Last week, the San Francisco Port Commission held elections of new officers. Commissioner Willie Adams, who served as the vice president in 2014 and 2015, was elected as the new president of the San Francisco Port Commission. Commissioner Kimberly Brandon, who has served on the Port Commission for more than 18 years, was elected vice president. Commissioner Leslie Katz is the outgoing president for years 2014 and 2015.
For the first time in the Port Commission’s 152-year history, two African-Americans have been elected to the office of president and vice president during the same term. Commissioner Adams and Commissioner Brandon will serve as the Port Commission’s officers in 2016. The only other African-American to serve on the Port Commission was the late Dr. Arthur Coleman, who served from 1981 to 1992.
“I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners, Port staff and Mayor Lee to carefully manage the Port’s enterprises so they continue benefitting all the citizens of San Francisco,” said Port Commission President Adams.
The Port of San Francisco is governed by a five member Board of Commissioners, each of whom is appointed by the Mayor and subject to confirmation by the City's Board of Supervisors. Each commissioner is appointed to a four-year term. The Port Commission is responsible for the seven and one-half miles of San Francisco Waterfront adjacent to San Francisco Bay, which the Port develops, markets, leases, administers, manages, and maintains. Its jurisdiction stretches along the waterfront from Hyde Street Pier in the north to India Basin in the south. The Port’s operating portfolio is composed of over 550 ground, commercial, retail, office, industrial and maritime industrial leases, including many internationally recognized landmarks such as Fisherman’s Wharf, PIER 39, the Exploratorium, the historic Ferry Building, and AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team.
Commission President Willie Adams
Willie Adams was appointed to the Port Commission by Mayor Edwin M. Lee and confirmed by the Board of Supervisors in July 2012. Prior to his appointment, he served on the San Francisco Film Commission beginning in 2009.
Commissioner Adams is the International Secretary-Treasurer of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) in San Francisco where he has resided since 2003. He has a long and proud history with the ILWU. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Commissioner Adams moved to Tacoma, Washington in 1978 where he worked on the docks as a longshoreman for 24 years. In 1998 he was elected by co-workers to serve on their local union Executive Board, and then chosen in 2000 to serve on the union’s International Executive Board. Commissioner Adams was also elected to serve as one of three Trustees who oversee the ILWU’s finances.
Commissioner Adams has extensive international experience that has taken him to ports in China, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and South Africa. His domestic political experience includes fostering close relationships with U.S. Senators and House members on port infrastructure and transportation issues, and he has worked closely with the bi-partisan Port Caucus and Cabinet officials at the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Commerce and Labor.
In addition to his fiscal and legislative responsibilities, Commissioner Adams has been a passionate cultural advocate who produced “Celebrations of Black History and Labor” programs in Tacoma that received national attention. Adams has also produced several award-winning documentary films including “Hughes: Dream Harlem” about the life of Langston Hughes, and “The Black Composers,” about African-American composers including Billy Strayhorn, Quincy Jones, and Stanley Clark.
Commission Vice President Kimberly Brandon
Kimberly Brandon was appointed to the San Francisco Port Commission by Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. in August 1997. She was elected president of the Port Commission in 2000, 2001, 2008 and 2011 and served as vice president in 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013. Ms. Brandon is a native San Franciscan who has dedicated a career to social justice and economic empowerment.
“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve on San Francisco’s Port Commission for the past 18 years,” said Port Commission Vice President Kimberly Brandon. “We have made great strides in transforming the waterfront into the vibrant and diverse port that we enjoy today, but there is still more work to be done,” she said. “Collectively, we must tackle important topics like sea wall endurance, sea level rise, waterfront transportation and maintaining a dutiful balance of maritime operations and environmentally-responsible land improvements.”
Commissioner Brandon is the first African-American woman to serve on the San Francisco Port Commission. She has been actively involved in the Port's city-wide outreach efforts, spearheading the Southern Waterfront Advisory Committee (SWAC), which led to Port-wide Community Advisory Committees to ensure that all communities have a voice in the Port’s development plans. Commissioner Brandon also has promoted diversity in staff hiring and contracting to ensure that the agency is representative of the City and County of San Francisco.
She has been instrumental in fostering international trade relations with sister ports including participation in delegations to the People's Republic of China, Vietnam, Argentina, Chile, Ghana, and Mexico.
Ms. Brandon has mapped a flourishing career in the field of financial services. Currently she serves as Senior Vice President and Wealth Advisor with Morgan Stanley, where she oversees a portfolio of assets of high net worth individuals, foundations, endowments and public entities. In her spare time she serves on several boards including San Francisco State University’s Foundation, where she chairs the Finance and Investment Committee, the Metta Fund and the San Francisco Foundation’s Koshland Advisory Committee.