GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Port of Gulfport now has a new CEO and Executive Director. Jon Nass was introduced to the media on Wednesday after an eight-month, nationwide search.
Nass hasn’t even officially begun his duties that will be June 1, but first on the agenda is getting to know his staff and community, which he says is an asset as important as the port infrastructure.
“First, there’s a great team already in place,” said Nass. “The foundation is here. The team that runs it is great. But the potential to make it a little better, to grow it, to grow volumes to bring in more carriers is all here.”
And he likes the diversity in projects the port has adopted, like the Roger Wicker Center of Ocean Enterprise.
“One of the things I’m so excited about with this job is its involvement – Gulfport’s involvement - in the blue economy,” said Nass.
The Mississippi State Port Authority’s board of commissioners knew it had a big task to find someone with a unique skill set.
“It’s a lot more than knowledge port operations,” said John Rester, who served as chair of the search committee. “But it’s also economic development, it’s legislative issues, it’s people issues.”
Nass comes from the Maine Port Authority where he helped develop a number of public-private partnerships for port and rail infrastructure for Northern New England.
“The port is critical to the community,” Nass said. “So, I want know how we can be responsible members of the community and, again, see how we can help drive the economy here in South Mississippi.”
Darius Johnson, president of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1303 at the port, is looking forward to brighter days with a director who he believes has the right focus to get beyond the pandemic.
“It’s just a great day to have a port director so we can get back to business, get our guys back going,” said Johnson. Create more jobs for the Port of Gulfport. It just seems like we’re starting to hit the ground running again.”