Longtime face of GPA’s headquarters set to retire


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To get an idea of how long Perry Suggs has been with Georgia Ports, Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle were belting out “A Whole New World” on the radio during his first year at GPA.  Joining Georgia Ports Police Department in late 1993, he was assigned first to patrol, working both Garden City and Ocean Terminal. In 1995, Perry began a critical security role at the GPA administration building.

“He very quickly distinguished himself with his comportment, professionalism and his ability to provide the comfort of security and a warm, welcoming feeling to all customers and visitors to the administration building,” said Kevin Doyle, senior director of protective services. “Perry is adept at communicating with all manner of people who leave feeling better after their encounter with him.”

For 27 years, Perry has been the voice on the line, the stalwart man-on-guard and the officer who manages the security logistics of a bustling headquarters.  He is also the smiling face who kickstarts the day with a personalized greeting.  Retiring after nearly three decades of service, Perry enters “a whole new world” at the end of March.

“One thing that’s always constant at GPA is change – adapting to market needs, expanding operations, managing growth,” said Lee Beckmann, manager of governmental affairs. “But one thing that has remained constant has been the face of the organization. The person who greets you when you walk in the door has been constant, but that’s about to change.”

Cindy Cordero, general manager of IT-EDI, herself a GPA veteran of 30 years, became acquainted with Perry after he took on the security duties at the front desk. “I’m always carrying him coffee, and we often talk about scriptures or articles we’ve read,” Cordero said. “Perry’s faith is amazing.”

She commended Perry for his kind helpfulness with visitors. “He’s very professional about it. He stands up all day long, and never sits down. I don’t know how he does it! But I think he does it out of courtesy for the people who come in. Perry goes the extra mile to try to be more patient with people, because sometimes people are not easy to be patient with.”

Beckmann agreed, describing Suggs as graceful and cool under pressure.

For Ylonda Fate, assistant manager of telecommunications services, “Mr. P” is a reliable source of good advice. “You can go to Perry for just about anything, whether it’s about something within work or outside,” Fate said. “Whatever you need, you can go to Perry and he can help you, advise you on what to do.”

“Perry is the best at what he does,” said Executive Director Griff Lynch. “GPA has been blessed to have a person of his caliber representing the Authority for so many years, and we wish him every happiness in his retirement.”

Perry said he has enjoyed Georgia Ports and the people he has worked with. He will remain here in Savannah with his wife, Marilynn, who retired in December 2022 from Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C.

He plans to split his time between following sports and doing volunteer work for the United Way. “I used to work at the farmers’ market at Forsyth Park. I would go down there for years, from 7 a.m. till 9 a.m. every Saturday, helping the farmers set up their booths. I’ll probably go back to volunteering there.”

Debra Wynn, executive assistant to GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch, said she is not surprised at Perry’s plans. “His willingness to help others is amazing,” Wynn said. “He has a wonderful heart, and I’m truly going to miss him.”