News & Updates

Four Florida seaport directors named to Florida Trend’s “500 Most Influential Business Leaders” in Florida

The general guidelines for the 2019 edition of the Florida 500 remained the same as for last year’s inaugural edition: Florida Trend organized their selections according to categories used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Additional rules: No elected officials. No more than three people from any one firm. Longevity mattered. Visibility didn’t necessarily equal influence. They tried to include people who might not be visible but who seemed to have real influence, either within their professions or their communities. They also kept their Living Legends category — not counted against the final 500 — that includes people of enduring influence, some of whom are more active than others.

The Florida Ports Council is pleased to see four of our seaport directors named to this prestigious list.

Paul Anderson

Anderson oversees the state’s largest port by tonnage and land area and the most diverse in terms of cargo. He worked for JM Family Enterprises earlier in his career and served on the Federal Maritime Commission from 2003-08 and was president of International Oil Shipping in Boca Raton. He served on the U.S. Secretary of Transportation’s Human Trafficking Advisory Committee and is a recent graduate of the Air War College National Security Forum.

EDUCATION:  University of Florida (BS)
BEST ADVICE: I tell my boys “whatever you do, do it well. Be humble about what you do, be a good person and tell the truth.”
I ADMIRE:  Jeff Vinik, who reminds me a lot of one of my mentors, Jim Moran, founder and past chairman of JM Family. Like Mr. Moran, Jeff is a visionary and at his core a community leader and philanthropist.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED: I think I have a better sense of “it doesn’t happen overnight” — but it happens if you keep at it.

Eric Green

Green oversees a port that handles more containerized cargo than any other in Florida. Born in Jacksonville, Green worked for the city as deputy chief administrative officer. After serving as the port’s primary lobbyist for more than a decade, he was named CEO in 2017. Gov. Ron DeSantis named Green to his Transition Advisory Committee on Economic Policy. He sits on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Tiger Academy of Jacksonville.

EDUCATION: St. Andrews Presbyterian College (BA)
CIVIC CONTRIBUTION: JAXPORT raises awareness of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale and helps to support the Annual Right Whale Festival at Jacksonville Beach.
BEST ADVICE: To my children, regardless of circumstances, treat everyone fairly, with dignity and respect.
FAVORITE SONG: Never Would’ve Made It, by Marvin Sapp

Juan Kuryla

PortMiami has invested $1.3 billion in improvements, including a port tunnel and the widening and deepening of its shipping channels. Currently, PortMiami is the largest cruise port in the world and the only deep-water port south of Norfolk, Va.

Kuryla joined PortMiami as assistant director in 1998, after a number of executive roles working for Miami-Dade County, and became deputy in 2009 before ascending to director in 2014.

The building spree at the port includes a commitment by MSC Cruises to build one or two terminals to accommodate two mega-cruise ships at the same time, bringing 1.5 million more passengers through PortMiami each year. Royal Caribbean Cruises officially opened terminal A, the largest in the country. Norwegian Cruise Line’s terminal B is under construction, and Disney Cruise Line and Virgin Voyages have proposed building new terminals.

In fiscal 2018, a record 5.5 million passengers passed through Port Miami’s terminals, and the port set records for cargo as well. PortMiami generates more than 207,000 jobs and has an economic impact of $27 billion. “PortMiami is moving in many exciting directions,” Kuryla told Maritime Executive in 2019. “It’s full speed ahead.”

John Murray

The port has signed two long-term contracts — with Carnival Cruise Line and Disney — that solidify its financial stability, assuring continued success and support for new investment from a community that counts on the cruise business. Murray is a Coast Guard-licensed captain and was previously CEO of Lykes Lines and global shipping company Hapag-Lloyd. He has been port director for three years.

EDUCATION: Maine Maritime Academy (BS)
BEST ADVICE: Work hard, listen to your leaders and remember that there is no “bad” job. You will learn something from every job. Even if you don’t like it, it will add to your experience.
I ADMIRE: Richard Branson. He isn’t afraid to fail and has fun doing what he loves.