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March 26, 2021

Maine Port Authority CEO Jonathan Nass to leave for Mississippi role

Jonathan Nass at IMT with cranes and containers in the background File photo / Renee Cordes Jonathan Nass, CEO of the Maine Port Authority, at the International Marine Terminal in Portland.

After two and a half years as CEO of the Maine Port Authority, Jonathan Nass will take up a new role at the Port of Gulfport in Mississippi, the Mississippi State Port Authority announced on Wednesday.

Nass is set to leave his current post as of April 30 and start on June 1 as executive director of the Port of Gulfport, which conducted a national search over the course of eight months.

"It’s a great opportunity to run an incredible operation," Nass told Mainebiz on Friday.

In the Mississippi Port Authority's announcement, President E.J. Roberts said Nass's extensive background in port management, economic development, homeland security and policy advising make him an ideal candidate to lead the Gulfport facility. It has a 300-acre deep-water port and an inland port facility 6 miles north of that.

Nass in his resignation letter said it was a "bittersweet" moment for him, and expressed pride at the "blossoming of northern New England's only modern thriving container terminal over the past decade." He added: "The growth of this small niche port has been extraordinary and is virtually unheard of in this country."

His accomplishments include leading efforts to develop northern New England’s only container terminal and securing tens of millions of dollars in funding for port and rail infrastructure.

More recent endeavors include reviving a planned waterfront cold storage facility via a public-private consortium led by Icelandic-owned Eimskip USA. 

Nass, who is an attorney, served as deputy commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation for close to four years before taking the helm at the Maine Port Authority.

“I am thrilled to join the Port of Gulfport as its next CEO and Executive Director, leading what is an outstanding organization with an experienced Board of Commissioners, a dedicated team, modern infrastructure, and a diversified revenue base,” he said in Wednesday's news release.

“The MSPA’s commitment to promoting economic development for the region — through the movement of freight, capturing the enormous potential of the blue economy, promoting workforce development, and being a responsible member of the community — all attracted me to this position. I look forward to getting to work.”

Previous experience includes serving as a senior policy advisor to then-Gov. Paul R. LePage, and several years in the U.S. Congress, most recently as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security.

Nass also served on a U.S. Department of State Provincial Reconstruction Team as a field officer embedded in a U.S. Army infantry battalion operating in Iraq.

'Critical work' to continue

In a statement emailed to Mainebiz Friday afternoon, Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner Bruce Van Note, said: " We thank Jon for his service and wish him success as he heads south to warmer waters."

He added: "The Maine Port Authority and Maine DOT, working together, have been essential to the impressive developments at the International Marine Terminal in the Port of Portland – including the 2013 arrival of Eimskip. With strong funding support from our Congressional delegation, the Maine Port Authority and Maine DOT continue to develop and invest in our ports and multimodal capacity, opening up new markets and transportation logistics for Maine businesses. We will continue to work to assure that this critical work continues.”

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