Steve Stewart Leaves Legacy of Leadership and Faith

Judith Schultz, GHPB

Steve Stewart, founder of Gulf Winds International, Inc., died on January 26, 2017, leaving a legacy of leadership and faith behind him. Many in the transportation and maritime industry are familiar with the remarkable story of Steve’s start-up of Gulf Winds in 1996, investing funds from his personal 401K savings to form a new company. The company grew steadily, focusing on container transloading, drayage, and domestic transportation. Gulf Winds celebrated 20 years of business in 2016.

What Steve would consider even more important and intertwined with the success of Gulf Winds, is the unfolding story of his journey of Christian faith that began in 1997. Steve became active in ministry at Humble Areas First Baptist Church, where he was baptized, and continued to serve in the church the rest of his life. However, he also wonderfully integrated his faith values throughout his leadership at Gulf Winds and in the larger community.

Steve believed the success of Gulf Winds was to benefit the broader community and serve a greater purpose. In a 2014 Port Bureau News magazine interview with Todd Stewart, son to Steve and current president of Gulf Winds, Todd emphasized the company’s mission statement:

“To Glorify God by providing world-class logistics services through continual investment in our people, our clients, the community, and the world we live in.”

Click on the About tab on the Gulf Winds website home page, and the very first selection will be labeled “More Than the Move”. It’s a theme descriptive of the company’s goal to “do more than move freight” and be propelled forward by faith. The page highlights Gulf Winds’ sponsorship of numerous evangelical and compassion-based ministries at home and around the world. The “More Than the Move” motif is also reflected in the Gulf Winds media and advertising campaigns. The company logo, carefully designed in 2010 and based on a Native American symbol for wind, utilizes a mixture of biblical and nautical elements as reminder of the company mission.

Steve tirelessly advocated for the supply chain industry and the port region, giving his time to a cross-section of industry associations. He was the past president and an executive board member of the Houston International Seafarers’ Centers, executive board member of the Greater Houston Port Bureau, executive board member and co-founder of the Greater Houston Coffee Association, executive board member and past chairperson of the Houston East End Chamber of Commerce, trustee of the Houston Maritime Museum, advisory board member of the University of Houston Logistics and Supply Chain Technology Department, and board member of the Houston Ship Channel Security District representing Harris County.

Prior to founding Gulf Winds, Steve spent 24 years in the shipping industry, filling senior and executive level positions with Sea-Land Service, U.S. Lines, Damco Maritime, and Nedlloyd Lines throughout the United States and Europe. Originally from Beaumont, Texas, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1965 through 1969, including a tour of duty in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967. Steve was a 1972 graduate from Lamar University and married his wife, Brenda Smith Stewart, in March of the same year.

The Greater Houston Port Bureau was privileged to honor Steve as our 2011 Maritime Person of the Year. Hundreds from the maritime and transportation community gathered to recognize Steve’s many accomplishments and service in the port region at the Port Bureau’s event. We, at the Port Bureau, offer our sympathy to the Stewart family and all the Gulf Winds family of employees. Steve will be greatly missed, but his endowment of leadership and faith will continue to benefit us all.

Ed. Note: The Stewart family established the More Than The Move foundation in 2016 to further the faith-led outreach generated by Gulf Winds. In response to present inquiries, the family has asked that memorial contributions on behalf of Steve be made to the foundation. Visit for information on the organization or to donate.

  • Date February 14, 2017
  • Tags February 2017