J. Owen Cole, honored yesterday as the Port Leader of the Year by the Baltimore Junior Association of Commerce, said that the once-fractious port community has become more cooperative.
"We have a unified port, with the best labor-management climate that's been around in my experience here," said Cole, a member of the Maryland Port Commission and retired chairman of the First National Bank of Maryland.
He applauded the recently concluded national contract talks for the International Longshoremen's Association. He termed the pact "a pretty creative agreement" but added that the ongoing local contract talks are "very critical to the future."
Speaking before about 100 Junior Association of Commerce members and guests at the annual port luncheon yesterday at the Omni Hotel, Cole called the last year at the port "a time of building resources and support."