About Us

Port Manatee

Mission Statement

The mission of Port Manatee is to be a powerful catalyst of countywide economic growth and hub of trade-related activity, by developing diversified and competitive deepwater shipping facilities and conducting maritime-related activities in a profitable and environmentally responsible manner.

Adopted in open session June 19, 1996

Port Manatee is one of Florida’s largest and fastest growing deepwater seaports. Located in the eastern Gulf of Mexico at the entrance to Tampa Bay, Port Manatee is also regarded as the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal – providing shippers with speedy access to Pacific Rim markets.

The port and its partners move approximately 8 million tons of containerized, breakbulk, bulk and project cargo each year including fresh produce, forestry products, petroleum products, citrus juice products, fertilizer, steel, aluminum, automobiles, cement, aggregate and more.

Port Manatee is Fresh Del Monte Produce’s second largest U. S. port facility and is also the Southeast’s leading forestry products importer.

As a leading economic engine, Port Manatee adds more than $2.3 billion dollars annually in regional economic impact and supports more than 24,000 jobs.


Port Manatee is a dependent special district created by the Florida Legislature in 1967. The port is governed by the Manatee County Port Authority – a seven-member oversight board which sets policy and oversees major expenditures for the port. Manatee County Port Authority members serve four-year staggered terms with an annual election of officers.

While the Manatee County Port Authority is comprised of the same seven members as the elected Manatee County Commission – each governing body has a separate set of officers and financial accountability. Port Manatee is not a unit of Manatee County Government and does not receive ad-valorem tax support from the citizens of Manatee County.


2014 Manatee County Port Authority

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Carol Whitmore, 1st Vice Chairman
Carol Whitmore
Carol Whitmore
John Chappie, Member
John Chappie
First Vice Chairman
Michael Gallen, Member
Michael Gallen
Second Vice Chairman
Vanessa Baugh
Vanessa Baugh
Third Vice Chairman
Betsy Benac
Betsy Benac
Robin DiSabatino, 2nd Vice Chairman
Robin DiSabatino
Larry Bustle, Chairman
Larry Bustle

Port Manatee Senior Staff

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Carlos Buqueras, Executive Director

Carlos Buqueras
Executive Director

Dave Sanford
Deputy Executive Director

Matty Appice
Senior Director of Trade Development and Sales     

Frank Holden
Senior Director of Operations and Security

George Isiminger
Senior Director of Planning, Engineering and Environmental Affairs

Shawn Smith
Director of Maintenance                                                              

Denise Stufflebeam
Director of Business Administration and Finance



Manatee County Port Authority Organization Chart

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