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AAPA Award Recognition

Port Person of the Year Award 

Distinguished Service Award

ImPORTant Service Award



This award is made in recognition of an individual or individuals whose outstanding work or service has made a significant contribution to public port authorities and/or maritime commerce in the Western Hemisphere. Nominees may be recognized for positive contributions with international impact or for benefits to ports within a country or region.

Nominees may include government officials, trade or transportation industry leaders, or any other individual who has made a significant contribution to advance the priorities of the public port community (examples: free trade, infrastructure investment, technological advances, etc.). Generally, nominees will not be members of the public port community itself, but friends and allies.

Active members of the Association are not eligible for nomination.

One individual from each of AAPA’s four delegations (Canadian, Caribbean, Latin American and the United States) may be honored, with as many as four Port Persons of the Year presented in any year. The award(s) may be shared by more than one individual in recognition of joint efforts. If no suitable candidates exist, one or more of the awards will not be presented.

The awards may be awarded posthumously.

Judging Criteria

In order for individuals to be considered for AAPA’s Port Person of the Year Award, those submitting the nomination must write at least one paragraph on each of the following criteria.

  1. Individual experience and expertise: Describe nominee’s background and expertise as it relates to this award. Describe any awards or other recognition received by the individual.
  2. Contributions to the port/maritime/transportation industry: Describe the kinds of activities undertaken by the individual that have substantially contributed to the betterment of the public port community and/or maritime commerce (a) within the delegation; and (b) throughout the Western Hemisphere.
  3. How would ports benefit: Describe how the port industry would benefit from this individual’s selection as “Port Person of the Year.”

The AAPA Board will review the nominations and determine to whom, if anyone, the awards will be presented each year.

Past recipients

1994 - U.S. Secretary of Transportation Federico Peña

1995 - U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor

1997 - U.S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield (R-OR)

1998 - Canadian Member of Parliament Stan P. Keyes

2000 - U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)

2001 - U.S. Senator John Breaux (D-LA)

2002 - U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick

2003 - U.S. Representative James L. Oberstar (D-MN)

2004 - U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)

2005 - U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta

2006 - U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins (R-ME)

2007 - His Excellency Martin Torrijos, President of the Republic of Panamá

2008 - U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV)   

2009 - Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA)

2010 - Admiral Thad W. Allen, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard (U.S. Port Person of the Year); The Honourable David L. Emerson, P.C., Former Minister of Industry, International Trade, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada (Canadian Port Person of the Year)

2011 - Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)

2012 - Congressman John L. Mica (R-FL)

2013 – Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-CA) and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX)

2014 - Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)

2015 - Senator David Vitter (R-LA) (U.S. Port Person of the Year); Lic. Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa, General Coordinator of Mexican Ports and Merchant Marine (Latin American Port Person of the Year)

2016 - Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)

2017 - U.S. Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA)

2018 - U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

2019 - Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL)




AAPA's Distinguished Service Award is presented for dedicated efforts on behalf of all ports in the Western Hemisphere and the enrichment of the maritime and port industries. AAPA's Executive Committee makes the selection.


1992 - J. Kerwin Rooney, Port of Oakland and AAPA General Counsel

1993 - Professor Thomas J. Dowd, University of Washington

1994 - Dr. Willis Pequagnat, IAPH and London Dumping Convention

1999 - Frank G. Martin, Jr., Indiana Port Commission

2000 - Charles M. Rowland, Canaveral Port Authority

2001 - David Bellefontaine, Halifax Port Authority (retired)

2002 - Lillian Borrone, The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (retired)

2007 - J. Robert Bray, Virginia Port Authority (retired)
  Gary Failor, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority (retired)
  Dominic Taddeo, Montréal Port Authority (retired)

2009 - H. Thomas Kornegay, P.E., PPM, Port of Houston Authority (retired)

2010 - Ross Gaudreault, Port of Québec

2011 - Richard Steinke, Port of Long Beach
          Agustín Díaz, Curaçao Ports Authority (retired) 

2014 - Dr. Bory Steinberg, Steinberg & Associates
        Tay Yoshitani, Port of Seattle (retired)

2016 - Gary LaGrange, Port of New Orleans

2019 - Steve Cernak, Port Everglades (posthumously)

2019 - Kurt Nagle, American Association of Port Authorities 




Individual recipients must have served on one or more of AAPA's technical or policy committees for a minimum of ten years, two years as a committee chairman, and have ten years of port management experience. As a committee chairman, he or she must demonstrate outstanding leadership and compile a record of noteworthy accomplishments. AAPA's Executive Committee makes the selection.


Vernon L. Lungren, Port of Seattle
Francis A. "Art" Mulhern, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
G. Luther Rosebrock, South Carolina State Ports Authority

Franklyn W. Donahue, Port of Palm Beach
Clifford B. O'Hara, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Edward S. Reed, Port of New Orleans
Herbert R. Haar, Jr., Port of New Orleans
Melvin Shore, Port of Sacramento
W. Gregory Halpin, Maryland Port Administration

Lloyd Anderson, Port of Portland
Oury Selig, Port of Galveston
Alfred Hammon, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Henry E. "Hank" Soike, Port of Grays Harbor
Don Mosman, Port of Los Angeles

Charles E. Roberts, Port of Oakland

Robert W. Goethe, Georgia Ports Authority

Hugh Welsh, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Jerry Franks, South Carolina State Ports Authority
Sergio Majul, Empresa Portuaria de Chile

W. Don Welch, South Carolina State Ports Authority

James J. O'Brien, Port Everglades

Davis Helberg, Duluth Seaway Port Authority

Frank Hamons, Maryland Port Administration

John Mohr, Port of Everett