Port Authority Advisory Committee
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Port Authority Advisory Committee

The Port Authority Advisory Committee advises the Texas Transportation Commission on port and maritime issues and makes recommendations for TxDOT to consider in formulating policies concerning the Texas port system. TxDOT’s Maritime Division organizes the meetings on behalf of the committee.

Goals

  • Develop the Maritime Port Mission Plan, which is submitted to the Texas Legislature each biennium.
  • Promote Texas ports for economic development opportunities.
  • Identify federal, state, and other funding opportunities for maritime investment.

Meetings

Standing PAAC meetings are scheduled quarterly on the second Tuesday of the month. Additional meetings may be held as needed. 

2022

Date Location Links
March 8, 2022 9 a.m. Galveston Wharves
123 25th St., 8th Floor
Galveston, TX 77550
April 25, 2022 1:30 p.m.

Virtual only

June 21, 2022 9 a.m Port of Port Arthur
221 Houston Ave.
Port Arthur, TX 77640
Sept 13, 2022 9 a.m. Port of Corpus Christi
400 Harbor Drive
Corpus Christi, TX 78701
Dec 13 2022 9 a.m. Port of Brownsville
1000 Capt Donald L Foust Road
Brownsville, TX 78526

Members

Chris Fisher is the Port Director and CEO of the Port of Beaumont. Fisher, 59, joined the Port of  Beaumont in 1981. He was appointed to his current position on May 20, 2002. As Port Director, Fisher is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the port, currently the eighth largest in the nation in terms of tonnage and the top strategic port in the nation for handling military cargo.

Fisher is also the Secretary-Treasurer of the Foreign Trade Zone of Southeast Texas, Inc. He is a past member of the U.S. DOT Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee (MTSNAC). Fisher is also a past president of the Texas Ports Association (2005-2008) and the Gulf Ports Association (2015), and currently serves as chairman of the Texas Department of Transportation’s Port Authority Advisory Committee. Fisher is also the chairman of the American Association of Port Authorities’ National Defense Committee.

Fisher began his career at the Port of Beaumont as a member of the port’s security/police team while attending Lamar University. During that time, he obtained advanced certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. Additionally, he’s worked at the port as Sales Representative, Manager of Administration, and Director of Finance and Administration.

Fisher holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Lamar University (1988) and a Master of Business Administration degree from Lamar University (1993). Fisher is a native and lifelong resident of Southeast Texas.

Phyllis Saathoff is an accomplished executive with over 25 years of service in the port industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, is a certified public accountant and a certified Professional Port Manager®.

Phyllis began her maritime career at Port Freeport in 1992 serving as Managing Director and Interim Executive Port Director/CEO before joining the Port of Houston Authority in October 2012. Phyllis served in various capacities during her tenure at the Port of Houston Authority including, Chief People Officer and Deputy Executive Director of Corporate Affairs. Phyllis returned to Port Freeport in April 2016 as the Chief Executive Officer.

Under her leadership, Port Freeport has been successful in obtaining U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief’s Report to Congress to deepen the Freeport Harbor Channel to 56 feet, initiating the development and financing of the Port’s first container terminal, and bringing new business and investment to the Port.

Phyllis has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Women in Gulf Transportation by Gulf Shipper Magazine. Past president of the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones and former treasurer of the Texas Gulf Ports Association, Saathoff currently serves on the Port Authority Advisory Committee to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), HGAC Transportation Policy Council member, Vice President of Texas Ports Association and serves on the board of directors for the National Waterways Conference. Phyllis also serves on the board of directors and executive committee of the Economic Development Alliance of Brazoria County and as a member of the University of Houston – Clear Lake College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council.

Mr. Rodger Rees serves as the Port Director & CEO of the Port of Galveston, a public agency that handles more than $43.5million in revenues, nearly 100 employees and $246 million in capital projects. Rees oversees all cargo, cruise, and real estate departments.

He is responsible for the administration of all the Port’s functions including business development and growth, strategic marketing and planning, finance and operations of the Port’s cruise terminals and marine facilities.

