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Jan 04

Port of Palm Beach CFO Recognized as Finalist in 2016 CFO Awards

Posted on January 4, 2016 at 3:03 PM by Tara Monks

Paul Zielinski

On Thursday, January 28, 2016, Mr. Paul Zielinski, Port of Palm Beach Deputy Director and Chief Financial Officer, will be recognized as a finalist and potential winner of the 2016 CFO Awards, an annual recognition ceremony hosted by South Florida Business Journal. Zielinski has been named a finalist within the non-profit sector of South Florida businesses, alongside CFOs from Florida Atlantic University and David Posnack Jewish Community Center. Mr. Zielinski, who joined the port in 2006, worked with port commission and staff decisions that resulted in the port’s sustained financial improvement.

The return of the port’s financial soundness resulted in a Moody’s Investors Services senior rating upgrade from Ba1 to Baa3, outlook stable. The upgrade was announced on October 2, 2015, and documented the port’s strengths, challenges and recent developments as reasons for the positive change.

Zielinski joined the port in 2006, at a time the operation was incurring annual losses. Almost immediately thereafter, the recession took hold of the economy and the port’s losses escalated. Zielinski worked closely with the port’s Executive Director and senior staff to not only contain operating costs, but significantly reduce them.

“Operating Expenses in FY 2014 were $200,000 lower than they were six years earlier, in 2008,” explains Executive Director Manuel Almira, who joined the port in 2008. He continues, “This decrease is the result of analyzing each cost area and outsourcing when beneficial, or shifting responsibilities to port staff when resources allowed and economics dictated. Over the past seven years, staff efforts were continually recognized and annual wage increases were able to raise 3% to 5%, on average.”

Further adding to the port’s financial stability was the acquisition and negotiation of new business contracts. As one of the port's chief negotiator of current and new business for the port, Zielinski worked with Senior Business Development Director Jarra Kaczwara to negotiate long-term, highly profitable contracts that will generate over $60 million in revenue during their terms. As stated by the Moody’s review, the port will sustain its financial performance in the medium-term given revenue guarantees under long-term customer contracts.

As the port maintains efforts to ensure its financial stability and success, it recognizes the achievements of CFO Paul Zielinski and applauds his fellow nominees at Florida Atlantic University and the David Posnack Jewish Community Center.

The South Florida Business Journal 2016 CFO Awards are presented by Steven Douglas Associates. The program will take place Thursday, January 28, 2016 at Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more information on the awards and nominees, please visit