Port Tampa Bay Welcomes Director of Cruise Operations & Emergency Management

- Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson announced today the hiring of Captain Matthew Thompson as its new Director of Cruise Operations & Emergency Management. Captain Thompson joins Port Tampa Bay with more than 30 years of progressive military experience with the U.S. Coast Guard. He will start the position on Monday, Sept. 5, 2022.

As Director of Cruise Operations & Emergency Management, Captain Thompson will be responsible for leading all cruise and passenger vessel operations and processes, acting as the on-call Incident Commander, and leading emergency management programs/operations for Port Tampa Bay. In addition, Captain Thompson will be responsible for developing a strategic vision, implementing, and evaluating Emergency Operations Plans. This position is also responsible for leading all Port Tampa Bay cruise and passenger operations and serves as a liaison with operators, tenants, port users, and vendors for cruise terminal events, as well as, Sparkman Wharf/Water Street events.

"Port Tampa Bay anticipates incredible growth in our cruise business in the years to come. Captain Thompson is extremely knowledgeable and perfectly positioned to oversee this important aspect of our business while improving our safety and resiliency efforts. Captain Thompson’s background allows him to hit the ground running from day one and we are excited about his depth of knowledge of maritime regulations and our local waterways," said Anderson.

Captain Thompson most recently served as Sector Commander and Captain of the U.S. Coast Guard’s St. Petersburg Sector. As Sector Commander, he served as Captain of the Port, was the Officer in charge of marine inspection, and search and rescue missions. Additionally, Captain Thompson was the Federal On-Scene Coordinator and Federal Maritime Security Coordinator, while directing all Coast Guard operations along the West Coast of Florida and throughout the Tampa Bay region.

Captain Thompson also led 2,700 active duty, reserve, civilian, and auxiliary personnel, as well as 12 multi-mission units, including five boat stations, six cutters, and an Aids to Navigation Team. He managed 160,000 square feet of property valued at $60M and oversaw an annual $4M operating budget. 

Captain Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science from Excelsior University and a U.S. Air Force, Air Command & Staff College Certification.