News & Updates: Port Bureau News: November 2019

Captain's Corner: We Can Change The Future

Thursday, December 12, 2019  
Share |

By CAPT Bill Diehl, GHPB President

It’s holiday movie time, and a personal favorite of mine is “A Christmas Carol”. This is because Ebenezer Scrooge, after being forced to spend Christmas Eve night examining his past decisions, his present situation, and his future if he stays on the same path, gets the chance to change his future. It’s a grim experience, but think of what a great Christmas gift that could be! Getting a picture of where our decision-making is really leading would be worth the one-night ordeal.

 His struggle with the three ghosts gave him new ideas and resolve to act on them. He promises the final ghostly spirit he “will not shut out the lessons that they teach.” And, he makes good on his promise.

 I think his experience has much to offer us as we look to the new year. Scrooge realized he needed to reach his business goals in a different way – particularly as to how he partnered with others and in broadening his investment in the local community. Doing so made all the difference in achieving a positive outcome to his story.

 Houston’s early port leaders seem to have taken a trip of their own with the “Ghost of a Ship Channel Yet to Come” when money was short and, like Scrooge, applied its lessons quickly and wholeheartedly to realize their vision for a deepwater port. Today, we have our own series of hurdles to get through to see the best outcome for the Ship Channel, and they require the cooperative effort of everyone. This includes supporting quick completion of the Army Corps and Port Houston engineering feasibility study; Congressional advocacy for authorizing that study in next year’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) legislation; and getting financial buy-in from industry on the largest public-private partnership in U.S. history. What a Christmas wish list!

 One hundred years ago, Jesse Jones rounded up bond support from nearly every banker in Houston within 24 hours. Can we pull off our own Jesse Jones moment? Or, are we going to just wait and hope that the federal government appropriates the needed funds to complete Ship Channel improvements by the current projected timeline of 2030? Just as the whole community benefited when Scrooge changed his investment plan, everyone benefits when we invest for a bigger, better Ship Channel. We, too, can impact our future — and make it a brighter one for the whole port region.

 If your holiday schedule brings you near the Port Bureau, stop by for a cup of coffee. I’d love to hear your thoughts  on the lessons of past, present, and future. In the meantime, thank you for your support. We wish you lots of holiday cheer and a very happy New Year. And, in the memorable words of Tiny Tim, “God bless Us, Every One!”

About the Author

CAPT Bill Diehl, USCG (Ret.), P.E. is president of the Greater Houston Port Bureau. Utilizing his 30+ years of marine safety and port operations experience, he guides the Port Bureau in bringing members and community partners together for cooperation and collaboration to improve and advance the port region.