PALMETTO, Florida – Manatee County Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge has been elected chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority.

“I am honored to assume chairmanship of the governing board of SeaPort Manatee and look forward to working with my fellow board members and the port’s executive team in continuing to advance the vital role of our county’s seaport as a preferred hub of global commerce and leading contributor to regional prosperity,” said Van Ostenbridge, whose election was confirmed at the December 14 meeting of the Manatee County Port Authority, following his selection at the December 12 meeting of the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners.

Also elected to serve one-year seaport board officer terms, effective Jan. 1, 2024, are Jason Bearden, first vice chairman; Ray Turner, second vice chairman; and Amanda Ballard, third vice chairman.

SeaPort Manatee’s seven-member governing board is completed by George Kruse, Mike Rahn and James Satcher.

The Manatee County Port Authority board consists of the seven members of the elected Manatee County Commission, but with distinctively separate officers and financial accountability. The authority sets policy and oversees major expenditures for SeaPort Manatee.

Members of the Port Authority Board serve staggered four-year terms, with annual election of officers.

Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” SeaPort Manatee is a dynamic global trade hub, serving as the vibrant ships-to-shelves gateway for burgeoning Southwest and Central Florida markets, with convenient rail and roadway links, including to the distribution-center-filled Tampa/Orlando Interstate 4 corridor. The closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanded Panama Canal, SeaPort Manatee offers 10 deep-draft berths, proficiently fulfilling diverse demands of container, liquid and dry bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customers. The self-sustaining port generates more than $5.1 billion in annual economic impacts while providing for more than 37,000 direct and indirect jobs – all without benefit of local property tax support.

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