Maritime industry veteran Beth Rooney, who has more than three decades of experience and has been an integral part of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s Port Department since 1993, has been appointed as the Port Department’s new director, effective May 2. She replaces Sam Ruda, who has presided over record-setting growth at the busiest seaport on the East Coast. Meanwhile, Rooney has served as port deputy director for the past three years.
Together, Ruda and Rooney have led the East Coast’s busiest and largest seaport, and third in the nation behind the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. Under their leadership, the port has achieved record-breaking volumes while navigating significant challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and global supply chain disruptions, maintaining fluid operations at a time other large ports have seen significant backlogs. Ruda and Rooney have also overseen the development and implementation of the Port Master Plan, a visionary strategy to guide the port’s growth and manage an expected increase in cargo volumes over the next 30 years.
“Throughout my tenure at the Port Authority, I’ve been privileged to be a part of the incredible growth and evolution of the Port of New York and New Jersey,” Rooney said. “The future is bright, and it’s my honor to lead the Port, our customers and partners through the next generation of transformational changes and to prepare for the long-term success of the Port, the largest economic driver in the region.”
Rooney joined the Port Authority in 1993 and has held a series of progressively higher-level management positions in the Port Department since then. She was appointed deputy port director in April 2019 after serving as the Port’s Assistant Director overseeing policy, planning, legislative and regulatory affairs, as well as environmental sustainability, performance, and efficiency imperatives.
She was the architect of the Council on Port Performance, a unique forum of supply chain stakeholders credited with unprecedented collaboration that has helped the Port of New York and New Jersey continue to perform well throughout the pandemic.
Ruda is departing the agency to return to his home on the West Coast. He joined the Port Authority in 2015 after a 29-year career in transportation, including 12 years as a key member of the Port of Portland management team in Oregon. He was appointed to head the Port of New York and New Jersey in April 2019, five months after being named Interim Director.
“Sam Ruda has led the Port Department during one of the most critical periods in its history,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “He has provided superior leadership during his years as director and has helped build an extraordinary team, starting with Beth Rooney, whose vast experience and expertise will continue to be a tremendous asset for one of the country’s most significant gateways.”
“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have an executive of Sam’s caliber to lead the nation’s premier East Coast seaport during a time of unprecedented growth and operational challenges,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “And we are even more fortunate to appoint a widely respected and accomplished industry veteran to lead the Port into the future. Beth has tackled a wide array of critical initiatives during her remarkable career, and she will provide the Port with both continuity and vision – ensuring that the quality of our operations remains second to none in the industry.”
“It has been an honor and privilege to be part of the senior leadership team at the Port Authority and to preside over this nationally important seaport complex,” said Ruda. “Working with an incredible Port Department team, as well as our terminal operators and industry stakeholders, I’m proud of our accomplishments and congratulate Beth Rooney on her well-deserved appointment as director.”
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