Port authorities looking to drum up community support for their projects might want to take note of an initiative under way in South Carolina. Port leaders in that state are working to develop a network of "ambassadors" to advocate on the port's behalf with local, state, and federal leaders as well as the community at large.
In June, the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) recognized the 2018 "graduates" from its Port Ambassadors Program. The newly tapped ambassadors, who are all business leaders from across the state, underwent an eight-month-long training and education program designed to broaden their understanding of port operations, the challenges facing the maritime and transportation industries, and the S.C. ports' importance to the region's economy.
"The Port Ambassadors Program was a great opportunity to learn not only about the port's role in economic development and job creation, but the way it connects South Carolina businesses to the global economy," one graduate, Chakisse Newton, a principal at Cardinal Consulting, said in a statement.
Port leaders say the training program is key to building community support for their five-year growth plan, which includes completion of the first phase of construction on a new terminal and a harbor-deepening project.