VP Engineering & Capital Development

Position Description

Position Title: VP Engineering & Capital Development

FLSA Category: Salary 

Current Rate: Competitive; based on experience.

Position Objectives

The Port (“Port”) of Cleveland is seeking a licensed Professional Engineer to join our small but highly impactful organization. The Port is an economic engine for the greater Cleveland region, overseeing maritime commerce that generates $4.7 billion in annual economic activity and more than 22,000 jobs. The Port is a leading hub for international and Great Lakes shipping, averaging 12 million tons per year across Port docks and through private terminals in Cleveland Harbor. The Port also leads major shoreline infrastructure projects in Cleveland to maintain and enhance navigation, public access, coastal resiliency, and the ecological health of Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River. Beyond maritime shipping and infrastructure, the Port plays a key role in economic development generally as the region’s leading provider of bond financing for real estate development projects of all kinds. 

Summary of Duties, Responsibilities, and Skills:

The Vice President, Engineering and Capital Development reports directly to the President and CEO and has a wide scope of responsibilities, as described below. The Port employs only one professional engineer, requiring outsourcing of certain planning and engineering projects and tasks. Selecting service providers and managing them effectively is a key component of the job. This position currently has one direct report, the Senior Manager, Planning, Environment, and Information Systems.

  • Leading capital projects undertaken by the Port. The Port is amidst a major modernization of facilities to better serve Port users, accommodate growth, and advance the Port’s recently adopted Climate Action Plan to reach net-zero carbon by 2050.  This position must lead and manage all aspects of this capital program including planning, design, bidding and award, and management of active construction projects through close-out.
  • Leading planning for the Port’s Capital Improvement Program. This 5-year plan must be refreshed at least annually for budgetary purposes and to ensure that the Port has adequate time to secure funding and regulatory approvals for projects. Planning is conducted collaboratively with the senior management team of the Port but is the primary responsibility of the VP, Engineering and Capital Development
  • Leading the Port’s dredge material management operations, including extensive Beneficial Use of sediments. The Port has assumed responsibility for providing dredge processing capacity and permanent storage for sediments dredged from the Cuyahoga River federal channel twice per year by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This operation is, therefore, critical for maintaining navigation on the ship channel up to the steel mill complex at the head of navigation. This Port’s dredge processing operation must always be ready for the upcoming dredge cycles, and effective planning and collaboration with numerous service providers and other governmental entities is required.
  • Participating as an active member of the Port’s senior management team. It is expected that this position will regularly contribute to strategic and business planning and analyses; public policy analyses; communication and representation with outside parties; responding to urgent issues on short notice, such as damage to Port property and malfunctioning equipment.


  • Must be a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Ohio or seek and obtain Ohio licensure within one year if currently licensed in another State; Civil engineering discipline preferred but others such as Environmental or Naval Architecture & Marine will be considered.
  • Must have at least 8 years of experience as a Project Manager, Director or higher level with an engineering consulting firm, government agency or in private industry.
  • Port and maritime industry experience strongly preferred but may be substituted by sufficient experience in other civil engineering fields with relevancy to the port environment.
  • Must have significant experience managing civil works construction projects or major components of large, complex projects. Experience with marine infrastructure, coastal projects, and dredging preferred but not required.
  • Prefer experience working within or on behalf of public agencies, particularly experience with public bidding of design and construction work and management of construction projects under the laws and regulations pertaining to construction work by public agencies.
  • Experience with the design and construction of marine structures such as docks, wharves, bulkheads, berms and embankments, cargo handling systems and surfaces is strongly preferred. Experience with roads, bridges, cargo storage structures, ship to shore cranes, landside cargo handling equipment, rail trackage, storm water management systems, electrification and decarbonization will be considered relevant.
  • Knowledge and experience with dredging operations and dredged material management techniques is strongly preferred. Ability to successfully lead and oversee the design, construction and operation of dredged sediment processing and storage facilities is required.
  • Experience negotiating contracts and agreements common to engineering consulting and design work and construction is required. Must also be able to formulate and negotiate business terms for service contracts such as site operator for dredged sediment facility and others.
  • Experience with environmental planning and engineering principles is preferred.
  • Familiarity with marine terminal operations and management a plus.
  • Familiarity with asset management programs and software is preferred.
  • Excellent communications skills are required including the ability to write clearly and succinctly and speak effectively in public settings. Experience presenting technical information to non-technical audiences is preferred, especially presenting to governing boards, executive management teams, elected officials, and the public.

