Monday, September 11, 2017

Departure of the architect - Port of Prince Rupert CEO and President Don Krusel to retire

Don Krusel has left the building!
The Port CEO and President has
announced his retirement
The man who had the vision of developing the Port of Prince Rupert into a major international gateway, one that put Prince Rupert on the world map has decided to step back from his duties.

Don Krusel, who transformed the moribund bulk break dock at Fairivew into a global shipping point and oversaw the massive growth of all of the Port of Prince Rupert's facilities has announced his plans to retire, bringing to a conclusion his twenty five years with the major economic engine of Northern British Columbia.

The announcement which is effective immediately has caught many by surprise across the region, with Bud Smith the Chair of the Prince Rupert Port Authority announcing that Chief Financial Officer Joe Rektor will be assuming the role of interim President and CEO, with a search for a permanent replacement for Mr. Krusel will soon get underway.

As part of an announcement statement from the Port, Krusel recalled the past growth of the last decade and looked towards an optimistic future for the Pacific gateway, calling this an appropriate time to pass the leadership on.

“I am proud of the tremendous accomplishments and growth that have taken place at the port and community of Prince Rupert over the last decade. With the completion of the recent expansion project to make Fairview Container Terminal the second largest terminal in Canada, and the Port well positioned for another decade of exceptional growth, it is an appropriate moment to announce my retirement from the Port and pass the leadership to a new generation,”

Mr. Krusel joined the PRPA in 1987 first serving as the CFO and then moved into the top position in 1992, his dedication and enthusiasm for both the job and Prince Rupert as having the potential to become a major transportation hub  became infectious around the community and saw the Port evolve in any number of directions over the last decade.

Beyond the continued success of the Grain Facility and Coal Terminals at Ridley Island, the Port has seen a number of new developments come on line with the Westview Wood Pellet Terminal, The Ridley Island Road, Rail Utility Corridor Ridley island Cargo facility and Northland Cruise Terminal making for just a few of the ambitious projects that were launched during the Krusel era.

Recently the Ray-Mont Grain stuffing terminal joined the growing list of port related options on as part of the Rail Utility corridor area and construction continues on the Alta-Gas propane export Terminal on land near Ridley Terminals.

And while there have been a few large projects that gotten away over the decade, among them the Potash and LNG terminal proposals that now are part of Prince Rupert's lost project archives, the impressive success of turning the little used Break Bulk facility at Fairview into a major international gateway will long be considered Mr. Krusel's greatest success.

The original footprint for that important economic engine in Prince Rupert has provided for a growing volume of high paying jobs and with expansion plans still very much under consideration, the opening of Fairivew ten years ago remains one of the most important industrial events in the economic evolution of the North Coast.

Building relationships has also been an important passage of the Port CEO's time in Prince Rupert, as the Port footprint in the region grew, the Port funded a number of local initiatives around the region and with its growing presence on the waterfront the Port has also provided for financial resources for area municipal governments.

Port CEO and President Don Krusel played host to many public information
sessions over the years, tracking the ports growth year by year

Nothing but net! Community initiatives became a high priority for the
Port over the last decade with the PRPA providing funding for a number of projects

One of the key elements that expanded significantly during Mr. Krusel's time as CEO the Port has been its engagement with area First Nations.

The success of those efforts was most recently on display during the Fairview Terminal expansion celebration where North Coast First nations leaders provided the background notes on the relationships that have been built over the years and the many opportunities that have been created for those communities from that engagement.

No details were released as to Mr. Krusel's plans with his retirement from the Port now announced.

The full statement on the Port CEO and President's departure can be viewed here.

We'll leave the final word on Mr. Krusel's success and career at the PRPA to the Port Board Chair Bud Smith, who noted the successful team that the Port CEO had built as well as the tribute to Krusel's vision since taking his post in Prince Rupert.

“Don leaves the port authority in excellent hands with the leadership team and the organization he has built over the last quarter century.”

“Don saw the need for an innovative gateway model that could benefit trade between Canada and Asia, and he led the way in sharing his vision about how Prince Rupert could accomplish that,” 

 “We are truly grateful for his leadership, and I know the board, employees and the community join me in wishing Don every success in his future.”

You can review much of the success of the Port through Mr. Krusel's time through our Port of Prince Rupert archive here.

A wider overview of the full expansion of facilities at Port facilities can also be found here.

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