Following more than 10 years of service spearheading the Florida Ports Council, President and CEO Doug Wheeler announced at the end of last week his plans to step down from his leadership post at the end of this month.
Under Wheeler’s leadership, the Florida Ports Council has:
- Successfully advocated for federal emergency relief funds to help replace Florida ports’ pandemic-related revenue losses.
- Advocated with state leadership and industry partners for federal guidelines for the resumption of sailing post-pandemic.
- Increased engagement with Florida’s Congressional Delegation to promote the passage of legislation vital to seaport issues, including the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
- Worked with Congress to create the first-ever port-specific federal infrastructure grant ($300 million).
- Assisted FDOT to increase statutory funding for seaports from $8 million to $60 million.
- Led trade missions to expand Florida’s presence internationally.
- Advanced the removal of duplicative seaport security regulations.
“Serving as President and CEO of the Florida Ports Council has been a career honor. I’m proud of the advancements we’ve made on behalf of Florida’s 15 deep-water seaports, which have contributed to creating jobs, growing the economy and positioning Florida as a global hub for international trade,” Wheeler said.
“This is a positive opportunity for me as well as the Council. Since the start of the pandemic, Florida’s maritime industry has suffered tremendously. The impacts have left thousands of cruise-related employees sidelined and cruise ships still unable to sail. By stepping down now, the Council will have an opportunity to level set, and reimagine the role our seaports will play in the economic future of Florida’s cruise industry,” he added.“I thank the Florida Ports Council for the opportunity to serve over the last 10-plus years, and I look forward to what the future brings.”
Wheeler’s resignation takes effect on April 30. Michael Rubin, currently the vice president of government affairs of the Florida Ports Council, will serve as interim president and CEO.