Admiral headlines second annual Symposium on Resilient Ports

The Lamar University Center for Advances in Port Management held its second annual symposium at the Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship (CICE) on Friday, April 6. The symposium’s theme was “Resilient Ports and Waterways in 2030.”
Keynote speaker for the symposium was Rear Admiral Paul F. Thomas, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District. He was joined by Lauren Brand, associate administrator for Intermodal Systems Development at the U.S. Maritime Administration; Thomas Wakeman, chair of the Transportation System Resiliency Section Transportation Research Board and Larry Kelley, deputy port director of the Port of Port Arthur.
Thomas is responsible for Coast Guard operations spanning 26 states, including the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Florida to Mexico, the adjacent offshore waters and outer continental shelf, and the inland waterways of the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee river systems. The Eighth District is headquartered in New Orleans. Admiral Thomas’ expertise is in the areas of marine safety, security and environmental protection.
He is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2005, Thomas completed a National Security Fellowship at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and in 2010 he served as a Senior Fellow to the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. He is also an alumnus of Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Transportation 9/11 Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal.
In her capacity as associate administrator, Lauren Brand directs a national port infrastructure modernization program with a budget of more than $1.3 billion, and TIGER funds important to the port industry.
“TIGER grants are targeted investments for our local communities that will increase safety, create jobs and modernize our country’s infrastructure,” according to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
Brand is also responsible for the continued development of the marine highway initiative and offshore energy licensing (the Deepwater Port Program). Brand oversees the Secretary of Transportation’s Marine Transportation System Advisory Council and their efforts to integrate waterborne transportation into the overall national transportation system planning process. She holds a degree in transportation from Niagara University, earned a U.S. Customhouse Brokers license in 1987 and, in 2000, earned a Professional Port Manager Certification from the American Association of Port Authorities.
Thomas Wakeman, deputy director and research professor at Davidson Laboratories, Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey, also joined the symposium panel. He is a member of the Marine Board, National Academy of Sciences, a member of the Civil Engineering Certification, ASCE; and has led several studies on transportation resilience at the TRB. His career includes service with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. He holds a Doctorate of Engineering-Science from Columbia University, master’s degree in civil engineering from University of California, Berkeley/Davis, and a master’s in marine biology from San Francisco State University. He serves on the CAPM Advisory Board.
Larry Kelley serves as Port Director/CEO for the Port of Port Arthur. His career to date involves many aspects of the transportation industry including rail, marine, trucking and facility terminal operations. Beyond operations, he is actively engaged in state and federal transportation policy and planning. Prior to joining the port, he oversaw Texas operations and management of a large third-party logistics company. Occupationally he is a Certified Logistics Professional, CLP, and a Professional Port Manager, PPM.
He serves as a board member on the Port Arthur International Seafarers Center, Camp SeaPort, Southeast Texas Economic Development Foundation, Chairman of SETWAC (area harbor safety committee) and a member of TxDOT’s Port Authority Advisory Committee.
Kelley holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from Lamar University in business with an industrial engineering concentration and public administration respectively. He is pursuing an additional master’s degree in Port and Terminal Management.
“Our nation’s interest in resilient ports and waterways has never been more acute,” said the Center’s Executive Director, Erik Stromberg. “The Center’s 2nd Annual Symposium’s theme reflects our country’s fundamental priority concern for the resilience of critical infrastructure that supports trade, economic growth and national security in the face of natural and man-made disruptions,” Stromberg concluded.
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Photo by Brian Sattler - Keynote speaker for the LU Center for Port Management’s 2nd Annual Symposium on Resilient Ports, Rear Admiral Paul F. Thomas, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District