GALVESTON, TX (March 1, 2021) – The Texas Ports Association (TPA) honored Col. Timothy R. Vail, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Galveston District Commander, as its 2021 Port Person of the Year at the USACE, Galveston District (SWG) Virtual Winter 2021 Stakeholder Partnering Forum.

Each year, TPA honors individuals for their work and support of Texas Ports.  TPA President, Phyllis Saathoff, presented Col. Vail with the award in a surprise ceremony.

“The Galveston District is the most important district to our nation because of the economic vitality and activity generated by Texas Ports,” Saathoff said.  “Under Col. Vail’s leadership, Texas Ports have seen enhanced collaboration which has resulted in federal funding for much-needed ship channel improvement projects, consistent maintenance of our nation’s waterways, and resiliency for our channels during weather-related events.  Col. Vail is extremely deserving of this honor, and we thank him for his partnership.”

Since assuming command of the Galveston District in 2019, Col. Vail has worked to ensure the SWG obligated approximately $275 million of Operations and Maintenance funds to maintain all waterways of SWG, which include all Texas ports.  Under his tenure, the Galveston District has awarded three new work dredging contracts in Fiscal Year 2020, including the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, Freeport Harbor Channel, and Sabine-Neches Waterway.  Additionally, the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project at the Port of Brownsville is being executed under the Public Private Partnerships Pilot Program and the Houston Ship Channel Expansion Project received a new start designation in the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2021 Work Plan. The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 included Congressional authorizations for the Matagorda Ship Channel Improvement Project and the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway Brazos River Floodgates and Colorado River Locks Project. Collectively, these projects represent approximately $3.8 billion in investment in Texas ports and waterways.

“It’s easy to be a leading advocate and champion for what the federal interest really is, and that’s to build the most comprehensive coastal resiliency we can along the Texas Coast,” Col. Vail said.  “This award is really a recognition of a new era within our District. We are transitioning from ‘custodians’ to ‘champions’ of the Texas coast.”

The Texas Ports Association is an association comprised of the public port authorities and navigation districts of Texas.


TPA President Phyllis Saathoff presents Port Person of the Year award to Col. Timothy R. Vail, USACE Galveston District Commander.