Seaports Magazine - Spring 2014 - (Page 22)
Deborah Hadden has set a number of strategic goals
for Massport in her new role as port director.
By Sarah Sain
eborah Hadden likes a challenge, and she's facing quite a
few head on as she takes on her
new role as port director at the
Massachusetts Port Authority.
Named to the job in September 2013
after having served as acting port director
for nearly a year, Hadden will be responsible
for directing the planning, development,
marketing, operation, security, financial
management, administration, and maintenance of Massport's properties in the Port
of Boston, including the shipping container
terminal and Cruiseport Boston.
Grew into the Industry
Hadden first started out as an environmental consultant to Massport, then joined
the port officially in 1994 as an environmental permitting program manager. In
the years that followed, she was promoted
into various roles.
"To be honest, I really liked all the jobs I
had, and I learned a lot in each role. But as
opportunities came my way, I took advantage of them," she said.
One of her big projects initially was
managing the Boston Harbor Navigation
Improvement project in 1997, which
included deepening the harbor to 40 feet
to handle Panamax ships. She also worked
with state and federal agencies on policy
issues and environmental projects, including
protecting the North Atlantic right whale by
finding a way to minimize ships striking the
During those early years, Hadden says
she got to learn about many different aspects
of the maritime industry. While she didn't
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set out to find a life-long career at the port,
she found that and much more.
"It's a fascinating industry," she said.
"The challenges are huge, and I've always
loved a challenge. In general, the people are
down to earth and interesting. I fell in love
with the industry."
She left the port for a year to work in
the private sector, but returned in 2000 as
deputy port director, where she focused
on real estate development, dredging and
economic growth. She stayed in that position
until she was named acting port director in
During her 10 months in that position,
she implemented productivity gains at
Conley Terminal; led successful negotiations with the International Longshoreman's
Association and MSC, Conley's busiest
steamship line; and secured a new six-year
agreement with COSCO (China Ocean
Telling the Story of Ports
Now settled into her role as port director, Hadden and Massport CEO Thomas P.
Glynn are shaping the vision for Massport's
maritime future and are facing a new set of
challenges. From a big picture standpoint,
Hadden said the goals are to continue to
grow blue-collar jobs in Boston - more
than 34,000 people are employed by the
port - and to tell the story of Massport and
how it affects the daily lives of everyone
is the city.
"Jobs are what ports are all about," she
said. "I want to get the word out to the public
and elected officials about the importance
of the port. In Boston, the general public
doesn't understand how important the port
is for the economy and jobs - higher paying
blue-collar jobs. That's what we need to get
our economy going again."
Hadden is also working to dredge Boston
Harbor to 47 feet to handle larger ships that
are expected to come with the Panama Canal
expansion to be completed in 2015. Hadden
says she and CEO Glynn are actively working together to get the political and financial
support for the dredging project.
Along those lines, she also plans to invest
in new cranes and more trade lanes into the
Port of Boston.
On the cruise side, Massport had a
record season in terms of passengers in
2013, but the cruise season at the port is
only six months of the year. Hadden said
she wants to extend the season year-round
in the hopes of growing cruise business
year over year.
"So for half of the year we have no revenue, no additional jobs. Even New York has
a year-round cruise season," she said. "If we
have a strong cruise business, it's better for
our economy. We're looking at new itineraries - more southern destinations - which
could help us toward that goal."
'Just Keep Swimming'
Hadden joined AAPA in 1994, shortly
after being hired at Massport. She soon joined
the Harbors, Navigation & Environmental
Committee (as it was known at the time) and
chaired the committee for two years.
"Joining AAPA was a great opportunity
to get to know the industry better and also
to meet people in the business who I could
continued on page 34
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Spring 2014
From the President’s Desk
Public Sector Agencies with Private Sector Expectations
Welcoming Veterans to Port Ranks
Working with Stakeholders: The Buck Stops at the CEO’s Office
Words of Wisdom from Long-Standing Port Executives
PPM® Certification Readies Executives for the Top
Facing Challenges Head On
Ports are Critical to U.S. Economy’s Health
The Changing Paradigm of Transportation Executives
Port and Maritime Environmental Compliance Planning Starts at the Top
Comprehensive Records Retention Plan a Must for Ports
Saint John Brings the Port to the Classroom
Barbados on Track for Record Cruise Growth
Santa Marta Focuses on the Environment, Community and Operational Efficiency
Northwest Ports Partner to Further Cut Diesel Emissions
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2014