Recruitment #2210-5750-001


As a member of the Mayor’s Cabinet, the Municipal Port Director is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Mayor; the appointment of the Municipal Port Director requires confirmation by the Common Council.


Located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is an urban hub bursting with energy. Milwaukee provides a casual sophistication – big city appeal without the big city hassles. We are accessible and affordable, and our residents are welcoming. Milwaukee has evolved through the years, bringing together its unsurpassed historic charm with a breathtaking art museum, top-flight cultural attractions, professional sports, lakefront festivals, recreational opportunities, and great restaurants.


The City of Milwaukee is proud to employ a diverse workforce that is committed to providing exemplary service to the City’s residents. If you have a passion for being a part of an inclusive team of public servants, please consider the following opportunity.



  • Port Milwaukee offers a commercial operational flexibility unique to the western Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway inland waterway system. Located on the western shore of Lake Michigan at Lat. 43* 05' N, Long. 87* 55' W, Port Milwaukee is about 75 miles north of Chicago, IL, and 1,021 nautical miles from Montreal, Quebec.
  • Port Milwaukee serves as a regional transportation and distribution center with a primary market including the State of Wisconsin, northern and western Illinois, and eastern Minnesota. Port Milwaukee is also capable of cost effectively reaching Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, and the western Canadian Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
  • Port Milwaukee has fourteen berths, each capable of handling vessels with a Seaway maximum draft of 26' 06" (8.08 meters) at normal water conditions, with a length of 1,000' (304.8 meters). The Port also has two dedicated barge berths with drafts in excess of 18' (5.5 meters).
  • The Port supports a robust network of transportation professions within the region, including vessel and barge owners, rail operators, longshoremen and stevedores, truckers, freight forwarders, and other beneficial owners of cargo, working together to design high-quality, cost-effective transportation and distribution programs for both domestic and international supply chains.
  • Port Milwaukee personnel are thoroughly trained and experienced transportation and distribution professionals, capable and willing to develop complete handling and transportation solutions for Port clients.
  • Port Milwaukee is also served by two Class I railroads, the Union Pacific (UP) Railway and the Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway. Both UP and CP provide direct pier delivery at all Port facilities as well as necessary switching services on a daily basis. Port Milwaukee additionally owns and maintains 14 miles of its own rail track, providing continuous service and connectivity to UP and CP.
  • Federal Interstate Highway System I 94/794 leads directly into Port Milwaukee, assuring delay free pickup and delivery of commodities by truck. Highway connections to cities within a 350-mile radius include Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Peoria, Des Moines, Moline, Indianapolis, Madison, and Green Bay.
  • Port Milwaukee is the sole Lake Michigan port approved to serve the Mississippi River inland waterway system with direct river barge access from the Port to the Illinois River, a vital connection between other U.S. ports on the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes region.

Port Milwaukee is located at 2323 South Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53207-1054. For more information about Port Milwaukee, please visit



As an economic entity of the City of Milwaukee government, Port Milwaukee is governed by the seven-member Board of Harbor Commissioners (BHC), a panel appointed by Mayor Cavalier Johnson and confirmed by the Common Council. The BHC is responsible for supervising the day‑to‑day operations of Port Milwaukee, including harbor development and improvement, recreational use of Port Milwaukee's North Harbor Tract, and leases of harbor land and facilities to commercial enterprises seeking to utilize Port Milwaukee’s multimodal capacity. Unless otherwise specified, the BHC meets every two months in the Port’s Administration Building. To review the Board's bylaws, please click here.



As a member of the Mayor’s Cabinet, the Municipal Port Director (“Director”) works closely with the seven-member Board of Harbor Commissioners, providing leadership, strategic planning, and executive direction over all port activities and operations. The Director plays a key role in maximizing job creation and revenues by administering the Port’s existing leases, maintaining tenant and customer relations, and marketing Port Milwaukee assets domestically and internationally.



The ideal candidate will be an experienced leader with strong management skills and in-depth knowledge about port administration and operations, including lease negotiation, carrier negotiations, business development, and economic and market research. The City is seeking a visionary leader, a consensus builder, and an excellent communicator with the ability to build partnerships with all levels of municipal, state/provincial, and federal government in the United States and Canada.

Essential Functions

Leadership Responsibilities

  • Direct all activities of Port Milwaukee, which handles varied cargo from both ocean and lake vessels, working closely with the seven-member Board of Harbor Commissioners.
  • Plan and oversee harbor operations, engineering, maintenance, trade development, and marketing.
  • Direct the harbor’s physical, economic, and financial growth.
  • Provide leadership, strategic planning, and direction over Port Milwaukee’s professional, technical, and administrative personnel.
  • Oversee enforcement of city, state, and federal harbor laws and ordinances.
  • Liaise with governmental, commercial, and maritime agencies; actively participate and lead in matters pertaining to the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Mississippi River inland systems.
  • Monitor and serve as an advocate relative to state and federal activities that impact the port, Milwaukee Harbor, and the Great Lakes. 

Port Administration, Marketing, and Customer Relationship Management

  • Negotiate and prepare existing operating agreements and leases of public port lands and facilities; prepare all lease instruments.
  • Maintain effective partnerships with current and future tenants.
  • Market available land and other Port Milwaukee assets to maximize job creation and revenues.
  • Promote Port Milwaukee’s burgeoning status as a hub for the Great Lakes cruise ship industry.
  • Represent Port Milwaukee regularly before oversight committees, the media, the community, and labor, trade, and technical groups.
  • Plan and direct Port Milwaukee promotional and trade development programs and special events; oversee the preparation of various public information materials.
  • Cultivate a culture of proactive collaboration and customer service with community organizations, non-profit organizations, and members of the public living near the Port.

