Lamar University (LU) has tapped Erik Stromberg as the inaugural executive director of the Center for Advances in Port Management after a national search, officials announced today.
Stromberg brings decades of experience in public ports to the new position as a CEO, president and consultant in port management at state and national levels. Stromberg served as CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) for nearly a decade, and served as head of the North Carolina State Ports Authority for 10 years.
“Erik’s 30-plus year career covers the breadth of the public port industry,” said Srinivas Palanki, dean of the College of Engineering. “His deep understanding of policy and foundational issues are exceptional. Linking this knowledge with his passion for education and training makes him an outstanding fit for executive director of the Center for Advances in Port Management.”
“Lamar University has a tradition of offering programs that are responsive to the needs of our community, the region, the state and the nation,” said Lamar University President Kenneth Evans. “This program responds to a need for a graduate program that prepares the next generation of leadership with the practical skills necessary in the dynamic port environment.”
“We are very pleased to have an executive director who brings such a breadth of knowledge and skills in the broader port and related maritime industries,” Evans said. “We will leverage LU’s outstanding faculty expertise and draw the very best from globally sourced experts in the field as lecturers and adjunct faculty.”
Stromberg was most recently senior port advisor with Cardno, an engineering consulting firm in Charlottsville, Virginia, 2012-2015, where he served in port management consulting with focus on strategic asset management, strategic planning, stakeholder alignment and governance.
In conjunction with his work with major engineering firms, Stromberg consulted as an independent consultant, as Stromberg Associates, from 2004 to present.
From 2006 to 2009, he served as port practice manager for Hatch Mott MacDonald, an engineering consulting firm in Millburn, New Jersey. Before joining the firm, he was ports and maritime practice lead with Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, Va., 2004-2006. He was CEO of the North Carolina State Ports Authority, Wilmington, N.C., 1995-2004, where he was responsible for all management and operations at the State Ports Authority. From 1985 to 1995, he was vice president for government relations, then president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities, a trade association representing public ports throughout the western hemisphere, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.
Stromberg holds a master’s degree from the Institute for Marine Studies at the University of Washington, where he became the first student in the program with an emphasis on port authorities. Upon graduation he was selected as one of 10 national Sea Grant Fellows working on federal policy issues in a staff capacity for the U.S. House of Representatives.
While at AAPA, he helped create the first-ever port management certification program, the Professional Port Manager Certification (PPM).
“There are simply too few academic institutions in the U.S. that address port management,” Stromberg said. “The effort to successfully marry Lamar University’s resources with industry experts to educate and place students in the port and terminal industry is profoundly important.”
“The Center’s practitioner-focused program, accessed through the university’s leading edge, on-line, remote learning capabilities, enables Lamar to provide a unique education experience. We expect that a large number of students will come from port and related industries seeking a career-enhancing educational opportunity. The Center’s Master’s program will fit the needs of all our students, from those on a traditional college track to our census of mid-career port professionals,” Stromberg said.
“The industry has been waiting for a program like this throughout my career. And now we have one, ” Stromberg added.
The Center for Advances in Port Management is dedicated to teaching the next generation of port professionals and conducting cutting edge waterfront community research. The Center, which began in 2015 in the Department of Industrial Engineering, is supported by a $2.72 million special appropriation from the State of Texas.
The Center uses faculty resources from across campus including industrial engineering, civil engineering, business management, finance, safety and security. The Center’s steering committee, composed of public and private sector port and port-related industry professionals, will advise the Center in the development of curriculum and research initiatives.
“Managing a port requires a wide array of skills and knowledge in such areas as trade and economic trends, leadership and corporate management, port and terminal operations, safety and security, business development and marketing, strategic and business planning, finance, engineering and project management, environmental and other public policy issues, IT, government and public relations, among others,” Stromberg said. “We will pull in industry experts who have practical experience in all those areas. While our students may have a background in any one of those key areas, the Center will give them the breadth of knowledge across all key functions required to become a successful port director today.”
LU’s program offers courses leading to a degree specializing in port and terminal management. The Center for Advances in Port Management has a research mission to study and improve ports in Texas and around the world. Illustrative research topic areas include: Economic Impact Studies and Long Range Planning; Capital Projects and Project Management; Safety, Security, and Risk Management; Port Marketing and Business Development; Port Management; Cyber Security; Logistics Modeling; Labor and Environmental Regulations; and Scheduling and Simulation.
“We’re preparing the next generation of port managers,” Stromberg said. “It’s an incredible opportunity for me and for our industry.”