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Coronadan Takes Over as Port Board Chairman

Commissioner Lou Smith will hold the top seat on the Port's board for 2012.

 

Retired Admiral Lou Smith, who represents Coronado on the Board of Port Commissioners, was sworn in this week as Chairman of the Board for 2012.

He was sworn in by Mayor Casey Tanaka.

The swearing-in took place at a luncheon held at the Coronado Community Center. Along with Smith, Commissioner Ann Moore, who represents Chula Vista on the seven-member Board, was sworn in as Vice Chair, and Commissioner Lee Burdick, one of three San Diego representatives on the Board, was sworn in as Secretary.

Smith said his theme for 2012 is the “Exemplary Port,” the concept that the Port of San Diego should be an example for other ports to follow. He said that achieving that goal comes, in part, from being able to measure and quantify job performance.

Smith, an engineer, recited the words of an organizational management guru to illustrate his approach: “What gets measured gets done. What gets fed back gets done well. What gets rewarded gets repeated.”

In a speech, Smith took the audience of elected officials, business leaders and Port stakeholders on a virtual bicycle ride through the Port's five member cities of Coronado, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego.

He pointed out aspects of each city that make it unique, along with projects and improvements that were subsidized by the Port of San Diego, or by the Port in partnership with a member city.

 

Smith gestured towards windows of the center to San Diego Bay and the waterfront in the distance. He spoke about the contributions of the U.S. Navy, the shipyards and the many industrial businesses that make up the Port's working waterfront.

“That's what jobs look like – all those shrink-wrapped ships,” he said, referring to ships undergoing repairs or construction. “That's what the Port does for this region. It brings good-paying jobs.”

“Smith's swearing in ceremony and first Board meeting in his role as Chairman got 2012 off to a great start,” said Wayne Darbeau, President and CEO of the Port. “Staff and I are committed to working closely with the new Chairman and the Board to achieve the vision of the ‘Exemplary Port.’”

Smith began his service on the Board two years ago. A career officer, he began in the Navy's Civil Engineer Corps. He completed three tours in Vietnam, supervising construction facilities for the Marines.

Later in his naval career, he was sent to Washington, DC, where he worked with the Department of Defense and Congress. He retired from the Navy in 2000 as a two-star Admiral.

Following his Navy career, he served as Chief Administrative Officer for San Diego City Schools. Most recently he served as Vice President of Facilities for Sharp Healthcare in San Diego. He has served on the Board of Directors of the San Diego County Taxpayer's Association and the Board of Sharp Coronado Hospital.

Prior to Smith's swearing-in remarks, out-going Chairman Scott Peters gave a presentation on the Port's accomplishments during 2011.

His slideshow began with a photo of Steve Jobs, the late co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc., and its former “Think Different” slogan. Peters used the slogan to show how the Port of San Diego has changed in the last year.

He discussed the new, streamlined Port and how it reduced its number of departments and number of employees in 2011 to save money and improve service. He mentioned successes, including the groundbreaking of Ruocco Park in San Diego, strategic planning workshops with the public and the agreement with Dynegy South Bay, Inc. on the plan for dismantling the South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista.

Peters presented the annual Chairman's Cup Award to Port President and CEO Wayne Darbeau. The award is given to a Port of San Diego employee who best represents the organization's mission, vision and values. Peters credited Darbeau with improving organizational performance by improving the structure and function of the Port's staff.

“Commissioner Peters was an outstanding chairman of the Board throughout 2011 and also a great supporter and mentor to me as the new chief executive officer,” said Darbeau. “His year was marked by innovation, creativity and return on involvement in the broader region and throughout the globe. I personally admire and respect how well Commissioner Peters exemplified the values of the organization.”

Peters thanked his fellow commissioners and the audience for supporting the Port and its initiatives over the past year.

Following the ceremony, Smith presided over the first meeting for 2012 in Coronado's council chambers.

The Port of San Diego was created by the state legislature in 1962. Since then, it has invested $1.7 billion in public improvements.

The port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 17 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and leases for more than 600 tenant and sub-tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.

 

From a Port news release.

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