Port Staff

Manuel Almira, PPM®, Executive Director

Manuel Almira, Executive Director

Manuel Almira has more than 35 years of experience in the maritime industry, with expertise in international imports and exports that is bolstered by extensive knowledge in marketing within the South Florida market. Upon joining the Port of Palm Beach in 2008 as Executive Director, Almira exacted strict budgetary controls, that, within 18 months, brought the Port from a $3.1 million deficit to a profit for the first time in more than a decade. As of 2018, the port has had seven consecutive years of positive financial results.

Almira has been instrumental in bringing new business to the port over the past decade, including two multi-day passenger vessels, a casino day cruise and metal exporter. As business continues to grow, infrastructure improvements that accommodate increased throughput are underway. In 2015, Almira oversaw the $27.2 million restoration and redevelopment of the port’s southernmost slip. Beginning in July 2016, Almira oversaw the $15 million construction of a mini-slip, located at the port’s southernmost berth.

Cuban-born and raised in New York, Almira is a graduate of Bernard Baruch College, City University of New York. He is a recipient of the Florida Governor’s Business Ambassador Medal and earned the American Association of Port Authorities Professional Port Manager (PPM) Certification in 2013, concentrating on the feasibility and implementation of an inland port distribution center to service all three of the major South Florida ports, with the principle focus of controlling expenses.

Paul Zielinski, Deputy Port Director & Chief Financial Officer

Paul ZielinskiMr. Zielinski has been with the Port of Palm Beach since 2006. In his position as Chief Financial Officer of the Port of Palm Beach, he is responsible for all matters related to financial planning, finance, accounting, budgeting, human resource management and information systems. He also assumes the lead in all financial negotiations that are related to contract renewals and new business of our $150 million organization.

Zielinski develops and monitors the annual operating and capital budgets of the Port and works to maximize the return and maintain the security of nearly $20 million of the Port’s cash and investment assets.
As Deputy Port Director, Zielinski supports the Port Executive Director in all aspects of Port business while also proactively proving business advice, technical support and project management execution to senior staff.

Prior to joining the Port of Palm Beach, Zielinski spent seven years with the Broward County School Board holding directorships in the Budget Office, Administrative Services and SAP Support Center. While at the School Board he directed the development, control and reporting of a $3.5 billion annual budget and negotiated vendor contracts in excess of $25 million.

Before to relocating to Florida, Zielinski spent almost 20 years with the Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While with Miller Brewing he held several high-level Directors positions in Director of Strategic Planning, Distribution Management, Corporate Information Systems and Marketing Information Analysis as well as acting as the Comptroller of the western region where he provided comprehensive financial support and analysis to a business unit with more than $1.5 billion in sales. Zielinski earned his Bachelor of Business Administration at Bernard M. Baruch College with a concentration in public and private accounting.

Ken Hern, Senior Director of Seaport Operations & Security 

Ken HernKen Hern has held the position of Senior Director of Seaport Operations & Security for the Port of Palm Beach since 2005. He created a first of its kind “One Port - One Plan” security approach which was quickly approved by the United States Coast Guard, thereby ensuring that the Port and its tenants were one of the first ports in Florida to achieve compliance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act, including the unique requirements of Florida law. 

In 2006, Mr. Hern was appointed by Florida’s Governor Bush to serve as a member of the State’s Seaport Security Standards Advisory Council. He is the Port’s liaison to the Area Maritime Security Committee with the United States Coast Guard Sector Miami, a board member of the Southeast Regional Domestic Security Task Force Advisory Board, Region 7, and is an active member of the Maritime Work Group with local law enforcement. Mr. Hern is in constant communication and coordination with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the United States Coast Guard, Customs & Border Protection, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, State and US Attorney’s offices, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Riviera Beach Police Department and all county Emergency Response Agencies to keep the Port of Palm Beach at the forefront of national seaport security. 

Under his direction, more than $9 million dollars in Federal and State security grants have been awarded to the seaport and our law enforcement partners to prevent, deter, respond and recover from acts of aggression or terrorism. Among the many security grants he has secured was one to fund waterborne response platform equipment for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Offices and the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, to provide waterside patrol and surveillance, underwater IED detection, underwater search and rescue/recovery, and maritime fire equipment for incidents that occur in and along the waterfront. 

Mr. Hern comes from an extensive background in security defense and technology. With service to the US Army as an Airborne qualified, Military Police Officer. His training includes anti-terrorism tactics and characteristics, and chemical, nuclear, biological and explosives warfare. Mr. Hern developed his skills in security communications as a security contractor for eight years with IBM Corporation, managing 140 personnel and their computer access control systems throughout the southeast region.

