HIMC Speaker Bios

Roger Guenther, Executive Director for Port HoustonRoger Guenther 
Executive Director
Port Houston

Roger Guenther was named the Executive Director of Port Houston in January 2014. With 34 years of experience at the port, Guenther brings operational leadership and a proven track record to the position. He oversees the efficient and effective operations of Port Houston’s public facilities, which handle a diverse range of imports and exports including container, general cargo, breakbulk, and bulk commodities and include the area’s largest breakbulk facility and two of the most efficient container terminals in the nation. Mr. Guenther is also responsible for advocating for ongoing improvements and maintenance of the Houston Ship Channel (HSC) in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The HSC is the busiest federal waterway in the U.S. and ranked number one for waterborne tonnage. More than 200 public and private terminals conduct business alongside the HSC and together support $802 billion in annual economic value.

Prior to becoming Executive Director, 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 three decades.

In 2016, Mr. Guenther was elected president of the Texas Ports Association and served through September of 2020. He currently serves on numerous boards and committees including the Texas Department of Transportation’s Texas Freight Advisory Committee, the Port Authority Advisory Committee, the Board of Visitors of Texas A&M University at Galveston, Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Advisory Council, the Port Terminal Railroad Association, the Greater Houston Port Bureau, and the Board of Directors of the National Association of Waterfront Employees. In 2021, he was appointed by Governor Gregg Abbott to the board of the Gulf Coast Protection District. Most recently, he was appointed to the Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee by Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation.

His awards and honors include: 2017 Bronze Award Recipient-Houston International Seafarers, 2018 Humanitarian Award (Philanthropic Male)-Latino Learning Center, and 2018 Most Admired CEO-Houston Business Journal.

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.

A native of Baytown, Texas, he grew up close to the Houston Ship Channel and Port Houston. Mr. Guenther currently resides in Galveston along with his wife Fabiana, and has two children, Tyler and Emily.


 


Peter Jankowski, SVP of Research at Greater Houston PartnershipPatrick Jankowski 
Senior Vice President of Research
Greater Houston Partnership

Patrick oversees the research department which provides information gathering, data analysis and economic forecasting the Partnership’s ten divisions.

Prior to working as an economist, Jankowski worked as a business writer for Houston Magazine, Houston City Magazine, Houston Engineer and Houston Business Journal. The fact that three of those four publications are no longer in business is not a reflection on his ability as a writer.

Mr. Jankowski is a frequent speaker on business and economic issues and has served as an expert witness in cases regarding local business trends. The fact that three of the four clients he worked for in the past ten years are no longer in business is not a reflection on his ability as an economist.

Jankowski is a past board member of the National Association for the Business Economics, the NABE Foundation, The Houston Economics Club, and the Council for Community and Economic Research. The fact that he’s held leadership roles in so many research organizations indicate he’s a nerd.

Jankowski received his economics degree from the University of Texas at Austin, which makes for interesting family gatherings. His son and eldest daughter graduated from Texas A&M. “I always remind my children, ‘They may get their education from Texas A&M, but it’s paid for by my UT degree.’ His youngest daughter wisely decided to attend Texas State University in San Marcos.

Jankowski has worked for the Greater Houston Partnership, and its predecessor, the Houston Chamber of Commerce, for 39 years. That would be a record for most employees.  He’s also been married to Olga Jankowski for 40 years, which is a record for most marriages. Both have been wonderful experiences.


 


Lori Brownell, Director of Channel Development Port HoustonLori Brownell
Director of Channel Improvement
Port Houston

Lori Brownell joined the Port as Director of Channel Improvement in September 2019 and is the design and construction Project Manager for the Houston Ship Channel Expansion Channel Improvement Project, known as Project 11. Lori joined the Port from Taylor Engineering, where she was the Director of Waterfront Engineering and spent 20 years working on dredging, navigation, and dredged material management area design project for the State of Florida and multiple ports, as well as coastal and port related civil/structural infrastructure projects.

She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a registered professional engineer (in Texas and Florida) with the designation of Diplomate-Navigation Engineering from the Academy of Coastal Ocean Port & Navigation Engineers (ACOPNE). Lori is also an active member, serving in various leadership and technical committee roles, in the American Society of Civil Engineers, Coasts Ocean Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI), ACOPNE, and Western Dredging Association (WEDA).


 


Jeff Davis, Chief Port Operations Officer at Port HoustonJeff Davis
Chief Port Operations Officer
Port Houston

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 that 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.


 


Port Houston's Chief Port Infrastructure Officer Rich ByrnesRich Byrnes
Chief Port Infrastructure Officer
Port Houston

Rich Byrnes is the Port’s Chief Infrastructure Officer. His team supports regional commerce and trade by focusing on Port Planning, Construction, Asset Management, the Houston Ship Channel, Freight Mobility, Environment, and Technical Analytics. Rich is a frequent speaker on topics including the Houston Ship Channel Expansion, the Port’s 2040 Plan, and Sustainability.

