December 30, 2020 — The Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners has selected Joe Stuyvesant to serve as its next president and chief executive officer (CEO). Stuyvesant, who currently serves as executive director at Navy Region Southwest, is considered the top candidate among hundreds of applicants after a vigorous nationwide search that began in September. His contract is anticipated to be ratified at the January 19, 2021 Board meeting and it’s expected that Stuyvesant will assume his duties February 1.
“The Board and I are thrilled to announce the selection of Joe Stuyvesant to lead the Port through what will continue to be a challenging time as the Port and the world navigate through the pandemic and its toll on people, businesses, and communities,” said Chair Ann Moore, Board of Port Commissioners. “His character, skills, experience and demeanor will serve us well as we move forward with major projects and recover from budgetary constraints.”
Stuyvesant served in the United States Navy for 30 years, after graduating with a BBA from the University of New Mexico. He earned an MBA in finance from the University of San Diego. His primary assignment in the Navy was as a naval aviator. He was deployed numerous times to the Western Pacific and the Arabian Gulf flying off cruisers, destroyers, and frigates as well as serving on three different aircraft carriers, including operations in support of Operation Desert Storm.
His assignments ashore included as an instructor pilot and as a staff officer on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He served as commanding officer of Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily and commander, AI Asad Air Base Command Group, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His final assignment in the Navy was as the chief of staff for Navy Region Southwest.
“Joe Stuyvesant leads by example and is a great fit for the others-focused culture created by outgoing President and CEO Randa Coniglio,” said Michael Zucchet, vice chair of the Board of Port Commissioners and incoming chair. “Joe’s history of calm, thoughtful response developed as a naval aviator and later as a key contributor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and more recently as executive director of Navy Region Southwest, have fully prepared him to lead the Port’s diverse priorities and partner with our many critical stakeholders.”
Stuyvesant will lead more than 500 employees managing the Port, a specially created state district responsible for more than 14,000 acres of tideland, bay, and beaches along 34 miles of waterfront in five cities.
Robert “Dukie” Valderrama, outgoing Port Commissioner representing the City of National City for the past 16 years and considered to be the “dean” of the Port Commissioners, said, “Over my 16 years of service to the Port and the people of California, I’ve worked with five Port presidents. From my perspective, Joe Stuyvesant is being handed by Randa Coniglio an organization with highly motivated, creative, dedicated professionals who are well equipped to navigate the COVID storm and to achieve longer-term dividends for the environment, the residents of Southern California, and our visitors from all over the world.”
Regarding his selection, Stuyvesant said, “As a longtime resident of San Diego, I know that the Port of San Diego is a critical environmental champion and a vital economic engine for Southern California. I am aware of the great responsibility conferred by your trust to be selected to serve as the next president and CEO; and I am deeply grateful. The Port’s superb culture results in a team of employees who are highly productive, resourceful, and who have accomplished an impressive list of successes in support of the people of California. I pledge to build on that in order to enhance this major regional asset.”
The Port’s current major projects include updating the Port Master Plan to serve as the primary tool for balancing environmental, economic and community interests along the San Diego Bay waterfront for the next 30 years; the redevelopment of the Chula Vista Bayfront to create new public parks and recreational opportunities and provide convention and visitor-serving amenities in the South Bay; development of a Maritime Clean Air Strategy to help prioritize emission reduction projects; installation of a microgrid at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in support of the redevelopment of the terminal; the National City Balanced Plan to balance maritime, commercial recreation and public access; Seaport Village revitalization; East Harbor Island and Central Embarcadero redevelopment; and more. Additionally, the Port will focus on strengthening its cargo business, rebuilding its cruise business in the wake of the pandemic, and activating the waterfront.
The California legislature created the San Diego Unified Port District in 1964, merging control over public access and maritime activities in Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego. The seven-member Board of Port Commissioners is selected by city councils from each city in the Port’s jurisdiction. Commissioners make policy decisions about land use, enact legislation and regulations and set the budget which is implemented by its three direct employees: the president and CEO, general counsel and auditor.