Leadership Qualities and Work Style

The Port is seeking an individual with a Servant Leadership approach that fits the culture and expectations at the Port. The Port is a fast-paced work environment that embodies the best of the private and public sectors. This position requires working independently with limited supervision while also being an effective collaborator and team member. Creative thinking and problem-solving skills are a must. The Port is a small organization where management and senior leaders all have a wide span of responsibilities and duties, which can sometimes overlap and change quickly. Excellent communication skills and adaptability are required to succeed in this environment.

The selected candidate is also expected to occasionally work in inclement field conditions and perform work that might be considered below the job grade if needed. Port employees are public officials who must always adhere to the rules and regulations of the Port and the State of Ohio that pertain to public employment. The highest standards of professional ethics and integrity must always be maintained.

The Port’s goal is to have a workforce that reflects the diversity in our community to the maximum extent possible. Candidates with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Interested candidates can submit a resume and cover letter to melisa.freilino@portofcleveland.com no later than COB December 8, 2023.

Rhonda Winslow is Making it her Business to Help Development Projects Access Funding

Rhonda Winslow captain’s the Port’s business development work, and has been with the Port since 2012 and now serves as the Port’s Vice President of Development Finance.

Recently, Rhonda won the prestigious NAIOP President’s Award from the Northern Ohio Chapter. This award recognizes individuals who encourage and support development and the local real estate community.

Rhonda oversees the development finance program, including over $1.5 billion in outstanding bonds issued through the Port’s development finance group.

“Rhonda has shepherded dozens of revenue bond issuances by our Port Authority to closing,’’ said Will Friedman. “These projects have had a huge impact on our community. Rhonda is a consummate pro who works tirelessly behind the scenes helping projects access capital.”

She has worked extensively on numerous high-profile projects in and around Northeast Ohio, including two Amazon distribution centers, the Flats East Bank Development, the Lumen in Playhouse Square, the Intro in Ohio City, and the Sherwin-Williams headquarters.

She has been a board member of the Ohio Chapter of Women in Public Finance since January 2019.

Rhonda earned a master’s degree in business administration and bachelor’s in accounting from The University of Akron. She is a Certified Public Accountant.

Prior to joining the Port, she was with the professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Rhonda calls Shaker Heights home, where she resides with her husband and two children, ages 1 and 3.  In her free time, she’s an active volleyball player, a cyclist who explores the Towpath Trail and a fan of family outings to baseball games.  Despite her move from the neighborhood, Rhonda’s favorite dining spots are Tremont’s Grumpy’s and Rowley Inn.

Port Statement on Irishtown Bend Settlement

Cleveland, OH (March 28, 2023) – Today, the Board of Directors for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority voted 5-0 to approve Resolution 2023-12 authorizing the Port Authority to proceed with settlement of the Irishtown Bend litigation. Today’s Board action moves the Port Authority one step closer to delivering on its promise and commitment to ensuring the continued safety, welfare, and economic prosperity of our communities and businesses in and around the Cuyahoga River. A copy of the proposed settlement agreement can be found here. The agreement, which is still further subject to court approval, allocates the Port Authority’s current total responsibility and contribution in the settlement to $360,000.00, which was previously deposited in escrow with the Probate Court and are funds previously appropriated for that purpose. The Port Authority will have no role in any billboard relocations or further development post-stabilization. The Port Authority intends to proceed to construction, which we hope to begin this Summer.