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Committee Mission

The Public Relations (PR) Committee shall develop industry-wide objectives, strategies, messages, programs and activities that raise awareness and appreciation of ports, their value as economic engines, and the vital role they play both internationally and locally. The Committee shall propose, develop and share communications best practices, as well as communications tools, values, research and training activities among committee members and within the AAPA membership/AAPA committees and partners. 

Committee Priorities (revised January 2020)

  • Port Messaging/Communications – Utilize marketing, publicity, social media, and media relations opportunities, such as Ports Day, to raise awareness and appreciation of port industry programs, projects, activities and facilities, including economic, environmental and security benefits. Develop a new AAPA-administered annual award to recognize a member port for superior achievements in raising public and policymaker awareness and appreciation of ports.
  • Stakeholder, Shareholder & Supporter Engagement – Throughout the year, target policymakers and influencers, community residents and civic groups, businesses and business associations, port customers and tenants, port goods and services providers, and individuals and organizations allied with ports, to help increase perceptions of ports as economic engines, jobs stimulators, environmental stewards and contributors to homeland security.
  • Communications Tools & Effectiveness – In time for Ports Day, update AAPA’s port industry messaging awareness “kit” and make it available for committee members to utilize. Throughout the year, provide best practice exchanges, shared information and information resources, innovative communications tools and communications measurement techniques to ensure port communications effectiveness.

Committee Roster

Committee Resources

Upcoming PR Committee Meetings and Conferences

  • The AAPA PR Committee will meet virtually on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, from 4:00pm to 5:30pm (Eastern) to discuss committee priorities for the upcoming year, identify potential presenters for AAPA's 2021 (virtual) Communications, Administration and Legal Issues Seminar (Feb. 22-26) and to introduce Jen Wilks, AAPA's new public affairs director and the PR Committee's new liaison, who succeeds Aaron Ellis following his retirement from the association on Jan. 15, 2021. You can join this meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone at the following link: You can also dial in using your phone at this number:  +1 (669) 224-3412  Your telephone Access Code is: 808-451-533. 

Recent PR Committee Meetings

Between Oct. 26-30, 2020, AAPA held a VIRTUAL conference for port PR professionals called the 2020 Energy & Environment Seminar in which there was a separate seminar track for port communications on topics related to energy and the environment. Presentations from this seminar are available only to seminar registrants for up to six months following the event.

AAPA's 2019 Communications and Marketing Seminar was held on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 28-29, at the Port of Montréal headquarters building. Click here to view the presentations from that seminar. No separate PR Committee meeting was held during this event. 

Meeting was held on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, from 9:30am to 1:00am, in the Grandby D meeting room (third floor) of the Hilton Norfolk the Main, in conjunction with AAPA's 108th Annual Convention and Expo. Click here for agenda.
The following presentations were made at this meeting:
**Robert Morris, PR Committee co-chair and Chief Communications Officer for the Georgia Ports Authority, showcased a social media audience interaction tool, called Slido, that he planned to use for his session in Montreal at the 2019 AAPA Communications and Marketing Seminar.  
**Shani Calvo, Senior Content Strategist for Naylor Association Solutions, shared opportunities for AAPA publications, including AAPA's new microsite, and how AAPA members can to get articles and other materials into these publications. 
**Dr. Elizabeth Blanchard, a commissioner for the Port of Stockton, discussed the port's award-winning Barn Owl Nest Box Program to attract, raise and use owls instead of chemicals to minimize rodents at the port.
**Lorianna Kastrop, a commissioner for the Port of Redwood City, discussed her port's public art program for utility boxes and light ballasts.


Prior Meetings

Meeting of the PR Workshop began at 3:00pm, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, and ended at noon on Friday, March 2, 2018
Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel
64 S. Water St., Mobile, AL 36602
AAPA’s 2018 Public Relations Workshop combined lecture, interactive discussion and exercises to cover topics vital to maritime industry communications professionals, ranging from effective community and stakeholder outreach, to optimizing social media platforms, to training in order to ‘ace’ contentious media interviews, respond appropriately to crisis and increase awareness of your organization’s brand. (Click here for the workshop agenda; click here to access speaker presentations from the workshop.) 

Meeting on Monday morning, October 2, 2017, 9:45am - 11:15am (click here for agenda; Seaside Ballroom B meeting room) in conjunction with AAPA's 106th Annual Convention and Expo (Oct. 1-4). 
Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center
300 E Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90802
Presentations during this committee meeting were made by:
**Virginia Port Authority's Jay Stecher, titled "How The Port of Virginia is Using Marketing Automation to Help Build Awareness, Grow its Sales Funnel, and Put its Website to Work"
**Port of Québec's Marie-Andrée Blanchet, titled "Port City Relations and Building Bridges: the Case of Port of Québec" 
**Port Corpus Christi's Patricia Cardenas, titled "Social Media - The Power of Engagement" 

Meeting on Monday afternoon, June 12, 2017, 2:00pm to 5:00pm in the Belmont C meeting room of the Crown Plaza Portland Downtown Convention Center Hotel. Meeting was held to review, discuss and approve dissolving all PR Committee subcommittees and, in their place, form ad-hoc work groups as needed for specific PR activities, issues and events.  Click here for the meeting agenda. 
In conjunction with AAPA's 2017 Communications and Economic Development Seminar (June 13-14).
Crown Plaza Portland Downtown Convention Center
441 NE 2nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

Meeting on Tuesday morning, April 4, 2017, 9:45am - 11:30am
In conjunction with AAPA's 2017 AAPA Spring Conference (April 4-5)
Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel, Meeting Room 4
999 Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
Click here for committee meeting agenda.

