AAPA Honors Steve Cernak

Steve Cernak
Steve Cernak

Published Apr 1, 2019 5:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) President and CEO Kurt Nagle has honored the late Steven M. Cernak with AAPA’s Distinguished Service Award.

Cernak, who lost his fight with cancer on March 16, was AAPA’s immediate past Chairman and the association’s 2019 Cruise Person of the Year Award recipient.

AAPA’s Distinguished Service Award is periodically presented to one or more individuals for their dedicated efforts on behalf of all ports in the Western Hemisphere and for the enrichment of the maritime and port industries. Award recipients are selected by AAPA's Executive Committee.

In eulogizing the life of Cernak, Nagle said: “Steve was a good friend for many years, starting back when he worked with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and through his time at Galveston and here at Port Everglades.

“He was always supportive and a champion for the importance of ports being united to share best practices, collaborate on common challenges and advocate collectively on key policy issues.

“Steve was always willing to share his experience with his Western Hemisphere port colleagues. He was highly respected by all who knew him. And, as a sign of that respect, Steve was elected to serve as AAPA Chairman of the Board for 2017-2018.

“We’re grateful to Broward County, Port Everglades, and to (his wife) Cindy, for lending Steve to us to lead AAPA.

“Steve was highly skilled at recognizing, and working through, the range of ports’ diverse interests to find common ground. This was evidenced most clearly when, last year, Steve’s leadership enabled us to reach a historic industry agreement on an issue that had been divisive for over 30 years.

“Steve was dedicated to fulfilling his role as Chairman, despite his illness. The industry, and particularly our Latin American members, were touched and honored that Steve, as Chairman of the Board, traveled to Valparaiso, Chile, for last year’s AAPA annual convention.

“Steve’s contributions to the port industry over his career helped advance the industry on many fronts. We had the privilege to recognize Steve earlier this year as AAPA Cruise Person of the Year for his significant, positive impacts on the relationship between Western Hemisphere ports and the cruise industry. And today, on behalf of our association and his industry colleagues, I’m honored to bestow upon Steve AAPA’s highest industry award … our Distinguished Service Award.

“AAPA’s Distinguished Service Award is presented to individuals for dedicated efforts over a career on behalf of all ports in the Western Hemisphere and enrichment of the maritime and port industries.

“Who better deserves this award and epitomized these values and service than our friend, Steve Cernak?”