Paul Cozza (Contributed Photo)
At its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, the N.C. Ports Authority board of directors welcomed its new ports CEO, who officially began his new duties the day before.
Paul Cozza, the state’s choice to head up its ports’ operation, visited both the Port of Morehead City and the Port of Wilmington during the day on Wednesday and was introduced to the business community at a social event hosted by the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce that evening.
“I’m looking forward to working with the community,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon. “Although I know the area, having vacationed here, I’m not really that familiar with the government – the elected officials and the business people here in Wilmington, in Morehead City or in Raleigh. I’m looking forward to meeting people.”
The new CEO said he will “definitely be proactive” on the matter of international trade, engaging with business leaders throughout the state and encouraging more of the state’s existing businesses to expand through exports.
Cozza anticipates the addition of more initiatives to the ports’ strategic plan: “Anything that’s going to foster development of trade and work well with the community,” he said. He cited as one example the future cold storage facility planned for the Port of Wilmington.
“I’m lucky to be in this position, and I bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” he said.
The other new face at the board table at Thursday’s board meeting was Holly Grange, the director of community relations at Osprey Global Solutions in Wilmington. Her appointment to the board was announced Tuesday by Gov. Pat McCrory.
Two other new members, William Keadey Jr., a certified public accountant from Emerald Isle; and William McMahon III, the founder, president and CEO of CoaLogix in Charlotte, were not present at the meeting.
New board chairman Michael Lee, whose appointment was announced Tuesday by McCrory, presided at Thursday’s meeting. The board’s new vice chairman is Robert Sar, an attorney in Raleigh.
Lee, a Wilmington attorney, was formerly vice chairman, and succeeds Danny McComas as chairman.
McComas announced his resignation from the board as of Monday, March 31.
Jeff Miles, who served as interim ports chief, has resumed his position as deputy executive director and chief operating officer, said Ports Authority spokeswoman Laura Blair.
In addition to normal business at Thursday’s meeting, NCDOT secretary Tony – a member of the ports board of directors – introduced a motion to form a committee charged with reviewing the relationship between the NCDOT and the Ports Authority, Blair said. The goal would be to ensure the structure of the relationship is efficient and beneficial for business. The motion passed unanimously, Blair said.
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