Steven Cernak, who was the chief executive and director of Port Everglades has died after a battle with cancer. He was 63 years old and served the port for about seven years.

He developed progressive solutions to advance the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Harbor Improvement Project after 20 years.

Steven cernak has died

PHOTO: Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance

He also grew operating revenue at Port Everglades by 17.5 percent and oversaw the construction of new cruise facilities and the beginning of the Southport Turning Notch Extension.

Cernak previously served as the Port Director and Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Galveston, TX, since 1999 according to Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

During this time period, the Port of Galveston’s revenues doubled and it became the top cruise home port in the Gulf of Mexico.  Among his notable accomplishments, Cernak initiated a proactive response to severe damage at the port from Hurricane Ike in 2008 so that cargo operations were able to resume in just eight days and cruise operations in 50 days.

He also negotiated a Project Cooperation Agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deepen Galveston Channel from 40 feet and 45 feet and secured federal funding for maintenance and new construction dredging to complete the project.  In the cruise sector, Cernak negotiated public/private development agreements with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Carnival Corporation to build two new cruise terminals.

Prior to moving to Texas, Cernak was the Manager of Port Development for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

He also held engineering positions with several private engineering consultancies in New Jersey.  Cernak has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University and M.B.A. from Dowling College in Oakdale, NY.

He was an active participant in the American Association of Port Authorities and had served on the Cruise Committee, Curriculum Committee, Harbors and Navigation Committee and has served on the Association’s Board of Directors.

Friends are encouraged to sign his online guest book. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Seafarers’ House or United Way of Galveston.