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Create. Optimize. Deliver

A Certified Small Business Enterprise


Create innovative engineering solutions for project stakeholders.

Optimize project execution for an exceptional customer experience.

Deliver services with integrity, while consistently exceeding expectations.

Face tomorrow's challenges in a fun and progressive team culture attracting the next generation of engineers and problem solvers.



People are the key to success. Port Design Partners was founded on the principle that delivering great service to clients is a byproduct of treating employees well. Providing staff with the right tools, training, work environment, and autonomy to perform their jobs with a focus on quality, teamwork, communication, and integrity will produce exceptional results.



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2019 - Current

The project will provide the Port with much needed additional railroad infrastructure to remove bottlenecks, stage longer trains in to and out of the Port, and support the growing on-dock rail demand. Port Design Partners, as a sub consultant to HDR, will serve as the Civil Lead and deliver management and civil engineering services from conceptual design through construction for this $870 million dollar project which is scheduled to be completed by 2032. PDP is extremely appreciative of the opportunity to participate on the project and continue its long relationship with the Port of Long Beach.

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2016 - Current

This project included twelve tracks (eight working and four storage) averaging 4,400 feet in length and a total of 75,000 track-ft, making it the largest on-dock railroad facility in the United States.  The project includes concept development and estimating for railroad access and facility layout, as well as phased implementation.  Intermodal operations were also dynamically simulated (under a separate project) to assess crane operations, rail operations, coning crews, and repair crew conflicts.  Port Design Partners was contracted to assist with finalizing the design documents and providing construction support.

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The project entails expanding mainline access through the Port to Pier J to enhance overall railroad efficiency with supplemental track improvements within the Pier G terminal.  The project includes concept development and estimating for railroad access and track layout, as well as phased implementation. As a sub consultant to AECOM, Port Design Partners is responsible for leading the design team in the Deputy Project Manager role.  Daily tasks include: design team coordination; design scheduling; construction phasing; design coordination and oversight; quality assurance; and design submittal content.

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Engineering design services for the Port of Los Angeles's (POLA's) Berths 142-147 Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF). The ICTF is an automated on-dock rail yard that will be part of the Container Terminal Development program to automate the container yard. The project includes automated wide-span rail mounted gantry (ARMG) crane rail and eight loading railroad tracks, each with a capacity of eight double-stacked platform cars. Nathan served as the project manager for the design team. His responsibilities included oversight of third-party subconsultants and detailed coordination with the Port of Los Angeles' in-house design team.  As a sub consultant to Moffatt & Nichol, Port Design Partners is responsible for leading the production and delivering record drawings.

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Sea-level Rise (SLR) Study for POLA to be able to respond to the State Lands commission with a Coastal Resilience Plan. The purpose of the SLR Study is to identify the areas that are projected to be exposed to SLR by 2030, 2050, and 2100, provide an overview of the Port’s asset vulnerabilities, and to present a suite of strategies that will allow the Port to both adapt over time and become more resilient to SLR.  As a subconsultant to AECOM, Port Design Partners was responsible for data collection, infrastructure and operations asset inventory, review of inundation maps, development of vulnerability profiles and adaptation strategies, and report preparation.

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Railroad engineering support expertise in the development of updated railroad design criteria, standard plans, and maintenance maps. The effort incorporated new American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) guidelines and recent best practices to establish a consistent approach to railroad design across POLA projects. New railroad standard plans were developed to provide guidance and details that can be referenced on future POLA projects. Plan details included typical cross sections, ties and transitions, underdrains, utility casings, special trackwork, crossing modules, derails, striping, and compressed air. New railroad asset maintenance responsibility and quality maps provide POLA with a graphical representation of various railroad asset maintenance responsibilities along with identification of the various classes of track to ensure upkeep matches intended operations.

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Word on the Street

"Nathan deSousa served as the Lead Rail Engineer for the Middle Harbor Program for 7 years. Nathan also served as the Design Team Lead for the Pier E Container Yard and Intermodal Yard, Phase 2 Project. Even under tight deadlines, he continually delivered quality work on schedule. What stands out the most about Nathan is his commitment to customer service and attention to detail. In my dealings with Nathan, I felt that he went the extra mile to deliver the best possible product. He was a great asset to our team and I would recommend him for leadership and technical positions."