Rich’s career spans engineering, operations and consulting across transportation and oil & gas industries. Starting at the South Pole, Antarctica managing supply chain, he moved into oilfield engineering in Saudi Arabia and Syria, and later led business and technical consulting units at Schlumberger and Halliburton. He has consulted with energy and transportation corporations and governments world-wide on strategy, organization, and performance improvement.

Rich holds two Master’s from MIT, in Ocean Systems Management and in Technology and Policy; a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from UC Santa Barbara; an Associate’s in Mathematics from Long Beach City College; and leadership certificates from Texas A&M.

He has also taught Leadership at Texas A&M and Strategic Management at the University of Maryland. Rich lives in the Houston area, is on the Board of STEM-E Youth Career Development Program and has been an avid supporter of STEM education and youth sports.


 


Dominic Sun, Director of Trade Development Port Houston
Dominic Sun
Director of Trade Development
Port Houston

Dominic Sun was named Director of Trade Development in January 2019. He has 29+ years of professional experience with ocean carriers, domestic and international freight forwarders, and global 3PLs in the US. His most recent position prior to joining the port was as Director of Strategic Accounts with CMA CGM, the world’s third largest ocean carriers, where he had a 11-year tenure and held expanding roles in the US West and Gulf Coasts.

Sun earned his bachelor’s degree in Finance with concentration in Real Estate from University of Southern California.


 


Jonathan Gold
Vice President, Supply Chain & Customs Policy
National Retail Federation

Jonathan Gold is vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation. In this role, Gold is a primary spokesperson and is responsible for representing the retail industry before Congress and the administration on supply chain, international trade, product safety and customs related issues impacting the retail industry. While with NRF, he has been a leading advocate of the value of trade and global value chains to the U.S. economy.

Prior to joining NRF, Gold served as a policy analyst in the Office of Policy and Planning for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He joined CBP in May 2006 and was responsible for providing policy guidance on issues surrounding maritime cargo security and trade-related matters. Gold also worked on implementation issues surrounding the SAFE Port Act and other issues within the agency including CBP intelligence reform, pandemic flu and trade facilitation.

Before joining CBP, Gold spent nearly a decade with the Retail Industry Leaders Association holding several government relations positions including director and then vice president of international trade policy before being named vice president of global supply chain policy in January 2005.
Gold currently serves on the Department of Commerce’s Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness. He has previously served on the Department of Homeland Security’s Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) and on the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Advisory Committee on Distribution Services.

Gold graduated from American University in Washington, DC in 1994. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international business with a concentration in finance.


 

 

Kim Vaccaro
Director of Global Operations
The Home Depot

Kim Vaccaro is the Director of Global Operations for The Home Depot. Kim’s responsibilities include overseeing origin, ocean, and air operations for the 3rd largest US importer. Kim is also responsible for all operational procurement (origin, ocean, air, dray, transload), import data transmissions, import visibility solutions, and cross functional strategic initiatives associated with Home Depot’s import operations. Kim joined The Home Depot in 2010 and has held various roles within Import Operations, Inventory Management and Global Supply Chain Solutions. Prior to joining The Home Depot, Kim worked for Mitsui OSK Lines and held various project and operational roles within the AP Moller-Maersk Group (Maersk Line and APM Terminals).


 


Ty Reasonover, Trade Development Manager
Ty Reasonover
Trade Development Senior Manager
Port Houston

Ty C. Reasonover is Senior Manager, Trade Development at Port Houston. With over 12 years of experience in international trade, vessel operations, and business development, Ty brings unique value to the port’s revenue developments.

In his current position, he is responsible for growing the organization’s revenue portfolio, Port Houston’s promotional activities in Asia, and promotion of the Port’s capabilities for handling containerized and project cargoes.

Ty graduated from Texas A&M University, Galveston Campus, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Maritime Administration. Upon graduation, he began a career in the breakbulk and project cargo industry.

Having spent a large part of his career in Shanghai, Reasonover has developed an in-depth working knowledge of Mandarin Chinese and Eastern Asian culture and business practices. That knowledge has been useful in working for the Port, both in the United States and in Asia.

Reasonover resides in Katy, Texas with his wife and two daughters.


 


Giancarlo Morgera
Executive Vice President, Export Liner Services
MSC USA

Giancarlo is an accomplished senior executive with over 40 years’ experience in the maritime industry. He serves as Executive Vice President, Export Liner Service, based at MSC USA’s New York headquarters.

Giancarlo joined MSC as Port Captain in 1989, working vessels for MSC and the Chilean flag operator, Empremar to Latin America. In 1992, he was promoted to Trade Manager for relay services, South Africa and Australia and in 1998 he took over the role of Vice President. In 2004, Giancarlo was promoted to Senior Vice President for Trades and since 2013, he’s been serving as Executive Vice President for all liner aspects.

