Wade Battles to lead PHA while national search for Executive Director is under way

During a Special Meeting called by Chairman Jim Edmonds, the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority voted to appoint Managing Director Wade Battles as acting executive director of the port authority. Chairman Edmonds also announced that the Commission would move forward with a national search for a permanent executive director. The action follows the announcement on Jan. 27 of PHA Executive Director H. Thomas Kornegay’s intention to retire on Feb. 1 after 37 years of service.

“We are fortunate to have Wade Battles, a veteran in the maritime industry, to lead PHA during this transition,” said Edmonds. “During his nearly 10 years of service to the port authority, Wade’s experience and expertise have been instrumental in our success, including such achievements as recognition as the nation’s first port authority to achieve ISO 14001 for our Environmental Management System and as the world’s first port authority to achieve ISO 28000:2007 certification for our Security Management System.”

A longtime maritime professional, Battles has served as managing director for PHA since June 1999. In that position, Battles oversaw PHA’s administrative and operational departments. Prior to joining PHA, Battles was assistant port director at the Port of Miami, which he joined in 1983 as director of marketing and public affairs.

Battles began his career in the late 1960s in the United States Virgin Islands as a stevedore and vessel agent. In 1973, he joined Chester, Blackburn and Roder, then Miami’s largest marine agency and steamship operator. He held various positions within the organization before being named vice president and general manager.

Battles has been an active participant in numerous industry associations. He currently serves as president of the Texas Ports Association and is still an active member of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), serving on both the Security and Cruise committees. He is a charter member of the Houston Galveston Area Marine Security Committee. He was recently reappointed to the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee and serves as chairman of the Port Authority Advisory Council to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Battles is past chairman of both the American Association of Port Authorities Cruise Committee and the Florida Port Council’s marketing and intermodal sub-committees.

A 1973 graduate of Denison University, Battles has been married to Beth for 35 years, and has two children.

Kornegay has served as PHA’s executive director for nearly 17 years of his 37-year tenure, a record for that position. He will be stepping down for family reasons associated with the recent death of his mother.

The PHA posted its ninth consecutive year of growth as a result of its 2008 operations. Last year was a record year for the handling of general cargo and containers. PHA recorded all-time records of imported steel in the amount of nearly 6 million short tons (breaking the record set in 1981), export steel at 337,530 short tons (breaking the record set in 2007), and an all-time record for total steel handling at 6.3 million short tons.