We welcome qualified individuals with disabilities who are interested in employment and will make reasonable accommodations during the hiring process in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.

Conditions of Employment

  • Please be advised that new employees are required to have received either both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine prior to their employment start date or have an approved religious or medical accommodation prior to their employment start date. You can find further information relative to the City’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy here:
  • The Municipal Port Director is required to file a statement of economic interests in accordance with the Milwaukee Code of Ordinances Chapter 303-Code of Ethics.
  • The incumbent must be willing to work non-standard hours as needs dictate and be willing to travel.

Minimum Requirements

  1. Bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing, public administration, economics, transportation, engineering, or a closely related field from an accredited college or university.
  2. Five years of progressively responsible management experience in port administration or operations, marine or rail transportation, or in a comparable field, providing broad knowledge of waterway commerce, rail operations, international trade, and multimodal transportation.

Equivalent combinations of education and experience that provide the applicant with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the job will be considered.

Notice: Please do not attach your academic transcripts to your employment application. The hiring department will verify candidates’ education as part of the background screening process prior to extending any job offers.

Desirable Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in a related field from an accredited college or university.
  • Fluency in French, German, Spanish, or another language.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities & Other Characteristics


  • Strong executive leadership and managerial skills.
  • Vision, imagination, initiative, and passion.
  • Ability to build and retain a successful, diverse department through effective hiring, management, training, and coaching.
  • Ability to foster an environment of inclusion wherein all associates are treated respectfully, are valued for their strengths, and feel that they can safely express themselves.


  • Ability to provide operational oversight in the areas of strategic planning, budgeting and finance, marketing and communications, organizational performance, contracts and leases, resource allocation, customer service, capital planning, and safety.
  • Ability to manage Port Milwaukee’s infrastructure and capital needs.
  • Ability to oversee enforcement of harbor laws and ordinances.
  • Knowledge of international trade; rail, water, and highway transportation; the Great Lakes Seaway Navigation System; the Mississippi River inland system, and the cruise ship industry.
  • Knowledge of business operations and the ability to manage the City’s lakefront assets for entertainment and cultural purposes, such as Discovery World, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. (MWF), and the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM).
  • Ability to serve as a liaison with the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).
  • Ability to read and understand complex documents such as laws, policies, and technical publications.
  • Knowledge of the capabilities of information technology to transform and enhance operations and services.

Communication and Interpersonal

  • Excellent interpersonal skills to work collaboratively with elected officials, colleagues, staff, public and private stakeholders, and community groups.
  • Verbal communication skills to be able to express ideas clearly and concisely in a variety of settings, via phone, face-to-face, and in meetings.
  • Ability to clearly and confidently represent the department before public bodies and the media.
  • Superior written communication skills to compose well-crafted policies, narratives, reports, articles, presentations, and correspondence.

Critical Thinking and Planning

  • Strategic planning skills to be able to establish and achieve long-range objectives.
  • Organizational skills to be able to oversee workflow processes.
  • Effective research, analytical, and problem-solving skills to be able to address complex issues.
  • Decision-making skills and sound judgment.


  • Ability to provide responsible stewardship of City resources and to represent Port Milwaukee and the City of Milwaukee professionally and ethically.
  • Ability to manage competing and changing priorities under pressure.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality regarding all aspects of the role.

Current Salary

The current salary range (Pay Range 1NX) is $105,918-$148,289 and the resident incentive salary for City of Milwaukee residents is $109,095-$152,738. Appointment above the minimum is possible based upon level of experience and other qualifications and is subject to approval.

The City of Milwaukee provides a comprehensive benefit program that includes the following:

· Defined Benefit Pension Plan

· 457 Deferred Compensation Plan

· Health and Dental Insurance

· Paid Parental Leave

· Comprehensive Wellness Program

· Onsite Clinic Services

· Onsite Employee Assistance Program

· Alternative Work Schedules

· Long Term Disability Insurance

· Group Life Insurance

· Tuition Benefits

· Paid Vacation

· 12 Paid Holidays

· Paid Sick Leave and other paid leaves

· Flexible Spending Arrangement

· Commuter Value Pass

For full details of the benefits offered by the City of Milwaukee, please visit

Selection Process

  • Screening for this position will be based on an evaluation of each applicant’s education, experience, and professional accomplishments, which should be detailed in a cover letter and resume and sent via email to by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 18, 2022.
  • Please indicate “Municipal Port Director” in the subject line.
  • Inquiries regarding the selection process may be directed to Kristin Urban by calling 414.286.8643 or via email at
  • The City of Milwaukee reserves the right to invite only the most qualified applicants to participate in the selection process.
  • The selection process will be conducted as soon as practical after Friday, November 18, 2022. Receipt of application materials may be discontinued at any time after this date without prior notice. However, recruitment may continue until the needs of the City have been met. The applicant is responsible for attending all phases of the job selection process at the time and place designated by the City of Milwaukee.


The City of Milwaukee values and encourages diversity and is an equal opportunity employer.