News Section: Business and Financial
Port Manatee Director Carlos Buqueras Gets Praise and a Raise
BRADENTON -- At the BOCC meeting Tuesday, Commissioners opened a Port Authority special session to vote on one item: Carlos Buqueras's contract evaluation. It has been more than six months since Buqueras took the helm as director of the port. According to his contract, if in that period he achieved said goals, he would be rewarded a five percent salary increase. The approval by the board was unanimous that Buqueras had earned the bump.
When Buqueras took over the director's position last January, the port was nearing the end of a decade long expansion and struggling with a troubled economy. Buqueras brought new ideas and a unique skill set that would focus on the newly-revamped Panama Canal, and expanding business with other ports of call. In Buqueras, the board saw visions of a revitalized future for the port and according to commissioners, he has lived up to their high expectations.
Commissioner John Chappie said, "It has been clear from the start, we made the right decision." Commissioner Carol Whitmore added, "I compliment you on your communication. You are always there -- love your management style." Commissioner Michael Gallen also commented saying, "You hit the ground running."
Buqueras has spent much of his time traveling to South America and elsewhere, communicating to other ports-of-call the convenience of Port Manatee's location, its direct rail to the mid-west and deep-water berths.
Buqueras' broad-based perspective and multi-lingual talents have worked out well, putting Florida's International Gateway on the map.
At Tuesday's meeting, Commissioner Joe McClash told Buqueras, "You have done a lot of outreach in the community. You saved the port $500,000 reducing staff, and in engineering, $115,000. You have helped us with the Tiger II grants that amount to $9 million."
Buqueras said they have just finalized a deal where the port will be moving 150,000 tons of animal feed coming from Brazil and going to midwest areas where drought has destroyed crops. He says there may be a deal to ship another 500,000 tons after that.
August 17, 2012, at 2p.m. will be the official Berth 12 celebration at Port Manatee, and in attendance will be Governor Rick Scott. Buqueras says, "I'll see you there."