Earlier in his career, Giancarlo worked as Deck Officer with D’Amico Societa’ di Navigazione in Rome, Italy. He then received his Captain’s license while travelling on board MSC to Africa and the Indian Ocean islands in 1987.

He graduated from the Merchant Marine School in Sorrento, Italy.


 


American Cotton Shippers AssociationMichael Symonanis
Director of North American Logistics/Global Container Logistics
Louis Dreyfus Commodities

Michael has worked for over 15 years at Louis Dreyfus Company and is based in Memphis, Tennessee. Prior to joining LDC, Michael worked with ocean carriers NOL and APL for fourteen years in sales and operations roles.

Michael completed his undergraduate degree at Iowa State University in business and international studies. He earned a Master of Professional Studies in Supply Chain Management at Penn State University, and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga University. In May, Michael completed an AILA International Fellowship at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Within American Cotton Shippers Association (ACSA), Texas Cotton Association (TCA) and Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC), Michael works on supply chain initiatives and policy focused on US agriculture export competitiveness with other shippers, suppliers, and stakeholders. He volunteers as Vice Chair, National Shipper Advisory Committee supporting the Federal Maritime Commission. In these roles, he furthers LCD’s commitment to address industry and national opportunities and challenges led for so many years by his colleagues Sheila Bracken and the late Steve Wyman.


 


Ricardo Arias, Manager of Trade Development Port HoustonRicardo Arias
Trade Development Manager
Port Houston

Ricardo Arias has been a member of Port Houston’s Trade Development department since April 2003, advancing to his present position of Trade Development Manager over the next two years.

In his present position, Arias is responsible for business development involving U.S. Midwest interests, Latin America and promotion of Port Houston’s capabilities for handling steel products, project cargo, perishables and coffee. He promotes and generates international and national trade that benefits the local economy by educating the public and maritime industry interests about the high quality of various subjects offered by Port Houston.

Arias is a 1995 graduate of Houston Baptist University where he earned undergraduate degrees in business administration and marketing. Upon graduation he began a career in international transportation and logistics.

Mr. Arias has worked in business development and operations management for trucking, third party logistics, freight forwarding and steamship companies with an emphasis in business development in Latin America.


 


Robert Jacquet
Vice President of Commercial
BBC Chartering USA

Robert Jacquet graduated from Texas A&M Galveston in 2001 with a bachelor of science degree in Maritime Administration.

He started as a trainee for BBC Chartering USA in 2001. Worked in Singapore 2005/2008 for BBC Chartering and Clipper Projects Joint Venture company, Asia Project Chartering. In 2008 Rob returned to Houston and assumed the position of Vice President of Commercial at BBC Chartering USA.


 


Lee Kindberg, Head of Environment & Sustainability, North America Maersk

Lee Kindberg
Head of Environment & Sustainability, North America
Maersk

Kindberg is Head of Environment and Sustainability for Maersk in North America, responsible for vessel compliance and initiatives, stakeholder outreach and customer support on supply chain sustainability in North America.

Dr. Kindberg currently serves on the Marine Board of the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and the Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Marine Environment. She served on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee and Mobile Source Technical Review Subcommittee and co-chaired the EPA Ports Workgroup from 2014-2016. She is also active in the Clean Cargo initiative, a global group dedicated to assessing and improving the environmental impact of shipping.

Dr. Kindberg received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Alabama and a Doctorate in Chemistry from the University of South Carolina. She completed the Competent Boards Certificate program and was granted their Global Competent Board Designation (GCB.D) in January 2020. (https://competentboards.com/). She has an extensive background in the chemical industry, where she was Director of Government Relations & Environmental Science for the Hoechst Celanese Fibers & Specialty Chemicals Groups. She was active in national and state industry groups and served on the Boards of several state chemical and industry associations. She joined Maersk in 2005.



Maria Aguirre, Director of Community Relations Port HoustonMaria Aguirre
Director of Community Relations
Port Houston

Maria Aguirre joined Port Houston in 2021 and is the Director of Community Relations. She has 10 years of experience in social responsibility and community relations. She has worked in Oil and Gas, non-profits, and government entities

Prior to joining the Port, Aguirre worked at Avenue CDC where she served as the Director of Community Initiatives. Her accomplishments include securing over a million dollars in grants and leading the community revitalization efforts for the Northline Community. She was also part of implementing the BUILD health challenge grant that helped refer 700 homes to the Health Department Lead Abatement program.

Maria was also selected as the 2020 Houston Texans Campeón de la Comunidad, which honors an outstanding leader in the Latino community who is making a positive impact on the city of Houston through service and dedication to a local non-profit.

Maria is a Cum Laude graduate of Baylor University, with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. She is also a Certified Associate in Project Management. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Psychology from Harvard University – Extension school.


Houston International Maritime Conference 2022