Pascagoula port director McAndrews to retire, board seeking replacement

After 22 years as director of the Port of Pascagoula, Mark McAndrews is retiring.
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 4:21 PM CST
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - After 22 years as director of the Port of Pascagoula, Mark McAndrews is retiring.

The Port has grown quite a bit under his direction, but nothing has been easy.

“Mississippi is not a very populous state, as everybody knows,” McAndrews said. “So, there’s no cargo that has to come here. Everything that moves through here, be it through the private facilities or through the public facilities, has to be earned and solicited.”

And he’s done that.

“We’ve executed the strategic plan that exists today,” McAndrews added. “So, it’s time for a new one. And it’s just a good time to have new eyes and new ideas come into the organization.”

It’s also time for him to spend more time with his wife, two children and three precious grandchildren. When he retires June 30, his legacy of achievement will last for a long time. That includes his more than 40-year maritime career and service as board chair of the American Association of Port Authorities.

Charles Persons has seen three directors in his 32-year tenure on the board of directors.

“The previous two did a good job, but Mark took this port to the next level,” he said. “He’s made it nationally recognized. He’s been very good as far as bringing business in, growing the port, keeping the port infrastructure in.”

Among the biggest projects include landing the wood pellet manufacturing company Enviva as a tenant, creating more jobs for Mississippians. Related to the Enviva project was another major effort: the massive rail relocation project at the old International Paper Site and at the Port of Pascagoula.

“When port projects benefit more than the port community, that’s a good feeling,” McAndrews said.

Any success he shares with those around him.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” he said. “I’ve had good boards to work for and a great staff to work with.”

The Jackson County Port Authority board of commissioners has been busy for the last few weeks interviewing potential candidates for McAndrews’ replacement. As of Friday, the board has interviewed seven people for the port director position.

Board president Charles Persons says the candidates have different levels of experience, but all are capable of running the port. He added that the decision could be made within 30 days.

“It’s going to have to a person to come in with, in my personal opinion, connections on the outside with new business,” Persons said. “We want someone to come in to grow the port; to take the group that’s here; go through every position; stabilize those positions - the ones that are doing a good job; and basically, continue kind of in Mark’s footsteps.”

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