updated 10/12/2010 2:45:20 AM ET 2010-10-12T06:45:20

HOUSTON, Oct. 11, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Port of Houston Authority (Port Authority) Vice President of Public Affairs Argentina James has announced her resignation. Ms. James will be pursuing a long-desired entrepreneurial aspiration, and will continue her relationship with the Port Authority as a public relations consultant through her new firm HillDay Public Relations, Inc.

During her eight-year tenure with the organization, James served as a key strategist for the Port Authority's corporate communications, social responsibility and governmental relations efforts.

"I deeply appreciate Argentina's contributions to elevating the importance of the Port of Houston Authority and educating others regarding its mission," says Port Commission Chairman James T. Edmonds. "Argentina raised the bar of our public affairs efforts by providing strategic guidance on issues related to our community, governmental, and media relations. The Port of Houston is richer for her years of public service, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in her new capacity as a consultant."

Most notably, James developed the Port Authority's highly effective, award-winning awareness branding and media campaign, "The Port Delivers the Goods."  She led the Port Authority's efforts that resulted in more than $400 million in federal funds to support the environmental stewardship, transportation, security, and economic impact goals of the organization.

James also helped launch new initiatives to build educational avenues to maritime careers, helping fulfill the growing demands for a skilled maritime workforce. These initiatives culminated in Texas Southern University's new Maritime Transportation Management and Security degree program, a first for Houston and the first in the nation to be offered by a Historically Black College or University.

Under James' leadership, the Port Authority's corporate social responsibility, government relations and corporate communications departments collectively won more local, national and industry awards than at any point in the history of the organization.

"It's been such a privilege to work with the talented and committed people at the Port of Houston Authority," said James. "I am proud to have been part of telling the stories of the many ways the Port Delivers the Goods.  I'm especially pleased, however, to have increased the community's sense of ownership of and pride in the Port of Houston, and look forward to continuing to work with the Port Authority in other capacities."

The Port of Houston Authority owns and operates the public facilities located along the Port of Houston, the 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities designed for handling general cargo, containers, grain and other dry bulk materials, project and heavy lift cargo, and other types of cargo. Each year, there are more than 7,700 vessel calls at the port, which ranks first in the U.S. in foreign waterborne tonnage and second in overall total tonnage. The port authority plays a vital role in ensuring navigational safety along the Houston Ship Channel, which has been instrumental in Houston's development as a center of international trade. The Barbours Cut Container Terminal and Central Maintenance Facility are the first of any U.S. port facilities to develop and implement an innovative Environmental Management System that meets the rigorous standards of ISO 14001. The second recertification of those facilities in 2009 included an extension for the state-of-the-art Bayport Container Terminal. The port authority is the first port authority in the world to receive ISO 28000:2007 certification for its port police and the perimeter security operations at both the Barbours Cut and Bayport Terminals. Additionally, the port is an approved delivery point for Coffee "C" futures contracts traded on the New York Board of Trade's Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange. For more information, please visit www.portofhouston.com.

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