Search to begin for new Executive Director at Duluth Seaway Port Authority

Kevin Beardsley, Interim Executive Director at Duluth Seaway Port Authority

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority Board of Commissioners accepted Vanta Coda’s resignation, effective February 9, and appointed the organization’s CFO, Kevin Beardsley, as Interim Executive Director while the search for a successor gets underway.

Coda, who became the port authority’s chief executive October 1, 2013, achieved a number of significant milestones in his time at the port authority—including completion of $24 million worth of infrastructure renewal projects, launching the Duluth Cargo Connect branding initiative and opening a CN Duluth Intermodal Terminal onsite last spring.

In his letter, Coda thanked the board and fellow staff members for welcoming him into this community and supporting his strategic initiatives to grow this organization. “At my first board meeting I made only one promise,” said Coda, “to manage as a responsible steward and produce results for the port’s key stakeholders.”

Those results speak for themselves.

“Vanta opened our eyes to new possibilities during his tenure here,” said Ray Klosowski, Duluth Seaway Port Authority Board President. “Coordinating operations with our terminal manager was instrumental in giving us the financial stability to take on new challenges and create growth opportunities for the port authority and for this region. He leaves the port authority in a solid position financially, well-positioned for future growth.”

Well-respected across the Great Lakes, Coda has been actively involved with maritime policymaking initiatives at the state and federal levels in his roles as President of the Minnesota Ports Association, member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Port Authorities, member of the American Great Lakes Ports Association and member of the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee.

“It’s been an exciting time to be part of this organization,” said Coda. “The port authority is in great shape. The team in place today is the most tightly mission-focused staff with whom I’ve ever worked. Together, we’ve set the table for many years of forward-leaning growth, so it’s a good time for me to turn over the reins and embark on a new adventure.”

Since his new employer has not made an official announcement, Coda is not at liberty to say where he will be relocating.

Coda is the seventh executive to lead the Duluth Seaway Port Authority in the past 60 years. That leadership list includes: Robert T. Smith 1957-67; David W. Oberlin 1967-69; C. Thomas Burke 1969-77; Paul Pella 1977-79; Davis Helberg 1979-2003; Adolph N. Ojard 2003-13; and Vanta E. Coda II 2013-18.

Maritime Editorial