Monique Lebrun, PE
Senior Program Manager
Port of Long Beach

"Our project has complex collaboration requirements with three consultants and port staff all working on the same design. Nathan has been invaluable in fostering teamwork."

Tom Baldwin, PE
Director of Program Management (Retired)
Port of Long Beach


Highly motivated and adaptable to serve in a wide variety of project structures, Port Design Partners excels in any project role. We can serve as program and project manager, planning and design lead, extension of client staff, design production support, and as a civil or railroad expert.


We are a certified very small business but have the experience of a large company. Having performed in the role of selecting and managing teams both large and small, we understand the challenges project managers face to maximize performance and minimize unnecessary costs. Port Design Partners is the ideal teaming partner that performs at a high level with minimal direction.

Discussing the Numbers


We offer clients experienced management equipped with diverse skills to ensure successful project delivery on time, within budget, and to the highest quality. Using clear communication, a strong understanding of project requirements, responsiveness to changing needs, dependability, and vision to anticipate problems before they appear, our clients know their projects will succeed under our leadership.

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We are highly experienced in railroad design and planning with a thorough understanding of freight railroad operations, as well as FRA, AREMA, and CPUC criteria. We can perform: railroad and intermodal facility planning; track horizontal and vertical alignments; track grading and drainage; special trackwork; project phasing; specifications, construction cost estimates; and construction support.



Skilled in many areas of Civil Engineering, our licensed staff offers high quality services across a variety of transportation projects. While port intermodal rail and terminal facilities are our primary focus, we are also very experienced in roadway and airport projects. We can perform: site grading; drainage; water; sewer; striping; fencing; and project phasing.

Engineering Plans


With our extensive port experience, Port Design Partners offers a variety of minor project support services to ensure your project is a success. We can perform: design reviews; constructability reviews; construction cost estimating; quantity takeoffs; construction scheduling; specification development; CAD support; and 3D modeling.


President & CEO


Nathan is a skilled communicator with diverse project experience in container yards, intermodal rail facilities, railroad, airports, and roadways for Ports and other large public agencies. Nathan founded Port Design Partners after 20 years of engineering and construction experience across multiple transportation industries. He is a highly motivated and experienced leader with a stellar track record of going above and beyond client expectations to deliver large, complex projects on schedule and within budget. He has a keen understanding of operations and stakeholders' needs to develop cost effective and innovative solutions that enhance the user experience.

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Senior Engineer


Kathryn has over 25 years of Civil Engineering experience on large multidiscipline public works projects across California, specializing in railroad and drainage planning and design for mainline, intermodal, and yard facilities. She also specializes in providing coordination of highway rail crossing improvements, including preparing rail crossing applications for California Public Utilities Commission approval, and construction and maintenance agreements between stakeholders, including Class I and shortline railroads.

Project Manager

Daniel Samaro, PE, MBA

Daniel is a dedicated leader with nearly 20 years of experience in delivering goods movement projects ranging from container terminal expansions, automated intermodal rail yard developments, railroad bridge extensions, highway widenings, and freeway interchange reconfigurations for large public agencies. Daniel has a deep understanding of port client needs, requirements, and processes, in addition to the engineering expertise required to successfully prepare engineering construction documents.


Senior Engineer

Francisco Zinkewich, PE

Francisco is a civil engineer with nearly 15 years of experience. He has been involved in the design and construction of various transportation projects ranging port terminal redevelopment and freeway rehabilitation to local road and intersection improvements. He has developed plans, specifications and cost estimates of roadway geometrics, grading and drainage, pavement design, traffic handling, stage construction and utility relocations. Francisco is a hard-working team player who is not afraid of taking on new challenges. Throughout his career he has developed the technical skills needed to identify and solve design constraints while at the same time having the ability to communicate project challenges with the client and stakeholders. 


We are always on the lookout for top-notch engineers and project managers. If you are a self-starter looking for a flexible work schedule (full or part-time) to achieve a healthy work/life balance, want the autonomy to work where you are most productive, with the trust to make sound business decisions, we may be a good fit for you!

Port Design Partners offers extensive employee benefits aimed at making our company culture form to how today's engineers want to work. Please contact us to learn more about our open positions and to determine if Port Design Partners should be your next career move.


If you have any questions, please email us at, or give us a call at 949.241.6759

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