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Quality Partnership Initiative

Photo by U.S. Corps of Army Engineers

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) launched the Quality Partnership Initiative (QPI) to jointly promote strategic and operational efficiencies and improvements in the nation’s maritime waterways transportation system. The partnership approach to address Port and navigation issues was new territory for AAPA member ports and the USACE officials. Over time, the initiative was losing traction by becoming bogged down in issues not relevant to all members and producing few joint solutions.

Why EcoLogix Group was engaged:

The new Chairman of the QPI group was seeking to raise the level of QPI discussions to longer term relevant issues of mutual concern to all ports and the Corps, and to create a higher level of engagement and commitment by the members. EcoLogix Group provided deep experience in both the USACE processes and culture as well as background and understanding of the competitive seaport industry. With this expertise and a proven ability to facilitate organizational change, EcoLogix Group was tapped to not only identify the critical policy and operational challenges, but to facilitate a new process of mutual engagement within the QPI framework. This new collaborative interface between parties with differing missions had to be designed to produce workable solutions with detailed strategies for implementation.

How EcoLogix Group Responded:

Working closely with QPI leadership, EcoLogix Group first researched and produced a nationwide assessment of best practices by member ports and their USACE partners. This work, a report entitled “Scan of Seaports – Best Practices for Project Streamlining,” was presented as a baseline for QPI members in developing workable solutions. EcoLogix Group then designed a working process for the QPI leadership and members by establishing new work groups that included members from ports and the USACE. Through facilitated discussions supported by EcoLogix Group, the newly formed QPI teams identified 25 key challenges to the port industry with specific recommendations for solutions ranging from operational improvements to high level policy & legislative changes.


The research and implementation of a new collaborative working process by EcoLogix Group has been a reset of the relationship between ports and the USACE at the highest levels. Both AAPA member ports and the USACE are now moving forward together identifying challenges and workable solutions to change policies, legislation and operations. The effort let to recommendations that were ultimately incorporated into the Water Resources Development Act of 2014


Missy Cassidy Principal
missyc@ecologixgroup.comOrganizational Dynamics Expert & Transportation Policy Architect