Ports Beyond the Public Eye: Seaport’s Hidden Heroes

The accomplishments of the behind-the-scenes stars who help seaports flourish are coming to light and earning acclaim.

* By Lori Musser *

Whether they staff a security gate, or prepare statistical reports, or oversee a $100-million development, seaport star performers do so much more than put in eight hours per day. They do their jobs well, and then go over and above. They might develop a time-saving device, volunteer at coastal cleanups, testify before Congress on funding, teach elementary school children about trade, mentor new industry hires, or marshal relief supplies for hurricane-torn neighbors.

These heroes sometimes remain hidden, but other times their accomplishments even earn recognition from outside organizations. Here are just a few of our 2019 hidden heroes:

In Citizen Diplomacy

In June, Port of Los Angeles’ trade development manager, Norman Arikawa, was honored as 2019 Outstanding Citizen Diplomat by the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles.

Over the course of a 40-year career, Arikawa has worked on many city trade development efforts, coordinated innumerable visits by foreign officials, helped develop the Presidential “E Star” Award-winning Trade Connect program for small- and medium-sized businesses, and served on numerous trade committees, councils and opportunity network initiatives.

Janet Elliott, president of the International Visitors Council, said, “Norman exemplifies outstanding citizen diplomacy through meetings he has arranged over the years…sharing information and ideas on issues such as trade policy, security, safety and environmental issues.”

In Container Sector

In September, Chris Lytle received a lifetime achievement award from the Containerization and Intermodal Institute, acknowledging a 53-year career that included positions at the helms of Port of Oakland and, prior to that, Port of Long Beach.

Lytle said, “I’ve had a long and satisfying career and this recognition makes it easier to step away. I’m leaving the industry with great memories and pride in what I’ve accomplished alongside hundreds of wonderful colleagues.”

The ‘Connie Award’ is presented annually to maritime industry leaders who have made substantial and long-term contributions to trade, transportation and container shipping. Lytle is credited with leading Oakland to record cargo volume in recent years, and has a track record of introducing industry service innovations.

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