When Mary Anne Rooney was first elected to the Oxnard Harbor District Board of Commissioners, she was viewed as a trailblazer.
The district, which oversees the Port of Hueneme, was viewed as the ultimate old boys club. But just a few years later things have changed.
Rooney this month takes over as president of the board, the first woman in the port’s 77-year history to hold that position. She brings a more marketing-oriented, globally focused perspective to the commission’s leadership role.
With Kristin Decas, the well-regarded port CEO and executive director, Rooney has broken down stereotypes and led the Port of Hueneme to record results.
This is a big turnaround from the recession years, when the port’s roll-on, roll-off automobile import business took a big tumble.
The Port of Hueneme is greener, more customer focused, more competitive and better connected to the surrounding cities of Oxnard and Port Hueneme. Fights with the Navy over how to share the port’s civilian and military facilities have receded into the background.
A lot of the progress made at the port in recent years has to do with the spirit of partnership that Rooney brought to the board. Her election as president is the ultimate validation that her approach was the right one.