Manatee County Port Authority Past Chairmen

1968 – 1970 Dan P. McClure 1988 James J. McGrath/Edward W. Chance
1971 Robert C. Hutches 1989 – 1991 M. Hooper
1972 Kenneth D. Dierks 1992 K. Chetlain
1973 – 1974 D. McClure 1993 Stan Stephens
1975 Lawrence H. Fortson, Jr. 1994 – 1999 Lari Ann Harris
1976 K. Dierks 2000 P. Glass
1977 – 1978 Lamar S. Parrish 2001 Jonathan R. Bruce
1979 – 1980 Louis Driggers 2002 Jane von Hahmann
1981 – 1982 Claude E. McGavic 2003 Joseph McClash
1983 Vernon E. Vickers 2004 Amy E. Stein
1984 Kent Chetlain 2005 J. von Hahmann
1985 Lloyd C. Hagaman, Jr. 2006 Ron Getman
1986 Maxine H. Hooper 2007 – 2008 J. McClash
1987 Patricia E. Glass 2009 R. Getman
    2010 - 2012 Larry Bustle

Port Manatee Executive Directors

1968 – 1974 Joel Wilcox
1974 – 1982 J.E. “Sonny” Jaudon
1982 – 1992 Claude E. McGavic
1992 – 2012
David L. McDonald PPM®
2012 - present Carlos Buqueras

Port Manatee Historical Timeline

1950s Community leaders looked south from the Piney Point ferry landing in the early 1950s and envisioned a thriving seaport to promote trade and commerce, provide a steady tax base for the community and create new jobs in Manatee County.

Manatee County purchased 357 acres near Piney Point for $900 an acre to launch the Barge Port and Industrial Port, later renamed Port Manatee.

1965 Florida Legislature passes the Manatee County Port Authority Act, officially creating the port and its oversight board.
Aug. 7, 1970 Port Manatee History
The M/V Fermland was the first ship to dock at Port Manatee.
Oct. 29, 1970 Port Manatee Groundbreaking Ceremony
Official port dedication ceremony.
1970s Port Manatee primarily served the petroleum and phosphate industries. Petroleum tank farms and fertilizer warehouses dotted the landscape where little else existed.
1971 Port Manatee hosts the largest ship to ever call on Tampa Bay at the time, the 732-foot Zenkoren Maru No. 5 carrying 12,000 tons of potash.
1980s Petroleum Tanks
Refined petroleum and phosphates are the port’s major commodities. Scrap metal, waste paper and plywood also play key roles in the port’s development.
1983 Eastern Portland Cement Company, owner of four 170-foot silos, begins importing cement at Port Manatee.
1980s Berth 11
Berth 11 was built on the south side of the port creating opportunities for new tenants at Port Manatee
1980s Berth 12 provided key services for the reconstruction of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
1989 Fresh Del Monte Produce begins operations at the port. The Port Manatee terminal becomes its second largest U.S. facility.
1990 Port Manatee awarded Foreign Trade Zone No. 169.
1990s Warehouse 6
Warehouse 6 was built for Del Monte’s facility.
1992 David L. McDonald PPM® named port director.
1993-2003 Regal Cruises
Regal Cruises sailed from the cruise terminal at Berth 9.
2001 Construction began on the Gulfstream Natural Gas system pipeline, bringing natural gas through Port Manatee.
2003 Manbirtee Key
Manbirtee Key transformed into a bird refuge in partnership with Gulfstream Natural Gas System and Audubon of Florida.
2001 Transplanted Shoal Grass
Internationally recognized seagrass transplant project began, resulting in 25 acres of new seagrass meadows in Tampa Bay.
2007 Warehouse
The 174,000 square-foot Warehouse 11, Port Manatee’s largest warehouse completed.
2007 Container Crane
Gottwald HMK 6407 Mobile Harbor Container Crane made its first pick, opening the door to a new era of container shipping at Port Manatee.
2009 Panama Canal Signing
Port Manatee signs strategic alliance with the Panama Canal becoming the 10th U.S. port to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Panama Canal Authority.
2009 The Manatee County Port Authority approves the first phase of the port’s $750 million master plan. The plan calls for a dedicated container terminal on the port’s south side adjacent to the expanded 1,584-foot Berth 12, a second mobile harbor container crane, new cold storage facilities, berth upgrades, land acquisitions and permits for a new container terminal on the port’s north side.
2009 The Port Manatee Encouragement Zone is established to attract major shippers and to entice the relocation of distribution facilities and support industries to a vast green field area neighboring the port.
2012 Carlos Buqueras named Port Manatee executive director.
Today Port Manatee adds more than $2.3 annually in regional economic impact and supports more than 24,000 jobs.