Port Houston’s executive director and staff are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the port and for implementing policies and directives given by the Port Commission.
Roger Guenther was named the Executive Director of Port Houston in January 2014. With 30 years of experience at the port, Guenther brings operational leadership and a proven track record to the position.
Previously, he served as Deputy Executive Director of Operations and was responsible for all container and breakbulk cargo operations, management and construction of capital development projects, facility and asset maintenance and real estate interests.
Since joining Port Houston in 1988, Mr. Guenther has served in various capacities related to facilities management, including master planning of the Bayport Container Terminal, redevelopment of the existing Barbours Cut Terminal and procurement of all container handling cranes and equipment over the last two decades.
Mr. Guenther earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and has an MBA in International Trade and Finance from the University of St. Thomas.
In 2016, Mr. Guenther was elected president of the Texas Ports Association. He also serves on TxDOT’s Texas Freight Advisory Committee and Port Authority Advisory Committee and is a member of the Board of Visitors of Texas A&M University at Galveston and Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Advisory Council.
A native of Baytown, Texas, he grew up close to the Houston Ship Channel and the Port of Houston. Mr. Guenther currently resides in Pearland with his wife Fabiana and two children. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and golf and is a dedicated supporter of Texas A&M athletics.
Thomas J. Heidt, Chief Operations Officer
Thomas J. Heidt is the Chief Operating Officer for Port Houston. He has responsibility for all operating areas of the port which include Commercial, Finance, Health, Safety, Security, Environmental, Information Technology, Port Infrastructure and Port Operations.
Mr. Heidt began his longtime career in 1982 at the port in the Accounting Department, holding management positions in Payroll, Payables, Customer Billing Services and Financial Accounting.
From 1993 to 2005, Mr. Heidt was the Market Development Manager in the Trade Development Division with the responsibility of identifying the opportunities and vulnerabilities in the port’s markets.
In 2005, Mr. Heidt became the Planning Manager – Container Terminals, where he oversaw the operating and capital budgets. In October 2009, he was named Director of Finance and Administration. In November 2012, he became Deputy Executive Director Finance and Administration; then in June 2015, was named to his current position.
Mr. Heidt holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Michigan State University. He has received certification in the Professional Port Management (PPM) program from the American Association of Ports Authority (AAPA). He belongs to numerous trade and traffic organizations.
Erik Eriksson, Chief Legal Officer
Erik Eriksson serves as Chief Legal Officer of Port Houston, overseeing its legal, government relations, pilot administration and records management functions.
Prior to joining the port in 2005, Mr. Eriksson held successively more responsible legal and management positions at a multi-billion dollar publicly-listed holding company.
Mr. Eriksson has been a director of the Southampton Civic Club since 2003, served as its president from 2005 to 2008, and is currently president of the University Place Association and Super Neighborhood. He also is a member of the Executive Committee of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership Board of Directors, and serves on the board of the Houston International Seafarers’ Centers and the advisory board of the Bayou Preservation Association.
A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Mr. Eriksson is a member of the bar in Texas, California and New York.
Tim Finley, Chief Financial Officer
Tim Finley joined Port Houston in 2010 as Assistant Controller and became Controller in January of 2013, responsible for the financial reporting and general accounting functions including billing services, credit and collection and the payroll and payables disciplines. He was named Chief Financial Officer in June 2015.
Prior to joining the port, Mr. Finley held various leadership roles in business finance over a 21-year period for the Hewlett-Packard Company (“HP”), including Vice President of Finance for HP’s global commercial desktop and display division and Finance Director for Americas Server and Storage business. Mr. Finley served as the business ethics officer for HP’s Personal Computing business group for a three-year period. Before joining HP, Mr. Finley was with Ernst & Young in the audit services group.
Mr. Finley earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Stephen F. Austin State University and holds a Certified Public Accountant license of the State of Texas, a Certified Public Finance Officer designation by the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada and is recognized as a County Investment Officer (“CIO”) by the Texas Association of Counties.
Ricky W. Kunz, Chief Commercial Officer
Ricky W. Kunz is Chief Commercial Officer for Port Houston. He joined the port as General Manager of Trade Development in April 2007. Mr. Kunz is responsible for guiding the Trade Development and Marketing teams to increase vessel calls, cargo volume and overall commerce through Houston via port facilities. Also, he is responsible for all real estate related activities as well as overseeing the activities of the Foreign Trade Zone department.
Mr. Kunz served in several capacities in the U.S., Mexico and Italy for Lykes Bros. Steamship Co. and CP Ships. Before joining the port, he served as Vice President of Mediterranean Services and Vice President of Latin American Services for Lykes Bros. Steamship Co., Inc. A native Texan, Mr. Kunz earned a bachelor’s degree in marine transportation from Texas A&M University at Galveston. During his maritime career, he worked with Hellenic Lines and Farrell Lines, Inc.
Currently, he represents the port on the Advisory Council for Supply Chain Competitiveness under the auspices of the Department of Commerce and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas-Cuba Trade Alliance.
Jeff Davis, Chief Port Operations Officer
Jeff Davis serves as Chief Port Operations Officer for Port Houston. His principal responsibilities include management of all cargo movements through the port’s Barbours Cut and Bayport Container handling facilities, the general cargo terminals and oversight of the port’s equipment and facility maintenance activities. He is also responsible for maintaining positive working relationships with customers, facility users, government entities, ship pilots and labor. Additionally, he ensures important port values in the areas of safety, security and environmental stewardship are integrated into its operations.
