This week, Port Everglades welcomed its new Chief Executive/Port Director Steven Cernak to the South Florida seaport. Cernak replaces Phillip C. Allen, who recently retired after leading Port Everglades since 2006.
“Port Everglades and its business community are primed for continued growth. It is my goal to facilitate that progress in a manner that focuses on job creation and efficient spending,” Cernak said.
At the top of Cernak’s list are three critical expansion projects for Port Everglades that are projected to create 7,000 new jobs regionally and support 135,000 jobs statewide over the next 15 years. These key expansion projects are planned to be constructed over the next six years and will add five new cargo berths in the Port’s southernmost area, widen and deepen the channel to 50 feet and bring freight rail into the port.
The Port is also beginning a $54 million renovation project for four cruise terminals at Port Everglades. The terminals – 2, 19, 21 and 26 – will be able to accommodate cruise ships of various sizes and guest capacities. All will be able to process embarking and debarking passengers at the same time. All terminals will have two passenger loading bridges, separate and larger baggage halls, and improved ground transportation areas. The renovations are part of a public/private partnership between Port Everglades and Carnival Corporation.
“Mr. Cernak has big shoes to fill, but his experience as a port director and background in seaport engineering will be valuable assets to continue moving Port Everglades’ expansion projects in the right direction,” said Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry.
Cernak previously served as the Port Director and Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Galveston, TX, since 1999. During this time period, the Port of Galveston’s revenues doubled and it became the top cruise home port in the Gulf of Mexico. Among his notable accomplishments, Cernak initiated a proactive response to severe damage at the port from Hurricane Ike in 2008 so that cargo operations were able to resume in just eight days and cruise operations in 50 days. He also negotiated a Project Cooperation Agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deepen Galveston Channel from 40 feet and 45 feet and secured federal funding for maintenance and new construction dredging to complete the project. In the cruise sector, Cernak negotiated public/private development agreements with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Carnival Corporation to build two new cruise terminals. Carnival’s 1,004-foot Carnival Magic began sailing out of Galveston in November, and Disney Cruise Line and Princess Cruises have agreed to homeport ships later in 2012.
Prior to moving to Texas, Cernak was the Manager of Port Development for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He also held engineering positions with several private engineering consultancies in New Jersey. Cernak has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University and M.B.A. from Dowling College in Oakdale, NY. He is currently an active participant in the American Association of Port Authorities and has served on the Cruise Committee, Curriculum Committee, Harbors and Navigation Committee and has served on the Association’s Board of Directors.