Under Mr. Rees’ leadership, the Port increased its net profit from operations to $7 million from a budgeted breakeven point. He led the renovations of both cruise terminals including the expansion of the berths, and in December he signed an MOU with Royal Caribbean to build a third cruise terminal complex. Rees also took the lead in developing a new strategic plan for the Port that will be implemented later this year.

Prior to taking the helm at Port of Galveston in January 2018, Mr. Rees formerly served as the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer for Port Canaveral, which is the world’s second busiest cruise port. In this executive role, he was responsible for the management and safeguarding of the Port’s financial assets as well as all financial functions of the port.

Rees is a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. In addition, he is a Certified Public Accountant with over 25 years of executive management in private and public arena.

Roger Guenther was named the Executive Director of Port Houston in January 2014. With 34 years of experience at the port, Guenther brings operational leadership and a proven track record to the position.  He oversees the efficient and effective operations of Port Houston’s public facilities, which handle a diverse range of imports and exports including container, general cargo, breakbulk, and bulk commodities and include the area’s largest breakbulk facility and two of the most efficient container terminals in the nation.

Mr. Guenther is also responsible for advocating for ongoing improvements and maintenance of the Houston Ship Channel (HSC) in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The HSC is the busiest federal waterway in the U.S. and ranked number one for waterborne tonnage. More than 200 public and private terminals conduct business alongside the HSC and together support $802 billion in annual economic value.

Prior to becoming Executive Director, he served as Deputy Executive Director of Operations and was responsible for all container and breakbulk cargo operations, management and construction of capital development projects, facility and asset maintenance, and real estate interests. Since joining Port Houston in 1988, Mr. Guenther has served in various capacities related to facilities management, including master planning of the Bayport Container Terminal, redevelopment of the existing Barbours Cut Terminal, and procurement of all container handling cranes and equipment over the last three decades.

In 2016, Mr. Guenther was elected president of the Texas Ports Association and served through September of 2020. He currently serves on numerous boards and committees including the Texas Department of Transportation’s Texas Freight Advisory Committee, the Port Authority Advisory Committee, the Board of Visitors of Texas A&M University at Galveston, Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Advisory Council, the Port Terminal Railroad Association, the Greater Houston Port Bureau, and the Board of Directors of the National Association of Waterfront Employees. In 2021, he was appointed by Governor Gregg Abbott to the board of the Gulf Coast Protection District. His awards and honors include:  2017 Bronze Award Recipient-Houston International Seafarers, 2018 Humanitarian Award (Philanthropic Male)-Latino Learning Center, and 2018 Most Admired CEO-Houston Business Journal.

Mr. Guenther earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and has an MBA in International Trade and Finance from the University of St. Thomas. A native of Baytown, Texas, he grew up close to the Houston Ship Channel and Port Houston. Mr. Guenther currently resides in Galveston along with his wife Fabiana, and has two children, Tyler and Emily. 

Mr. Mills serves as the Port Director for the Port of Port Mansfield Texas. He also performs the daily duties as the Executive Director of the Willacy County Navigation District, the General Manager of the Port Mansfield Public Utility District, and Director of the Port Mansfield Police Department.

His current duties have led to his being able to secure a $17 million dollar dredging project for the Port of Port Mansfield after receiving two previous emergency dredging operations in 2015 and 2017 to maintain the port. He has been able to increase the Navigation Districts’ overall position by 28 percent in the past couple of years and the Port Mansfield’s Public Utility District position by over 275 percent in that time. His maritime background prior to acquiring this position is very wide spread.

He initially served for 27 years as a member for the U.S. Coast Guard, retiring twice from the serve, once prior to 9/11 and again after an additional four year recall post 9/11. During that service, he was assigned duties for over eight years in Marine Inspections as an Assistant Marine Inspector and in Marine Environmental as a Pollution Investigator. He instructed for four years at the U. S. Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Academy as the Department Head and Subject Matter Expert in Law / Authority and Jurisdiction and as the Subject Matter Specialist in Enforcement Procedures. He spent four years deployed into Central and South America assigned to U.S. Coast Guard Special Operations Team conducting Counter Narcotics training and operations throughout the hemisphere. The reminder of years was equally split between Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue duties.

