Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse has been elected chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority.

PALMETTO, Florida – Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse has been elected chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority.

“I’m excited to apply my business experience to leading SeaPort Manatee in realizing its fullest potential as a key force in Manatee County’s economic prosperity,” said Kruse, a commercial real estate finance executive and affordable housing advocate, whose selection was confirmed today [Dec. 15] at a meeting of the Manatee County Port Authority. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the newly reconstituted port board in setting the course for unceasing success of our county’s vital seaport.”

Also elected to serve one-year seaport board officer terms, effective Jan. 1, 2023, are James Satcher, first vice chairman; Jason Bearden, second vice chairman; and Mike Rahn, third vice chairman. 

SeaPort Manatee’s seven-member governing board is completed by Amanda Ballard, Vanessa Baugh and Kevin Van Ostenbridge.

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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