CASTINE, Maine â€“ Maine Maritime Academy President Leonard Tyler has announced that Dr. Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles <http://portoflosangeles.org/> , Calif., will address the graduating class at the collegeâ€™s 66th Commencement on Saturday, May 2, 2009, at 11 a.m., in Alexander Fieldhouse. Knatz will receive an honorary doctorate from the college.
â€œWe are pleased to honor the career accomplishments of Dr. Knatz,â€ said Tyler. â€œShe is noted for her fearless undertaking of challenging subjects. She has taken an admirable â€œgreen growthâ€ approach to further development at the Port of Los Angeles. Her work to integrate the ocean and biological sciences, environmental awareness, and engineering to better the international shipping industry serves as a tremendous example of leadership and innovation to our graduates. Her expertise and success in these areas touches every major area of study offered at Maine Maritime Academy.â€
Tyler also noted that Knatzâ€™s appointment as the first female executive director of the Port of Los Angeles is an accomplishment in keeping with the collegeâ€™s ongoing commitment enhancing aspirations for women in math- and science-based careers. â€œShe is a tremendous role model for our entire student body,â€ Tyler added.
Since taking on the top port leadership post in early 2006, Knatz has put forth a port agenda that focuses on responsible port growth and environmental leadership. Her priorities have included reducing air emissions, eliminating health risks, and expanding capital development programs to accommodate the portâ€™s future growth as a premiere Pacific gateway and national economic engine. Her prioritization of â€œgreen growthâ€ at the Port of Los Angeles was a central topic chronicled in, Americaâ€™s Port, the 2008 National Geographic Channel television series about the Port of Los Angeles.
In her position, Knatz oversees more than 850 employees and total operating revenue in excess of $417 million. The largest volume container port in America since 2000, the port moves nearly 190 million metric revenue tons of cargo annually. Last year, the port moved 8.5 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units), establishing a new national container record once again.
Dr. Knatz was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan to reduce air emissions from port operations by roughly 50 percent over a period of five years. Her efforts facilitated the first joint meeting of the leaders of the two ports since the 1920s and the first ever public meeting of the two Port Boards on the day the Plan was approved. Since then, the Plan has paved the way for the Los Angeles Harbor Commission to approve two major container terminal expansion projects and a new deep-draft marine oil terminal on Pier 400.
Dr. Knatz previously served as managing director of the neighboring Port of Long Beach. As the number two executive at the Port of Long Beach, she oversaw a $2.3 billion capital improvement program and spearheaded a number of environmental initiatives, including development of the Green Port Policy. While her tenure at the Port of Long Beach spanned two decades, Dr. Knatz began her maritime career as an environmental scientist at the Port of Los Angeles in 1977.
Dr. Knatz is the recipient of numerous awards and professional citations. She was recently elected to serve as the chairman of the board of directors of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).As head of the AAPA she represents 160 ports in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
An alumna of the University of Southern California, where she presently teaches in the Civil Engineering School, Dr. Knatz earned a doctorate in biological science and a master of science in environmental engineering. She also holds an undergraduate degree in zoology from Rutgers University. Born and raised in New Jersey, she resides in Long Beach with her husband and two sons.