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Sean Strawbridge resigns as Port of Corpus Christi CEO

The resignation was accepted by the port commission on Tuesday.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge's tendered his resignation on Tuesday. 

"We've been talking about this for some time. . . . that it might be the right time for me to step away," Strawbridge said Tuesday evening. 

Port commissioner Diane Gonzalez tolds 3NEWS the port commission accepted his resignation during the commission's regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting.

The resignation, which came after a meeting in executive session with Strawbridge, is effective May 31, according to port commission chairman Charles Zahn. Strawbridge said Tuesday he could stay on until June 2.

"I have offered to make myself available to the commission and to staff at any time, if they need any help with the transition, and I'm certainly happy to do that," Strawbridge said.  

He has been at the port for eight years, acting as its CEO for six.

"We're on a path to continue long after I'm gone, and to certainly be a part of the history of this port in the role that I'm in -- I'm grateful for that opportunity to at least leave a -- what I hope is -- a positive, lasting mark on this institution for generations to come," he said.

Strawbridge said he leaves the port of his own volition.

"You always wanna go out on your terms and go out on a high note, as opposed to somebody else's terms and on a low note, and so I thought this might be a good time," he said. "Eight years is a long run." 

While he is excited to see what his future holds, at least one port commissioner is disappointed in Strawbridge's decision.

"It's terrible for the community, it's terrible for the Port of Corpus Christi," said port commissioner Dr. Bryan Gulley. "It's a sad, sad day."

Gulley said that in his time at the port, Strawbridge had assembled a team with a level professionalism that had previously been unseen at the Port of Corpus Christi, a team Gulley said he hopes will stay. 

"This man has taken this organization to heights that weren't even thought possible a few years ago," he said. "And the numbers speak for themselves."

The port reported record tonnage through its doors during 2023's first quarter -- 49.6 million tons, 6 million more than in 2022's first quarter, according to its website.

"Our revenues are the highest they've ever been, and we operate the port in a way such that we don't wait for the phone to ring," Gulley said. "We go out and get the business. So it's a dark day for the port to lose a talent like that."

Gulley also said said that Strawbridge's exit is just the latest talented professional to leave Corpus Christi.

"It's really sad for this community that we seem to have trouble retaining talent in this area very long," he said. "We lost our (American Bank Center) director a few months ago. It seems to be a pattern and I've lived here all my life." 

But ultimately, the port decided to accept the resignation.

"We went along with Sean's wishes," Gulley said. "I will tell you -- we hate to see it. We really hate to see it."  

Strawbridge had recently made inroads with the city of Corpus Christi and city manager Peter Zanoni so that the two entities could work together on establishing a desalination plant to serve the Coastal Bend.

Michael Gibson contributed to this developing story. 3NEWS will have updates as soon as they are available.

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