Carl Baker, Director of Planning & Development 

Carl Baker, Director of Planning and DevelopmentCarl Baker is currently the Director of Planning and Development. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, strategic planning, long range land use policy, future transportation strategies, grant writing along with construction project oversight and coordination. 

He has been with the Port of Palm Beach since 1991. During his career at the Port he has held a number of management positions, in such diverse fields as Security, Information Technology, Communications and Operations. 

Prior to coming to the Port of Palm Beach, he was a Captain in the U.S. Army, with tours of duty in Korea, Germany and Egypt.

Michael Meekins, Director of Business Development 

Michael Meekins, Director of Business Development Michael Meekins was named Director of Business Development in April 2020. Prior to joining the Port of Palm Beach, Meekins served as the Senior Director of Cruise and Port Operations at Port Canaveral, FL. He was responsible for coordinating all operations for 644 cruise ships per year and over 3.6 million passengers, which generated over $80 million in direct revenue for the Canaveral Port Authority and $648 million in indirect revenue for the Port. Meekins was also the direct contact for all cruise and cargo business development and was assigned to coordinate all operations within the port on a daily basis. This included multiple restaurants, stores, marinas, three public parks, two sets of boat ramps, a 300 space RV Park and 4.5 acres of public beaches. During his time at Port Canaveral, the port more than doubled in volume and revenues.

Meekins also has experience in the aviation industry. He spent 10 years as a Senior Vice President of Operations, where he oversaw aviation operations in 52 cities across the country. During this time period, he was responsible for new route startup operations and ongoing oversight of ground operations.

Before that, Meekins worked as a contractor for the New York Power Authority as a Project Manager, overseeing multiple sub-contractors and projects.

One of his most proudest accomplishments is the time he spent in the military. He served 10 years in the U.S. Navy as a Jet Engine Mechanic, both ashore and deployed. His last tour of duty was onboard the U.S.S. Independence in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He then carried over his military career serving in the Air Force Reserves.

Beatrice Greffin Pompey, Director of Human Resources/ Administration & District Clerk

Beatrice BattistBeatrice Greffin Pompey has been employed with the Port of Palm Beach as of November 2010. Mrs. Greffin nicknamed "Mrs. B", by her fellow employees has over 15 years in the field of Human Resources. She is also the Port’s Foreign Trade Zone representative.

Mrs. Greffin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis on mediation and conflict resolution. 

She has a passion for working with people and strives to make a positive change in the lives of each person with whom she comes in contact.

Ronald Coddington, Port Engineer

Port Engineer Ronald CoddingtonRonald Coddington became Port Engineer in September 2019. Ronald comes to us from Callaway Marine Technologies Inc. He brings over 30 years of experience in the areas of ocean and marine engineering, project management, artificial reef construction, port structure assessment, underwater inspection, utility water management and port facility inspections. 

Ronald has experience with both the commercial and government side of the industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering and Post Graduate Studies in Marine Structures Cathodic Protection Systems and Marine Environmental Issues.

Jackelin Machado, Deputy Clerk/Supervisor of Records/Marketing Analyst

Deputy Clerk & Marketing Analyst Jackelin Machado

"Jackie" Machado is currently the Deputy Clerk and Marketing Analyst. She is responsible for the administration and maintenance of the District's records. She also performs research, provides insight on commodities, markets and the industry; and she holds the position of the Port's Foreign Trade Zone administrator. Jackie was a Colombian native who has Florida home for more than two decades.

Jackie holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master Degree in Financial Valuation and Investment Management, both from Lynn University. She has been with the Port of Palm Beach since 2004. During her career at the port, she has held several positions throughout all the departments.

Yaremi Farinas, Public Information Officer/ Communications Specialist

Public Information Officer Yaremi Farinas Yaremi Farinas was named the port’s Public Information Officer in June 2019. She comes to the Port of Palm Beach with more than seven years of experience in television news. The former broadcast reporter covered news stories all over the sunshine state and in Oklahoma. Her most recent reporting gig was at the local CBS affiliate in West Palm Beach. Last November, Farinas earned an Suncoast Chapter Emmy Award for her reports in Puerto Rico just four months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Farinas understands the importance of maintaining an open communication with the port’s stakeholders, the public and the media. 

Farinas is a 2010 graduate of Florida International University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications.

Richard Laird, Director of Information Technology 

Richard LairdRichard Laird joined the District in 2002 as a systems administrator. Promoted to information technology manager in 2008, he is now responsible for all aspects of information technology at the Port as the Director of Information Technology. 

Working in the IT field full time since 1987, Richard came to Port of Palm Beach after serving 10 years in the US Navy as a Data Systems Technician 1st class. Richard holds certifications in Microsoft and Cisco among other technologies.