Virginia Zimmermann
Senior Communications Manager
Office 941-721-2323
Cell 941-932-1006

PALMETTO, Fla. – Vanessa Baugh has been elected to a one-year term as chairwoman of the governing board of Port Manatee, which also has chosen its two newest members – Priscilla Whisenant Trace and Stephen R. Jonsson – and continuing member Charles B. Smith as officers.
Baugh, who owns a jewelry store in Lakewood Ranch, has served on the Manatee County Port Authority board since 2012.
Also elected to one-year terms as officers at the Dec. 15 meeting of the Manatee County Port Authority were Whisenant Trace, an Ellenton agriculturist, as first vice chairwoman; Smith, a Palmetto marketing consultant, continuing as second vice chairman; and Jonsson, a Bradenton real estate consultant, as third vice chairman.
Port Manatee’s governing body is completed by members Betsy Benac, who has just finished a year as chairwoman, former chair Carol Whitmore and Robin DiSabatino.
The authority board, which sets policy and oversees major expenditures for Port Manatee, consists of the seven members of the elected Manatee County Commission, but with distinctively separate officers and financial accountability. Whisenant Trace and Jonsson have become members of the port board following recent election to the Manatee County Commission.
Members of the authority board serve four-year staggered terms, with an annual election of officers.
The authority meets the third Thursday of each month at 9 a.m. at the Port Manatee Intermodal Center, 1905 Intermodal Circle, Palmetto. The meetings are open to the public.
Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanding Panama Canal and Cuba’s Port of Mariel, with 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customers. The port generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact for the local community, while supporting more than 24,000 jobs, without levying ad-valorem taxes.