Trusted and hard-working, Angelos fostered harmony at port

March 08, 1995|By Michael Ollove | Michael Ollove,Sun Staff Writer

The harmony Michael P. Angelos nurtured between management and labor at the port of Baltimore did not end yesterday with his resignation as its executive director. Both sides were unhappy to see him go.

A one-time longshoreman who later became a top executive with one of the port's largest stevedoring companies, Mr. Angelos, 43, came to be trusted by both labor and management, a feat many credited with helping to end years of mistrust and hostility at the port.

"He was well-respected by industry executives and by labor," said Maurice Byan, president of the Steamship Trade Association, which represents roughly three dozen steamship companies and stevedores. "He will be missed."

Mattie Capp, head of Local 333 of the International Longshoremen's Association and a longtime friend of Mr. Angelos, was in complete agreement. "I'm upset," he said. "I feel like we built a relationship to where we're all pulling together. Now it's like when you lose a family member."

During the past two years -- under the direction of Adrian G. Teel and then Mr. Angelos -- the port reversed a decade-long pattern of losing cargo volume. Many attribute the success to an improved relationship between labor and management that resulted in longshoremen starting work at midnight and working in the rain.

Mr. Angelos is credited with helping create the atmosphere that enabled the two sides to reach such agreements.

In many ways, Mr. Angelos had been in training his whole life to take the port's top spot. The son of Paul Angelos, a trucking company owner who died last week, Michael Angelos began his career in the mid-'70s when he drove his father's huge container trucks. He also put in time during the summers as a longshoreman.

After business school in Florida and a brief career as a semi-professional basketball player, Mr. Angelos, who is a cousin of Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos, returned to Baltimore in 1977 to manage his father's trucking company, Panda Transport. In 1980, he joined ITO Corp., a large stevedoring company, and in 1987 was named a vice president.

Three years later, he was hired by the Maryland Port Administration as president of Maryland International Terminals, a nonprofit subsidiary of the administration charged with operating the port's public facilities.

When Mr. Teel, who had no maritime industry experience, was named executive director in 1991, he wanted as his deputy someone intimately familiar with all the port's operations. His choice was Mr. Angelos.

For the same reasons, when Mr. Teel resigned a year ago, a port advisory committee, consisting of labor officials and representatives of the companies doing business at the port, recommended Mr. Angelos as his replacement. Gov. William Donald Schaefer took its advice.

Mr. Angelos, considered more outgoing than the equally well-liked Mr. Teel, was a hard-working port chief whose mind never seemed to stray very far from work.

City Councilman Anthony Ambridge recalled seeing Mr. Angelos at a party last year repeatedly taking business-related calls on the mobile phone he carried with him. "Finally, he gave up and went back to the office," Mr. Ambridge said.

Sun staff writer Rafael Alvarez contributed to this article.

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