Bob Portiss

Bob Portiss will receive a national award Tuesday for his work as director of the Port of Catoosa.  JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World file

When thinking about who in this state is a champion for transportation, only a handful of people come to mind. Near the top of that short list is Bob Portiss.

Tuesday, Portiss, along with 11 others, will receive the White House Transportation Champions of Change award. The award represents exemplary leadership and innovation in transportation. Portiss could put that description on his business card. But he won’t.

Portiss has been the driving force and head cheerleader for the Port of Catoosa almost since it opened. The inland waterway was dedicated in 1971, and Portiss arrived on the scene in 1973. He hasn’t left yet, and that is good news for the port.

He has been with the port through good and bad times. It was his duty to explain to the public and businesses exactly what the port was and why an inland waterway was so important. He did so with relish. It certainly didn’t hurt that Portiss is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. That opened a lot of doors. Once he was in the door, his passion and presentation helped convince any doubters that this port idea really could work.

In an interview with Tulsa World Business columnist John Stancavage, Portiss said: “This really isn’t about me. I see this award as something earned by all the people who have been involved in the port.... I’m just accepting it on their behalf.”

Typical Bob Portiss. The port and the entire state have been lucky to have him around all these years.

We congratulate him on this very well-deserved award. He truly is a champion of transportation. We thank him for his dedication and hard work. And we know he has loved every minute of it.

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.