The Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) approved the appointment of John Henshaw as its new executive director, effective September 8, 2020.
Henshaw comes to the CPA after serving as the executive director of the Maine Port Authority for over 10 years and after serving as commissioner for the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the Port of Portland.
He was selected for the position following an extensive search by the CPA board for a candidate with a specific set of skills and experience. Henshaw’s expertise in identifying maritime opportunities for both small and large harbors, leading large-scale capital projects, and his proven success in maritime supply chain development were some of his professional attributes that impressed the board.
“There is a tremendous amount of maritime opportunity in Connecticut right now. Major investments to support port infrastructure and port operations are happening in all three of Connecticut’s deepwater ports, all while there is a consistent interest in further investing in the small harbors and marinas that form the foundation of Connecticut’s coastal culture,” Henshaw said. “Having spoken with the board and reviewed the Authority’s new operating format, there are clear organizational similarities to those that have brought us success in Maine. I’m confident CPA has been buttoned-up to the point where it can be successful, and I think we can make a tremendous impact on Connecticut’s maritime future as we move forward.”
Henshaw brings to the CPA his deep experience in identifying and delivering economic development opportunities and experience specifically in the wind industry supply chain. He serves as the chair of the Board of Advisors of the International Association of Maritime and Port Executives, an association dedicated to developing and maintaining professional standards in the maritime industry and is a past president of the North Atlantic Ports Association.
While at the Maine Port Authority, Henshaw oversaw the redevelopment of a derelict port terminal in Portland into a state-of-the-art small container terminal, which fueled new shipping opportunities. Henshaw also developed the opportunity to build a modernized cold storage facility in the port to support the state’s burgeoning food and beverage industry. In addition, Henshaw brought rail to Portland’s marine terminal for the first time in 60 years, which cut down the number of trucks on Maine highways while simultaneously developing intermodal cargo opportunities for Maine and reducing carbon emissions.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have someone with John’s experience take the reins of the CPA. As we continue to build up our waterfront infrastructure and grow our ports and working harbors, we will benefit greatly from someone like John who has experience in making full use of a state’s maritime assets to leverage investment and create opportunities for supply chain development,” said David Kooris, Chair of the CPA Board of Directors. “John’s experience in working collaboratively with partners across local, state and federal government and his engagement with industry stakeholders will be important as we strengthen relationships with our local industry groups and communities. This hiring is the culmination of a yearlong effort to build a strong foundation within the CPA that ensures John has what he needs to be successful in forwarding the CPA’s mission to grow Connecticut’s maritime economy.”
“Looking to the future, initiatives like the Small Harbor Improvement Projects Program will continue to be an important and fundamental part of CPA’s mission. Connecticut’s small harbors bring tremendous opportunity to their towns and municipalities,” Henshaw said. “Connecticut is already working on some incredible projects that are establishing it as a maritime leader in a variety of sectors. Between the new energy opportunities and the already well-established aerospace and defense industries, we are looking at a period of solid growth for our maritime sector over the next decade.”
As part of the intensive search and selection process, members of the Office of Policy and Management and Governor Lamont’s administration participated in interviewing candidates alongside the CPA. Henshaw was selected in part due to his experience in working with state agencies similar to those in Connecticut.
“When interviewing for the new executive director, we were seeking a candidate that not only had experience in developing supply chains and growing our ports but also is an expert in working with a wide array of federal and state agencies,” said Paul Mounds, Chief of Staff for Governor Lamont. “Given his experience in Maine and familiarity with navigating both state and federal regulatory landscapes, John is well equipped to lead the Connecticut Port Authority and ensure our maritime assets are fully supporting the economic future of our state.”
“Governor Lamont’s directive to the Office of Policy and Management to take a direct and active role in the financial, operational, and strategic decisions and direction of the Connecticut Port Authority has yielded promising results- but there is more work to be done,” said Melissa McCaw, Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. “By working with Board Chair David Kooris, the CPA board and staff, and consultants, OPM has worked to create necessary policies and procedures, rectify institutional deficiencies, and strengthen the organizational and functional framework to increase efficiencies, limit extraneous costs and activities, provide lucid guidelines for the agency, and enhance transparency. This will help in putting the CPA into a compliant, sustainable, and vibrant future. This work has led to a fresh start and a clean slate for the new executive director to take the reins in a stabilized environment, equipped with the policy and governance infrastructure necessary for the success of the authority’s projects and mission and for assurance of the public trust.”