Lamar University’s new Center for Port Management prepares today’s port and terminal management professionals for tomorrow’s industry challenges and opportunities. The center’s flagship offering is the fully online Master of Science degree in Port and Terminal Management. The 12-course program blends theory and practice through course content and delivery, taught in equal measure by industry experts sourced globally, and faculty from Lamar’s Business College and Industrial Engineering Department.
“Throughout my 40-year career, the port industry has sought an advanced degree in port management that would recognize the exceptional nature of this critical profession, as well as advancing its practice,” says Erik Stromberg, the center’s first executive director. “As an industry veteran, my focus is on the application of knowledge to the practice of port management.
“Historically, port managers prepared for their significant responsibilities through on-the-job training and continuing education as offered by trade organizations, such as AAPA,” says Stromberg in reference to the American Association of Port Authorities, which he ran for 10 years. “The required set of skills and knowledge could take years to develop, but even then, it would typically address the manager’s functional focus and not the broad spectrum of port authority roles and responsibilities.
“Our port master’s degree program spans the many interdisciplinary skill sets a senior port leader needs to understand and apply. Management skills training in leadership, team building and decision-making are included in the curriculum. The curriculum also addresses one of the most important port management responsibilities, which is to balance the public and private sector roles a port authority must play.”
Stromberg continues, “Importantly, one of the very important if less obvious roles our port industry veterans play in delivering course content is to convey the normative value of port management. Port authorities operate as a public enterprise, requiring management acumen and business-like efficiency in the delivery of public goods—jobs, economic development and waterborne commerce. There is a tangible aspect of port management that prides itself on generating public benefits, as well as achieving commercial success that engenders a strident dedication to the craft.”
The center’s program also provides continuing education to Texas and West Gulf ports and terminal managers, primarily through the SE Texas Waterways Advisory Council’s Education, Research and Workforce Development Committee. Two very successful programs—“Women in Transportation Management—Ports and Terminals” and the annual “Hurricane Planning” workshop/webinar—recently concluded.
The third aspect of the center’s activities lies in sponsoring industry-relevant research. Most of the supported projects have successfully facilitated safer and more efficient waterborne transportation and waterway utilization. These projects, along with information about the center’s education and training programs, can be found at lamar.edu/portmanagement.