Debra Duster Owens, Board Member At Large PortMiami


Debra Duster Owens has more than 30 years of comprehensive legislative experience.  She is currently the Director of Government & International Relations at PortMiami. Ms. Duster Owens is responsible for the development of legislative strategies to promote the Port’s local, state, and federal agendas.  She oversees more than 85 international sister seaport agreements to include the exchange of information pertaining to the cruise and cargo sectors aimed at increasing business opportunities.

PortMiami is currently the 2nd largest economic enigine in Miami-Dade County, generating an estimated 334,500 jobs and an economic impact of $43.4 billion. It is one of the world’s leading hubs for global commerce and tourism and it is a significant conduit for international trade and commerce.   Ms. Duster Owens played an integral role in securing funding for PortMiami’s $1billion dollar capital infrastructure program to include; a water depth of -50/-52 feet, super Post-Panamax gantry cranes, inter-modal on-dock rail service with connections to the National Rail System, a fast-access tunnel to the U.S. Interstate Highway System and the Shore Power Program.  She also works closely with the Florida Ports Council as well as the American Association of Port Authorities in support of maritime legislative and funding initiatives for PortMiami. 

Prior to joining the PortMiami team, Ms. Duster Owens served as the Executive Director of the Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation for nine years, where she was responsible for working in collaboration with 27 state elected officials to promote the county’s legislative agenda.   Ms. Duster Owens had the distinct honor to serve on the 1990 Nelson Mandela Advance Team during his first visit to the U.S. and was awarded the 2016 International Women’s Day Award from the World Trade Center Miami for her leadership in promoting and enhancing international business in the Americas. 

Ms. Duster Owens attended the University of Alabama and Alabama State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice/Political Science.  She completed the Executive Education Program at the Kennedy School of Government – Harvard University, Chapman Leadership Program at Florida International University and a 3-year Executive Leadership Program through the Knight Ridder Corporation.