Richard D. Steinke, the long-time executive director of the Port of Long Beach, announced his retirement as of Sept. 30, ending a career in which he's guided the second largest port through enormous trade growth while navigating epic environmental battles.
"I have accomplished most of what I set out to do at the port," said Steinke. "I'm pleased that I can move on knowing that I leave the Port a better place than when I came on board."
Steinke, who is one of the most respected and well-liked leaders in the maritime industry, presided over the port during a decade when its container volume almost doubled to 6.3 million 20-foot equivalent units last year from 3.5 million TEUs in 1997.
As chief executive of the second largest U.S. port since December, 1997, Steinke spearheaded the redevelopment of the 500-acre former Long Beach Naval Complex, creating one of the nation's largest container cargo terminals.
He took the port through a transition that made it a builder of modern cargo terminals and a leading environmental steward. Steinke implemented a pioneering Green Port Policy that included an extremely successful Clean Trucks Program developed with the rival Port of Los Angeles.
By forging partnerships and collaborating with stakeholders in the port and the community, Steinke steered it through the complex process of winning approval for the $1 billion Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project, which will create one of the most efficient and greenest terminals in the world, and the $950 million Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project, which will assure safe access in and out of the nation's leading port complex.
Steinke's retirement comes as the Port is kicking off $4 billion in major improvements over the next decade to cement its position among the world's leading ports.
"Dick has been instrumental in developing the Port of Long Beach into one of the top seaports in the world," said Nick Sramek, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, which governs the Port of Long Beach. "He led the Port out of the recent recession, keeping it strong financially, while guiding our major modernization and environmental projects."
Sramek said the Board of Harbor Commissioners would begin the search for Steinke's successor shortly, and Steinke has agreed to assist the Board in both the selection process and the smooth transition to a new executive director.
"Dick has helped us develop a great staff, a great team here at the Port, and we're confident that we can maintain Long Beach's world-class status," Sramek added.
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