After departing the military, Mr. Mills spent nine years in the shipbreaking industry along the Brownsville Ship Channel and in Chesapeake Virginia. He worked as the Operations Manager for ESCO Marine overseeing the asbestos, hazardous material remediation, labor and cutting crews while dismantling fifty-eight (58) vessels. He served as Vice President of Operations for Bay Bridge Enterprises and Bay Bridge Texas at their two facilities in Chesapeake, Virginia and Brownsville, Texas.

Sean has over 30 years of experience in the global transportation and energy sectors in both public administration and the private sector, holding senior leadership roles in corporate development, large infrastructure development, capital structuring and public/private partnerships.

In his role as the Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Corpus Christi, Sean leads the third largest port in the United States total waterway tonnage, and the largest gateway for U.S. produced energy exports. With over $1.2 billion in assets under management, Sean has assembled a high-performance executive team to manage the meteoric growth Port Corpus Christi has experienced. With a doubling in tonnage and revenues over his tenure as CEO, the

Port of Corpus Christi on the world stage as a leading infrastructure development organization.

A veteran of world-class organizations such as the Port of Long Beach, Ports America Group, Oxbow Energy, and Sea-Land Service, Inc., Sean has written extensively on the evolving marine terminal and trade flow paradigms. Sean is an active member of the South Texas

Coastal Bend community and sits on several Boards including the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, South Texas Military Task Force, the Art Museum of South Texas, the American Heart Association of the Coastal Bend, as well as the Buccaneer Commission and the USS Lexington Board of Directors. Sean was recently appointed to chair the Education Task Force for the Texas Railroad Commission and is also an Executive Board Member of the American Association of Port Authorities.

Sean holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Arizona State University. He has lived abroad and has conducted business in over 40 countries.

As Executive Director of the Port of Victoria, Sean Stibich serves as the general manager and architect of the next-stage evolution and growth roadmap for this full-service inland port and 35-mile barge canal. Since joining the port in 2019, which operates under the governance of the Victoria County Navigation District Board, he has championed a portfolio of strategic initiatives that strengthened both the port’s operations and its competitive position as a key transportation center to the chemical, steel, petroleum and agribusiness industries for intermodal service delivery.

Throughout the course of his distinguished career, Mr. Stibich has consistently played an influential role in the growth, development, and ongoing operation of high-performing operations within the marine industry.

After graduating with his Bachelor of Science in Business in Marine Transportation from SUNY Maritime College, he joined APM Terminals as the Assistant Operations Manager for Port of Miami. He was recruited to Ceres Terminals in New Orleans, where he was quickly promoted to Marine Manager responsible for the full scope of loading-unloading operations at one of North America’s busiest cargo ports. From there, he joined Rickmers-Linie in Houston as Port Captain, directing and leading a highly complex operation comprised of 7 ports across the Americas.

In 2014, Mr. Stibich was named Port Captain and Cargo Superintendent for Hansa Heavy Lift Americas’ Houston operation, with his role elevated in 2016 to encompass serving as acting Head of Marine Operations. He played a central role in enhancing a broad spectrum of operational and financial aspects of the division, achieving success in both business development and in the performance of the company’s fleet of 13 heavy lift ships. Most recently, he was Global Manager of Sales and Business Development with GullsEye Logistics Technologies, in which capacity he directed the global go-to-market strategy for a startup provider of enterprise marine terminal operations software solutions.

Mr. Stibich represents Port of Victoria as President of the Victoria Barge Canal Association, and as a core member of the South Texas Transportation Conference, the Alliance for I-69 South Texas West Board, the Victoria MPO Policy Advisory Committee, the University of Houston-Victoria Provost Advisory Board, and the Victoria Rotary. He has promoted the port’s interests and influenced business development and regulatory agendas through his interactions with FEMA, USACE, as well as federal and state legislators.

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