News & Updates: Port Bureau News: July 2020

Captain's Corner: Déjà Vu

Thursday, July 23, 2020  
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Annette and I have had the pleasure of welcoming our newest family member, our granddaughter Avery, into our home for her first visit to Texas. Along with the thrill came the inevitable sense of déjà vu as I recalled bringing our own daughter home for the first time in what seems like an impossibly short time ago. As we immediately fell into the routines needed for having an infant in the house, I could not help but think: didn’t we just finish doing this?


L to R: Bill, with daughter, Rachel, in 1992, and with granddaughter, Avery, in 2020.


The family feelings coincided exactly with my feelings as I looked toward my work week. COVID numbers are on rise; leaders everywhere are concerned. Workers are encouraged to work from home, and masks are required for all businesses. As I planned priorities, I thought again: didn’t we just finish doing this?

The answer in both instances is, of course, yes! Now we are doing it all again. In the case of Avery, we are a little more relaxed about becoming experienced and beloved grandparents than we probably were in the earliest days (and nights) of parenthood! In terms of business, we are doing it all again, possibly with a little less optimism. In the first go around, I was uncertain, but rather convinced that careful interactions and the onset of summer heat would surely send the virus packing. It looks like part of that mindset was just a mirage as the heat is here and the virus is not budging.

So, are we really back to square one? I think the answer is, “no, not really”. It may look a little that way on the surface – and it definitely feels that way. However, while we may not know how to beat the virus yet, we’ve learned a lot about pressing on with business. We’ve found that remote operations can be pretty productive and discovered how to mute and unmute pretty quickly while we’re Zooming.

Technology is the lifeblood for those of us working remotely, and its powerful utility keeps opening new doors for us. Success comes from taking some risk, and with that comes some failures. But you get back up and keep moving forward with what you have learned. What we’ve learned at this point is that we need to keep working remotely and pressing on with the new way of doing things. In spite of the déjà vu and its burden of uncertainty, I think businesses continue to make progress in working safely and effectively.

The Port Bureau has discovered a lot about engaging with you remotely. We hosted a webinar with Senator John Cornyn and Tim Jeffcoat, SBA Houston, early on about the CARES Act. We’ve conducted several Port 101 seminars – with another Port 101 coming up on July 24th. This month, we tried out a Virtual Commerce Club meeting with Congresswoman Elizabeth Fletcher, and it was a successful, productive event. We are planning a second Virtual Commerce Club in August with Peter Fasullo from En*Vantage – and we are exploring how we can add in networking opportunities for you by expanding the use of Zoom technology. Check out our website at to watch past webinars or sign up for the Port 101 or Commerce Club.

Growing up, my parents, and later the military, instilled in me that taking short cuts with chores or work usually results in an opportunity for me do them over again. So, déjà vu; it’s turned out to be the same with COVID. We will take round one of COVID and learn from it.  Our way forward will be to engage more with you virtually and to continue to provide you with the best port information available —no short cuts with either!

At home, we will be working to get it right as first-time grandparents. I am sure neither Annette nor Rachel will be allowing me any shortcuts as I accept my responsibilities of spoiling little Miss Avery.



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.