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News Release
FOR RELEASE - September 5, 2006
Contact: Aaron Ellis,

American Association of Port Authorities
Phone: (202) 792-4033

American Association of Port Authorities to Kick off 95th Annual Convention Next Week

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Sept. 5, 2006) –  Hundreds of port and maritime transportation leaders, industry experts and service providers will converge on New Orleans next week to participate in the 95th Annual Convention of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – the alliance of leading ports in the Western Hemisphere.

Hosted by the Port of New Orleans, the five-day event (Sept. 10-14) features a multi-faceted agenda of keynote speakers, panel discussions, interactive sessions, networking events and a robust exhibition of service and product providers to the port industry.  The program’s keynote presentation will come from U.S. Chamber of Commerce board chairman Gerald L. Shaheen, who, at a luncheon on Tuesday, will discuss how infrastructure and congestion issues are affecting freight mobility and what can be done to resolve these challenges.  Mr. Shaheen also serves as group president of Caterpillar Inc., headquartered in Peoria, Ill.

Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO, remarked that this year’s convention theme, “Rollin’ on the River,” (see is a special time to pay tribute to the conference’s host port, its importance to the world’s shipping community, and the remarkable way it has recovered from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Katrina.  “Having our 95th annual convention in New Orleans this year is a way to contribute to the recovery process of the city and the entire region,” said Mr. Nagle.  “The port’s staff has worked tirelessly to make this convention an exciting and memorable experience for all attendees.”

In addition to holding its annual convention in “The Big Easy,” another way AAPA is helping support New Orleans’ post-Katrina hurricane recovery is through sales of Fleur de Lis-jeweled lapel pins at its annual convention.  The fund-raiser, spearheaded within the port industry by Colleen Groseclose, wife of AAPA Chairman Bernard S. Groseclose, Jr., is in connection with Friends of the New Orleans Public Library, a New Orleans nonprofit whose goal is to jump-start the rebuilding efforts of the New Orleans Public Library.  More information about the library restoration fund drive is available at

Among the convention’s three days of business sessions (Sept. 12-14) will be a Tuesday morning program titled, “Partnerships for Connectivity,” featuring a panel of respected port authority executives from the U.S. and Canada in an interactive discussion of how government and private transportation interests can successfully initiate and share the costs of public infrastructure projects.  The following morning, Robbie Vitrano—partner and creative director of New Orleans’ Trumpet Advertising—will detail the positive effects of integrated marketing and strategic communications to influence their target audiences.  Following Mr. Vitrano’s presentation, a panel of communications experts, moderated by Port of Palm Beach Executive Director Lori Baer, will review a pair of recent, highly successful communications campaigns that utilized methods that will be referred to in Mr. Vitrano’s presentation.

On Thursday morning, participants will be invited to participate in a lively discussion about preparing for, responding to and recovering from a variety of emergency situations.  The impacts of disasters such as last year’s Hurricane Katrina, accidents like vessel groundings that disrupt labor and shipping activities, and even terrorist incidents, can be greatly diminished through effective emergency preparation and post-disaster response.  Session speakers will discuss key considerations for disaster planning and recovery, which AAPA’s Working Group on Emergency Preparation and Response identified after last year’s devastating hurricane season.

The final business session on Thursday will feature a session titled, “Innovative Approaches to Port Challenges.” Moderated by Port of Longview (Wash.) Executive Director Ken O’Hollaren, panelists in the fields of communications, facilities engineering and environmental management will highlight “best practices” and lessons learned from each of their port’s award-winning programs.

AAPA’s 95th Annual Convention will conclude Thursday evening with a formal dinner honoring 2005-2006 AAPA Chairman Groseclose, to be held at the Hilton Riverside New Orleans hotel.

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