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The Bend Magazine

Meet Sean Strawbridge

01/02/2020 10:12AM ● By Kylie Cooper
Conversation by: Kylie Cooper  Photos by: Lillian Reitz

So to start, explain how the expansion of The Port of Corpus Christi will affect locals directly?

The Port of Corpus Christi is really an economic development agency. If you lift the hood of any economy, what you will see is a port. Ports create jobs, increase local, regional and national prosperity, increase regional tax revenues, provide a measure of national security through the support of the American warfighter, and ultimately are an economic centerpiece for any community. 

What is one thing you want locals to know about The Port that they might not know already? 

What people of the Coastal Bend should know about the Port of Corpus Christi is that as our revenues and earnings grow, so too does the prosperity of the region as our dollars are generally spent here in this community. That’s a good thing for all the residents of the region, from Corpus Christi to Rockport to Kingsville and Port Aransas. We also support with our time and treasure many local nonprofits, academic institutions and community partners such as the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Foundation and the Texas State Aquarium. It may surprise some to know that our aquarium actually draws water for its aquatic exhibits directly from the Ship Channel. That wouldn’t be possible without the Port’s strong commitment to environmental stewardship and community reinvestment. 

What will it mean for the Coastal Bend to be home to the deepest harbor along the entire United States Gulf Coast? 

This is beyond a bragging right. It is a huge inflection point for maritime commerce in the U.S. Gulf Coast and the United States. Having the capacity to accommodate larger vessels will position our port as a leader in the global energy marketplace. Industry experts forecast the Port of Corpus Christi becoming the largest energy port in the country over the next decade. That’s huge for us. This anticipated growth and development will translate into significant job generation and enormous economic impacts for our community, which will hopefully keep our kids here and bring more bright young minds from other cities to our area. 

What are some of the more immediate changes the community will see in regard to the expansion of the port?

The current growth opportunities are certainly a plus for us, but unbridled growth without planning and oversight from the Port Authority can be problematic. We must be thoughtful in how we develop the necessary infrastructure and build out the capacity needed to accommodate the new oil and gas pipelines coming our way. Fortunately, our team of professionals come from all areas of business and government, and we have long established relationships with our stakeholders that yield an open dialogue and give everyone a voice. As we add new customers to our existing customer base, I believe this place we all call home will continue to thrive and ultimately reach a new level of prosperity that will benefit everyone. 

What would you say is one of your favorite aspects of your job? 

Without question, it’s the people with whom I work and serve. Collaborating with them and learning from them is my absolute favorite part of the job. Every single Port employee has a special importance. Our most important asset is not the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, or our marine terminals or the 28,000 acres of land we manage. It’s our people. I bear witness to that every day working alongside the dedicated, hardworking women and men of the Port of Corpus Christi.  It’s also our customers for whom we serve, and the community at large who share a common purpose of improving our region. We all have a role and responsibility to serve our community, and I am humbled and grateful to be in a position to make a positive change and play some small role in that mission.