Edward R. Oppel is the new chairman of the Port of Palm Beach District Board of Commissioners, elected to a one-year term in that post by fellow commissioners of the five-member port board.

“The Port of Palm Beach is at a crossroads filled with challenges. As chairman, I look forward to incoming President Obama’s commitment to new infrastructure spending,” said Oppel, who is currently in his third year of a second term on the board. “Our port needs to look for new ways to move forward and continue our role as a crucial economic lifeline of Palm Beach County, by bringing goods and services to and from people around the world.”

Previously the vice chair, this will be Commissioner Oppel’s first year as the board’s chairman as he succeeds Dr. Jean L. Enright. The Port’s longest serving commissioner, Blair J. Ciklin, was elected vice chairman, and George E. Mastics was re-elected secretary-treasurer. Also serving on the board is Wayne M. Richards who was, along with Mastics and Enright, re-elected to a four-year term and sworn in during the ceremony.

“I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners and port management to build upon our past successes even in the face of adversities,” Oppel said. “I intend to vigorously uphold the responsibilities given to us by the electorate in the Port of Palm Beach District.”

In his course of outreach, Oppel pledged to focus upon returning to the basics of port policy and port operations. He intends to work closely with Executive Director Almira on the Intermodal Logistics Complex concept by developing a strategy to further establish the Port’s leadership role in the project, and to see that staff works on a plan to reduce spending and balance a budget given the current economic downturn.

With more than 20 years experience as an executive director reporting to various local government bodies, Chairman Oppel brings strategic planning, operations and financial analysis, and effective communication to the board. He received both his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, emphasis on financial operations and economics, and his Doctorate of Law degree, emphasis on corporate accounts, from the University of Baltimore. He has been married to wife Judy for over 35 years and has one son, Ian.

The Port of Palm Beach District is an independent special taxing district, a subdivision of the state of Florida, which covers 971 square miles or about half of Palm Beach County.