Meeting on Monday morning, Oct. 24, 2016, 9:30am - 11:30am
In conjunction with AAPA 105th Annual Convention and Expo (Oct. 23-26)
Sheraton New Orleans Hotel
500 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA  70130
Click here for the committee meeting agenda.
Click here for information about AAPA's 2016 Annual Convention and Expo.
(Click here for 10-24-2016 PR Committee Meeting recap by committee chair Judy Adams.) The PR Committee began with a look at AAPA's new awareness videos, one on the Port Professional Management program and one on AAPA membership benefits which will soon be accessible on AAPA's website and its Twitter and Facebook sites. Next was a discussion of the agenda topics and a call for speakers for AAPA's 2017 Communications and Economic Development Seminar, to be held in Portland, Ore., June 13-14. The seminar will feature topics for both communications and economic development disciplines, with both concurrent and plenary sessions. There was also discussion of holding a combined PR and MED Committee meeting on the afternoon of June 12  (1:00pm - 5:00pm) in advance of the seminar, with a focus on providing training on using AAPA's new Port Planning and Investment Toolkit. Next up were the seven subcommittee reports, after which point Judy Adams, the new PR Committee chair, recommended the committee review the priorities for each of the subcommittees via a survey this fall to determine what members most want out of the subcommittees and how best to refashion them, or add and delete them as needed, to achieve this goal. Another suggestion was to rename various subcommittees to ensure each subcommittee title reflects what it is about. Finally, participant presentations included Jonathan T. Daniels, Executive Director & CEO for the the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport, talking about why the Port of Gulfport would be a good venue for an upcoming AAPA conference, with a presentation and short video clip, and Aaron Ellis, with AAPA, sharing two programs that PR Committee 1st Vice Chair Mélanie Nadeau with the Port of Montréal asked to be shared with the group, one titled "Port in the City" boat tour (, and another on the greenhouse gas emission reduction and logistics chain fluidity project using the port's TRUCKING web portal ( 

Meeting and port tour on Monday afternoon, June 6, 2016, 1:00pm - 6:30pm 
In conjunction with AAPA 2016 Cargo Optimization Seminar
Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson
2 Exchange Pl, Jersey City, NJ, USA 07302
The PR Committee meeting began with SMART Center Executive Director Barbara Murray ( and Port of Houston Authority Senior Director of Small Business and Education Outreach Gilda Ramierz ( giving a presentation on The Southeast Maritime and Transportation (SMART) Center, which is a National Science Foundation Advance Technology Education Center located in Virginia Beach, VA. The presentation was followed by a pilot boat tour of the Port of NY/NJ harbor, provided by the Port Authority of NY & NJ, and led by Port Commerce Department Assistant Director Bethann Rooney and New York Shipping Association Director of External Communications Beverly Fedorko, who pointed out some of developments and community relations "hot spots" that the Port Authority is undertaking. 
Click here for the list of speakers, topics and presentations from AAPA's 2016 Cargo Optimization Seminar. 
Click here for the photos from the seminar and from the Port of NY & NJ PR Committee boat tour. 

Meeting on Tuesday morning, April 5, 2016, 9:30am - 11:15am
In conjunction with AAPA 2016 Spring Conference
Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel, Meeting Room 4
999 Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
Click here for PR Committee meeting agenda
Click here for information about AAPA's 2016 Spring Conference

March 3-4, 2016 AAPA PR Committee Meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas
Click here for the meeting agenda. The meeting was hosted by and held at the offices of the Port of Corpus Christi and included a joint meeting with the AAPA Environment Committee on March 4.


Nov. 2, 2015 AAPA PR Committee Meeting in Miami, Florida
Click here for the meeting agenda. The PR Committee meeting was held from 9:30am - 11:00am, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, in conjunction with AAPA's 104th Annual Convention at the InterContinental Miami Hotel, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami, FL, USA 33131. The meeting to took place in the Sandringham Room.  During this meeting, led by PR Committee Chair Patricia Cardenas (who is Port Corpus Christi's communications director), participants heard a presentation by AAPA's Mary Beth Long about the association's new Strategic Plan (click here for AAPA's strategic plan highlights) and an overview of the U.S. Maritime Administration's (MARAD) new Strong Ports white board videos. To view each of MARAD's new Strong Ports videos, click here, here and here. To view MARAD's new Marine Highways video, click here

Also during the meeting, Show 'n Tell presentations were made by:

  • Lisa Lefeber, Port of Everett, showing the Port of Everett’s aerospace freight-handling video. (Click here for Port of Everett's aerospace freight-handling video.)
  • Karl Strauch, Port Tampa Bay, on Port Tampa Bay's branding initiative. (Click here for presentation.)
  • Meredith Martino, AAPA, showcasing the redesign of AAPA's website. (Presentation made using online resources.)

September 28-29, 2015 AAPA PR Committee Meeting in Montréal, Québec, Canada
Click here for a copy of the committee meeting agenda. The PR Committee met all day on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, and, half-day on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015,in conjunction with the Association of Canadian Port Authorities 2015 Conference. The meeting was held at Le Westin Montréal, 270 St. Antoine Ouest · Montreal, Quebec H2Y 0A3 · Canada.