By Rhashad R. Pittman
It may be Stockton’s most valuable asset in terms of economic impact, yet the Port of Stockton remains out of mind and nearly out of sight for most residents in the region. If you asked around, most people probably would never imagine that $1.5 billion worth of cargo float in and out of the port each year, to and from countries all over the world.
The Port of Stockton’s role in the local economy is critical to say the least. No one knows that more than the seven men and women who serve on the Port’s governing body, the Port Commission. One of those Commissioners is businessman Sylvester Aguilar.
Having served nearly a full four-year term, Aguilar is up for reappointment by the Stockton City Council and hopes to serve another term. Being reappointed to the Commission of the Port of Stockton would be an honor, he said, and would allow him to continue to give back to the city he loves.
“I am humbled to have been a part of the economic recovery of Stockton and the Central Valley and look forward to continuing our efforts to bring new industries and more jobs to our great city,” Aguilar said. “While I admit there was a steep learning curve, I have truly been able to make a difference and feel very good about my success in my first term.”
During his first term as part of the Port Commission, Aguilar has helped increase community outreach efforts to create more business and employment opportunities. The Port plays a crucial role in the economic vitality of the region and he wants to ensure that recent success continues.
Aguilar noted that the Port has brought more than 5,500 jobs to Stockton and has generated more than $15 million in taxes to support a wide variety of services provided by the City of Stockton and San Joaquin County.
“The Port has also invested more than $170 million in roads, bridges, rail, dredging and other infrastructure projects to attract even more jobs to Stockton,” Aguilar said, “and is developing plans to invest in additional infrastructure improvements in the near future.”
Each year, the shipping activity at the Port creates thousands of jobs to handle the massive amount of cargo that comes in and out of the Port. The cargo is valued at more than $1.5 billion annually and includes everything from powdered milk to steel, sinks, fertilizer, to a variety of agricultural goods.
As stated on the Port’s website, “On any given day here at the Port you might see organic grain coming in from Turkey, refined sulfur going out to Australia, or any other of a litany of products that are going to or coming from places all around the world.”
A Stockton native, Aguilar graduated from University of the Pacific’s Eberhardt School of Business and the Pacific Coast Banking School and completed his graduate work at Golden Gate University. He is now Senior Vice President and Regional Manager for Bank of the West.
Before joining the Port Commission, Aguilar served as President of the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber. He currently sits on the CSU Stanislaus Business School Advisory Board and with the Stockton Symphony’s Circle Advisory Board.
The Port of Stockton is governed by a seven member Board of Commissioners. Four of the commissioners are appointed by the City of Stockton and the other three are selected by San Joaquin County. Aguilar said he hopes to continue to be an ambassador for the Port within the city, regionally and globally.
“I also look forward to working closely with staff on our updated mission statement, long-term vision and strategic plan for the next phase of our success,” he said. “It is my goal to continue creating more opportunities for local businesses to do business with the Port and create jobs for our community.”