Mr. Davis began his maritime career working as a stevedore for 15 years. He joined the port in 1994 working in various capacities at the port’s Barbours Cut Container Terminal. He was promoted to Container Operations Manager in 2000. With the opening of the Bayport Container Terminal in 2007, he was promoted to Managing Director, Container Terminals. In 2015, he was appointed to Chief Port Operations Officer.
Rich Byrnes, Chief Port Infrastructure Officer
Rich Byrnes is the Chief Port Infrastructure Officer for Port Houston, with responsibility to steward more than two billion dollars in physical assets, and a multi-functional organization tasked with a dual value proposition of supporting public transportation and trade needs of the region, enabling an efficient and effective base for port operations. The port’s Infrastructure division’s areas of responsibility include facilities and master planning, strategic asset management, the non-federal role in ship channel management, road and rail freight mobility and environment.
Mr. Byrnes’ career experience spans engineering, operations and consulting across shipbuilding, ports, manufacturing and oil and gas industries, and working with Fortune 100 corporations, state-owned enterprises and governments on every continent. He began his career managing supply chain and wintering over at the South Pole, Antarctica and then as an oil field engineer in the Middle East. Subsequently, he has consulted to ports and shipping companies in the East, West and Gulf Coasts, Latin America and Australia. He worked with upstream, downstream and petrochemicals clients in the Americas, Asia, Europe and Middle East and held executive positions at two global oilfield corporations. He has also been a Clinical Professor of Leadership at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School.
Mr. Byrnes holds two Master’s degrees from MIT, one in Ocean Systems Management and another in Technology and Policy. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and an Associate’s degree in mathematics from Long Beach City College. In addition, he has completed three leadership programs at Texas A&M’s Center for Executive Development. Mr. Byrnes and his family have lived in the Houston area since 1992, and in his spare time he promotes STEM education in local schools.
Marcus Woodring, Chief HSSE Officer
Capt. Marcus Woodring retired from the U.S. Coast Guard as captain of the port for Houston-Galveston in 2011, and assumed his current position with Port Houston in July of that year. He is responsible for the facility security and emergency response operations of eight port terminals.
Residing within the 132-,person Health, Safety, Security and Emergency Management (HSSE) Division are the Fire Department, consisting of 53 personnel; the Port Police Department, with 50 sworn officers; the Safety Department, with four personnel; the Emergency Management Department, with an assistant emergency manager and nine Dispatchers; an administrative manager, overseeing all administrative and budgeting functions; and a Security Department, with three facility security officers, five port security officers, and the Credentialing Office. He also chairs the Port of Houston Authority Pilot Board Application Review Committee (ARC) and the Pilot Board Investigation Recommendation Committee (PBIRC).
A 1983 graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Geologic Sciences. He later attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, earning a Masters Degree in Public Administration in 1995. Capt. Woodring currently serves in various capacities on many local, state, and national maritime-related committees. His professional certifications include Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) and Texas Emergency Manager (TEM) designations.
Charles Thompson, Chief Information Officer
Charles Thompson joined Port Houston as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) in October of 2015 and leads the Information Technology Division. Prior to the port, Mr. Thompson served the cities of Houston (2012 – 2015) and Phoenix (2007-2012) in the same role.
Mr. Thompson was also the CIO for Orange County, Florida public schools and the Chief Technology Officer for the District of Columbia public schools. Before beginning his career in the public sector, Charles worked in the private sector as a systems engineer, systems analyst and consultant with IBM, NYNEX Business Systems, SynOptics and Bay Networks. He also spent two years as a senior manager in Seoul, Korea, as an expatriate with Cisco Systems.
Maxine N. Buckles, Chief Audit Officer
Maxine Buckles is Chief Audit Officer for Port Houston. She is responsible for the planning and execution of operational, financial and compliance audits to evaluate the effectiveness of internal controls, as well as monitoring and coordination of all port audit activity.
Ms. Buckles’ prior experience includes three years as the port’s Corporate Controller with responsibility for financial accounting and reporting functions, including management and regulatory reporting, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll and customer credit monitoring, as well as oversight of annual independent financial audits; five years as Senior Financial Consultant with Opportune LLP, an energy consulting firm; four years as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in Austin, Texas, where she oversaw all of ERCOT’s financial operations, including the corporate finance & treasury, credit, accounting, purchasing and financial reporting, and five years as CFO and Treasurer of the Plantation Pipe Line Co. (ExxonMobil / Kinder Morgan joint venture) in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ms. Buckles, who is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), has held a number of other senior-level financial positions primarily within energy-related entities and began her career in public accounting with a major firm. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting with honors from Xavier University of Louisiana and an MBA with emphasis in Accounting from Tulane University, and is a member of several professional organizations including the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and Financial Executives International (FEI).
Jessica Shaver, Chief People Officer
Jessica Shaver was named the Chief People Officer of Port Houston in September 2016. Jessica provides leadership in the development and execution of the strategic plan and organizational strategies. She is also responsible for aligning people programs with the strategic goals and objectives of the port, specifically in the areas of succession planning, talent management, change management, employee relations, performance management, training and development, compensation and benefits, internal communications, employee engagement, strategic planning and office services.
For years, Ms. Shaver has been involved in the transportation industry with increasing levels of leadership and management responsibilities. She previously served as the Director of Corporate Strategy and was responsible for development of the strategic plan and management of its implementation. Prior to that role, she served as the Chief of Staff and was responsible for planning and coordinating the operational activities of the organization under the direction of the Port Commission and Executive Director.
Prior to joining the port, she worked in various finance positions at CSX Corporation in Jacksonville, Florida.
Ms. Shaver earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Florida. She currently resides in the Houston Heights with her husband Ben, son William and two golden retrievers. She is actively involved in volunteering and fostering rescue dogs.