 2009; U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) - 2008; Panamanian President Martin Torrijos - 2007; U.S. Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-ME) - 2006; and U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta – 2005.
The joint 2015 “Port Person of the Year” awards will be presented during AAPA’s 2015 Spring Conference event at the Mayflower Renaissance hotel in Washington, D.C., April 20-21.
Port Name: American Association of Port Authorities