Skip to content

AAPA Award Recognition

Port Person

Port Person of the Year

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.

2023 Recipient

U.S. Department of Transportation

Past Recipients

2022 – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) – AAPA Port Person of the Year Awardees
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)  AAPA President’s Award for Legislative Leadership

2021 – U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)

2020 – R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

2019 – U.S. Representative Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL)

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

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

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

2015 – U.S. 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)

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

2013 – U.S. Representative Janice Hahn (D-CA) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)

2012 – U.S. Representative John L. Mica (R-FL)

2011 – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)

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

2009 – U.S. Representative Jane Harman (D-CA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1998 – Canadian Member of Parliament Stan P. Keyes

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

1995 – U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor

1994 – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Federico Peña

Achievement Awards

Distinguished Service Award

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. 


2024 – Gary Nelson, Port of Grays Harbor 

2024 – Mark McAndrews, Port of Pascagoula (retired)

2019 – Steve Cernak, Port Everglades (posthumously)

2019 – Kurt Nagle, American Association of Port Authorities (retired)

2016 – Gary LaGrange, Port of New Orleans

2014 – Dr. Bory Steinberg, Steinberg & Associates

2014 – Tay Yoshitani, Port of Seattle (retired)

2011 – Richard Steinke, Port of Long Beach

2011 – Agustín Díaz, Curaçao Ports Authority (retired)

2010 – Ross Gaudreault, Port of Québec

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

2007 – J. Robert Bray, Virginia Port Authority (retired)

2007 – Gary Failor, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority (retired)

2007 – Dominic Taddeo, Montréal Port Authority (retired)

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

2001 – David Bellefontaine, Halifax Port Authority (retired)

2000 – Charles M. Rowland, Canaveral Port Authority

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

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

1993 – Professor Thomas J. Dowd, University of Washington

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

Leadership Service Award

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.


John Mohr, Port of Everett

Frank Hamons, Maryland Port Administration

Davis Helberg, Duluth Seaway Port Authority

James J. O’Brien, Port Everglades

W. Don Welch, South Carolina State 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

Robert W. Goethe, Georgia Ports Authority

Charles E. Roberts, Port of Oakland

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

Lloyd Anderson, Port of Portland
Oury Selig, Port of Galveston
Alfred Hammon, 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

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

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