Port Everglades Director resigns, Chip LaMarca floated to replace him
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 1/5/23- Rep. Chip LaMarca, R-Lighthouse Point, after the House Energy, Communications & Cybersecurity Subcommittee, Thursday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

And he’s interested in the job.

After close to four years on the job, Port Everglades Director Jonathan Daniels is leaving one of the world’s busiest cruise homeports and cargo harbors in February.

One potential replacement for him is already being floated: Lighthouse Point state Rep. Chip LaMarca.

Daniels, who came on as Director in mid-2020, announced his pending departure last week in an email to Port Everglades employees (viewable below). He confirmed he accepted a new position, effective Feb. 5, with the Maryland Department of Transportation as executive director of Port Administration and the Port of Baltimore.

Margaret Stapleton, director of the Broward County Office of Public Communications, said the recruitment process for the next Port Everglades Director hasn’t yet begun.

“There is a national recruitment forthcoming,” she said.

But LaMarca, a two-term Broward Commissioner and longtime construction executive, is already gaining support behind the scenes, sources told Florida Politics on Wednesday.

And he’s interested in the job.

“Although it was not something that I was seeking, I would be honored to be considered for the Port Everglades Director,” he said.

“I’m very happy. I’m in a situation where I’m running a business with my wife and serving in the Legislature. I’m not actively looking for a job. But this is certainly something that interests me. Port Everglades has been a priority for me for many years.”

LaMarca said he first learned of Daniels’ resignation when someone called him last week to ask if he would consider seeking the Port Director post. He then met with members of the influential Port Everglades Association (PEA), a nonpartisan government relations organization that advocates for businesses at the harbor.

“It’s a group I’ve been working and traveling with for the last 14 years to advocate at the state and federal government levels for not only deepening and widening the port but also business growth there,” he said. “I also spoke with Jonathan for a good amount of time last Saturday and got his thoughts on it. He was very encouraging.”

PEA Executive Director Lori Baer said her organization is not backing LaMarca and that she wasn’t previously aware he was in consideration for the role.

“As an association, we don’t take positions,” she said. “I certainly can say we look forward to whatever process the county puts in place.”

Baer praised Daniels for his work at the port, which under his leadership has generated more than $33 billion worth of business activity annually and expanded to include an upgraded Disney Cruise Line terminal, ample cargo growth and new warehouses to replace an outdated Foreign-Trade Zone.

“He’s been a great, great Port Director across all of our sectors of business,” she said. “As I understand it, he’s going to take on a huge job, and he’ll be missed here very much.”

Others already working in Port Everglades leadership may also compete to fill the vacancy, including Deputy Director Glenn Wiltshire and Assistant Directors J. David Anderton II and Peg Buchan.

Florida Politics contacted Daniels for comment but received none by press time.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.

One comment

  • Spare us the crocodile tears

    December 28, 2023 at 10:09 am

    His heart couldn’t have been too “heavy”…

Comments are closed.


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