MANATEE -- Following a national search, Dave Sanford has been named deputy executive director at Port Manatee, officials announced Tuesday.
Sanford, 68, of Bradenton, has more than 40 years of maritime industry experience.
He moved here in January from Alexandria, Va., to establish a consulting business, and had signed on to work at the port as a consultant.
Over the summer, when port management staff was riven with personnel troubles, Sanford stepped in as interim chief of staff.
In his new assignment, Sanford replaces Robert J. Armstrong, former deputy executive director and chief financial officer.
"We're delighted to announce this appointment, and I think that one of the biggest assets is the complementary skill set that Dave and I have," said Carlos Buqueras, port executive director.
Buqueras said Sanford came out on top from a national field of roughly 20 candidates, three of whom were finalists.
Sanford said: "My aim is to support our chief executive officer, Carlos Buqueras, in achieving his vision to transform Port Manatee into one of the nation's premier seaports."
Sanford's extensive port-related experience gave him the edge over his competitors, said Buqueras.
His selection was a "synergistic addition" to the port staff, Buqueras said.
Sanford was most recently director of navigation policy and legislation at the American Association of Port Authorities, according to Virginia Zimmermann, port marketing and public relations assistant.
He served in several senior capacities with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including chief of civil works policy and chief of the Interagency and International Services Division, she said.
Armstrong was charged last summer with a second-degree felony for accessory after the fact after his son, who also worked at the port, was charged with stealing port property.
The son, Robert Armstrong, was fired in connection with criminal charges lodged against him.The elder Armstrong was fired after Buqueras said he had lost confidence in his ability to do his job.
Both Armstrongs have pleaded not guilty.
Port Manatee is a deepwater seaport in north Manatee County near the county line with Hillsborough. It generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact and 24,000 jobs regionally.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.