LAREDO, Texas –U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Laredo Field Office today hosted a Change of Command ceremony to formally instate Gregory Alvarez, formerly the area port director, Blaine, Wash. Port of Entry, as port director for Laredo Port of Entry. Alvarez has served as port director in Laredo since November 2015 prior to today’s formal instatement, conducted by Director, Field Operations David P. Higgerson.
“Greg brings a diverse résumé of management experience at both northern and southern border ports as well as experience with International Affairs in CBP HQ that helps bring a fresh perspective to a challenging post that is the tip of the spear with regard to enforcing narcotics, immigration, trade and agriculture law while facilitating more than $115 billion in lawful trade and travel,” Higgerson said. “He has shown his mettle in his first few months amid heavy peak travel periods and two major port construction projects and look forward to his plans to carry the port on to the next level.”
Held at Laredo Community College’s Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Fine Arts Center, the ceremony, steeped in CBP tradition, features the transferral of the CBP guidon from the DFO to the port director to symbolize the conveyance and assumption of command.
As the area port director in Laredo since November 2015, Mr. Alvarez is responsible for managing a workforce of 900+, operations and enforcement activities at four international bridges, one international airport and one rail crossing facility; as well as maintaining management and oversight responsibilities for processing more than 8.5 million travelers and $115.5 billion in trade annually.
Possessing a vast array of workforce, management and leadership experience, Mr. Alvarez previously served as area port director for Blaine, Washington, from 2009 to 2015. The area includes all ports and stations between the state of Washington and the province of British Columbia, Canada, including air and seaport operations at several ports of entry in the Pacific Northwest (17 ports and stations). With a workforce of 600 employees at that post, they processed over 17 million travelers arriving by land, over 1 million travelers arriving by ferry and rail, over 16,000 commercial buses, and approximately $20 billion in commercial trade a year.
Prior to that, Mr. Alvarez served as an assistant service port director for Tactical Operations in Great Falls, Montana, (2007 – 2009) where he maintained administrative management and oversight responsibilities for enforcement and intelligence operations amongst the 18 ports and stations in both Montana and Idaho.
He also served as assistant service port director for Passenger Operations (2006-2007) where he was responsible for the management and oversight of passenger processing programs in the Great Falls area which included: all aspects of admissibility enforcement actions; regularly representing the agency at multi-component law enforcement meetings and functions; working with multi-agency task forces; and, strengthening relationships with tribal partners.
He was first promoted to the position of port director in Del Bonita, Montana (2005), where he was responsible for all administrative and operational functions at a Class A port of entry.
Prior to that, Mr. Alvarez was program analyst with the Office of International Affairs (2003) where he managed training, technical assistance and support programs under the auspices of the U.S. State Department-funded Export Control and Border Security Program. While there, he worked directly with host governments in Malta, Cyprus, India and Armenia to strengthen border controls and enforce international export control regulations.
Mr. Alvarez first began his career with the U.S. Customs Service as an inspector in Hidalgo, Texas (1998). While in Hidalgo, he was a member of the Contraband Enforcement and Outbound Teams; received numerous awards and commendations for enforcement successes; and, he was the recipient of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, U.S. Customs Service Award, in 2001 for his enforcement efforts.
Port Director Alvarez was selected for the DHS Senior Executive Candidate Development Program (2014); and is a graduate of the Key Executive Leadership Program at American University (April 2015) and the Command Leadership Academy (2010). With more than two decades of federal and military service (U.S. Marine Corps), he and his wife, Elizabeth, have been married for over 22 years and are the proud parents of three children.