The Georgia Ports Authority board has elected new officers for the coming fiscal year. Starting July 1, Kent Fountain will serve as chairman, Alec Poitevint as vice chairman, and Chris Womack as secretary-treasurer.
“Kent’s four-year tenure on the GPA board, as well as his leadership across business and agriculture make him a solid choice to continue guiding the ports of Savannah and Brunswick through the current phase of infrastructure growth,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “Along with his fellow officers, board members, and the GPA leadership team, Georgia’s deepwater ports remain in good hands.”
Fountain and Poitevint’s election represents an advancement from their previous positions of vice chairman and secretary-treasurer, respectively. Poitevint served as GPA board chairman from July 2010 to June 2012. Womack was serving as a board member prior to becoming the Authority’s next secretary-treasurer.
“At the Georgia Ports Authority, a central part of our mission is to strengthen industries and sustain our communities,” said Fountain. “While the global economy is rebalancing from the recent spike in demand, now is the perfect time to grow our terminal capacity, so that we can continue to serve as a gateway for prosperity.”
Fountain noted that outgoing Chairman Joel Wooten presided over the board during a period of historic capacity expansion. Since Wooten became chairman in July 2021, the board has approved nearly $1.5 billion in infrastructure projects. The improvements will add 3 million twenty-foot equivalent container units of annual capacity at the Port of Savannah, for a new total of more than 9 million TEUs by 2026.
“I am extremely proud of our board’s accomplishments, providing GPA employees with the tools they need to continue supporting Georgia and the nation’s economy for decades to come,” Wooten said. “The Georgia Ports Authority is well positioned to take on the new and expanding business that will mean jobs and opportunity for our fellow Georgians.”
In other business, GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch updated the board on several capacity-enhancing infrastructure projects, including:
Kent Fountain serves as the President & CEO of Southeastern Gin & Peanut, Inc. in Surrency. Fountain attended the University of Georgia where he obtained a degree in Agricultural Economics. In 1995, Fountain began Southeastern Gin, Inc. and in 2004 built a peanut buying point, and the firm became Southeastern Gin & Peanut, Inc. In 2015, Fountain was instrumental in starting Premium Peanut, LLC, where he currently serves as Chairman. The recipient of numerous awards, Fountain received the Southeastern Ginner of the Year award in 2001 and the Horace Hayden National Ginner of the Year award in 2016. He and his wife, Missi, live in Screven and have two sons attending the University of Georgia.
Alec Poitevint is the chairman and president of Southeastern Minerals, Inc. and its affiliated companies headquartered in Bainbridge. Poitevint is a past chairman of Georgia Ports Authority, having previously served the Authority from 2007-2016. He is also a former president, vice-chairman and director of First Port City Bank of Bainbridge. He is past chairman of the American Feed Industry Association and National Feed Ingredients Association. He serves as a director of the Georgia Agribusiness Council and was Federal Commissioner of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Water Compact. Poitevint was a former mission member of the U.S. Agricultural Trade and Development Mission to Europe in 1990 and U.S. Delegate to the World Food Summit in 2002.
Chris Womack is the president and CEO-elect of Southern Company, one of the nation’s leading energy providers serving 9 million customers. Prior to his current role, since 2021 he served as chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power, leading Southern Company’s largest subsidiary. He assumed leadership of Georgia Power after serving as executive vice president and president of external affairs for Southern Company where he led overall external positioning and branding efforts including the company’s public policy strategies and oversaw the company’s governmental and regulatory affairs, corporate communication initiatives and other external and strategic business engagements. Prior to joining Southern Company, Womack worked on Capitol Hill for the U.S. House of Representatives. He is co-chair of the Edison Electric Institute Customer Solutions Policy Committee and a member of the board of directors of Invesco Ltd.