Exec. Director of Seaway Port Authority Retiring

Updated: 05/24/2013 8:07 AM
Created: 05/23/2013 1:52 PM

Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, announced today his plans to retire this year after serving in that leadership role for the past decade.

He was applauded warmly at the Port Authority meeting on Thursday.

The retirement of an industry leader such as this will be felt not just in the Port of Duluth-Superior, but throughout the Great Lakes-Seaway system. A maritime transportation veteran, Ojard was named Port Authority executive director in March 2003.

His retirement will end a career that spanned more than 30 years with transportation affiliates of the U.S. Steel Corporation where he held executive positions in rail, inland barging, and Great Lakes shipping. He was president of the Warrior Gulf Navigation Co. in Alabama until 1997, when he became general manager of both the DM&IR Railway and USS Great Lakes Fleet, regional railroad and vessel companies headquartered in Duluth, Minn. Well known and respected throughout the Great Lakes, Ojard also has been actively involved with maritime policymaking initiatives at the federal level in his role as president of the American Great Lakes Ports Association and, more recently, as chair of the U.S. Delegation of the American Association of Port Authorities.

His work has impacted the harmonizing of ballast water regulations and emission standards plus harbor maintenance tax issues. Ojard also chairs the Great Ships Initiative Advisory Committee, is a member of the U.S. DOT Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee and serves on the board of the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of the maritime industry…which makes it a good time to retire, while I have energy to take on a new adventure…retirement,” said Ojard, who hopes to exit quietly from the shipping scene later this year. “The Port Authority is in great shape. We’ve assembled an outstanding management team through the years. It’s been a privilege to work with this staff, our commissioners and the entire Twin Ports community. I’m confident that a new director will be warmly welcomed and feel as fortunate as I to have had this opportunity.”

When we asked him what he'd miss, he said the people, and that there's really nothing negative about his job.

When we asked what he wouldn't miss, he said all of the flying to different places. But once he arrived at his destinations, things would work out just fine.

A native of Knife River, Minn., Ojard earned a bachelor’s degree in literature and history and minored in political history, graduating with honors from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1971.

Long associated with the regional maritime industry, Ojard is the son of the late Adolph Ojard, Sr., last master of Two Harbors’ legendary steam tug Edna G. The Edna G., built in 1896 and for many years the oldest working tug in the U.S., was retired in 1981 and is now on permanent display in Two Harbors.

A national search is underway for a new executive director. The board anticipates having that person hired by the end of summer/early fall. After a brief transitional time, Ojard will then settle into retirement to enjoy more time with grandchildren…and, just maybe, a few more rounds of golf each week.

His creativity, his commitment and his salty sense of humor will be missed in these parts. It goes without saying that Ojard will take with him the heartfelt gratitude of colleagues and friends here in the Port of Duluth-Superior as well as from ports across the Great Lakes and nation for his contributions to the maritime industry.

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