He hit it out of the park.
That was the gist of the Virginia Port Authority board’s assessment of how well Executive Director and CEO John Reinhart did last year.
The first order of business at the board’s first meeting of 2017 was to review Reinhart’s compensation package. His five-year contract, which began three years ago, provides a base pay of $450,000 a year and the chance to receive up to half that amount as a bonus if he hits certain metrics.
In about six minutes, followed by a flurry of accolades, the port’s board agreed to award Reinhart every penny of the $225,000 in incentive pay for which he was eligible.
“This is the finest year the port has had, in my experience,” board Chairman John Milliken said, adding that his dealings with the port go back more than 25 years. “We are on a good trajectory for the future; we have the finances under control and a plan for long-term growth; and that is significantly attributable to the work of John Reinhart.”
Last year was transitional for the port, in many ways. The General Assembly approved an unprecedented, state-backed $350 million bond deal that will fund the expansion of Norfolk International Terminals, the port’s biggest facility.
In tandem with that deal, the port signed a nearly 50-year capital lease of Virginia International Gateway in Portsmouth, its second-largest container terminal, which provides for a $320 million build-out to be financed upfront by the owner of the facility.
On top of all that, the finances continue to improve, Milliken said.
2016 was another record-breaking year for container volume, and Virginia led North American ports — on a percentage basis — in container volume growth, according to the port.
Reinhart’s total compensation of $675,000 last year puts him in the upper bracket for East Coast port executives.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is apples and oranges to the Port of Virginia, because it doesn’t operate its port terminals but leases them. Also, the authority is just one part of an enterprise that includes tunnels, bridges, airports, a rail system and the World Trade Center site, a spokesman said in an e-mail.
Patrick Foye, executive director of the entire agency, makes $289,667 a year. Molly Campbell, director of the port department, in charge of only the seaport, makes $229,502.
Griff Lynch, who last year took over as executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, has a base salary of $400,000; incentive pay figures were not available.
Jim Newsome, CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, has a base salary of $455,000 and earned a bonus of $34,095 last year.
Milliken said the New York-New Jersey comparison doesn’t apply because the two ports are so different. He added that what other port executives earn is not “how I determine what John Reinhart is worth to the port.”