Port Log Spring 2021

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CONTENTS P O R T S TA F F

executive director

deputy director

c h i e f

Paul Aucoin Roy Quezaire

o p e r at i n g o f f i c e r

airport director

Dale Hymel, Jr.

Cindy Martin

director of a d m i n i s t r at i o n

Lisa Braud

director of business development

director of finance

Julia Fisher-Perrier Grant Faucheux Tamara Kennedy

director of human resources

director of m a r i n e o p e r at i o n s

Brian Cox

special projects officer

Joel T. Chaisson

port of south louisiana 171 Belle Terre Blvd., P.O. Box 909 LaPlace, LA 70069-0909 www.portsl.com Phone: (985) 652-9278 | Fax: (504) 568-6270 globalplex intermodal terminal Phone: (985) 652-9278

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director ’ s log

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overview

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around the port Housing in the River Region continues to be in demand.

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around the port A look at how the regional workforce is poised to thrive.

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airport Meet the Avigators, the official EAA chapter flying out of the Executive Regional Airport.

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what ' s new Nicholls State University and the Port partner to advance coastal restoration. personal profile Congressman Garret Graves shares his hopes for the future of the River Region. women leaders Meet some of the women across the region's industries who are advancing change and inspiring future generations.

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port briefs

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port raits

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port owned facilities

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port map

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final frame

News highlights from the Port and beyond.

SPRING 2021 | PORT OF SOUTH LOUISIANA

port of south louisiana executive regional airport Phone: (985) 652-9278 ext 8512 a s s o c i at e d t e r m i n a l s Phone: (985) 233-8545 The Port of South Louisiana is a member of the Ports Association of Louisiana. To become an associate member of PAL and to help further the maritime industry in Louisiana, please visit PAL’s website at www.portsoflouisiana.org or call the PAL office at (225) 334-9040.

PUBLISHED BY RENAISSANCE PUBLISHING LLC

editor art director

Topher Balfer

Ali Sullivan

production designers Rosa Balaguer, Meghan Rooney

contributors

William Kalec Misty Milioto

To advertise call Meghan Sumrall at (504) 830-7246 or email Meghan@myneworleans.com. 110 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Ste. 123, Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 • www.myneworleans.com Copyright 2021 The Port Log, Port of South Louisiana, and Renaissance Publishing LLC. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Port of South Louisiana, Post Office Box 909, LaPlace, LA 700690909. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the owner or Publisher. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the magazine’s managers, owners or publisher. The Port Log is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork even if accompanied by a self addressed stamped envelope.



DIRECTOR’S LOG

In direct response to increased throughput and the demand for efficient cargo handling, the Port of South Louisiana keeps working on bringing current infrastructure to working standards while improving the linked transportation network, increasing capacity and addressing any bottlenecks, aiming to increase productivity and reliability of cargo transport. Globalplex is a 335-acre maritime industrial park located in the heart of the Port of South Louisiana district, affording easy access to the Canadian National (CN) railroad, local/state/interstate roadways, local and international airports, and the Mississippi River. The facility has three docks, 340,000 square feet of warehouse space, 800,000 square feet of open storage pad space, bulk domes, and an available certified industrial site. Improvements at Globalplex revolve primarily around the terminal’s general cargo dock. Currently, the dock is undergoing reinforcements, which are slated to be complete no later than the first quarter of 2022. Concurrently, the Manitowoc 2250 rail-mounted cranes that once decked and traversed the general cargo dock and adjacent finger pier since the turn of the century (1999-2000) have been removed and the rails are being adjusted and readied for the delivery of two Konecranes Gottwald Model 6 Portal Harbor Cranes, which will take place around September 2021. Last year, roughly at this time, the Port of South Louisiana received a $13.4 million grant approved through the new U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development (PID) program for a Multi-Modal Connections project at Globalplex Intermodal Terminal. This project, which will also receive funding from Louisiana’s Capital Outlay program, includes a new heavy capacity general cargo dock access-bridge, an access road, a rail spur, and a dry storage

d. paul robichaux

judy b. songy

p. joey murray, iii

stanley bazile

chairman

vice chairwoman

treasurer

s e c r e ta r y

whitney hickerson vice president

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area with conveyors to move bulk material. An environmental assessment draft has been submitted to MARAD for review and a subsequent visit by MARAD engineers is forthcoming. Also, a design permit has been submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the construction of the aforementioned access bridge, which will supplement an already-existing bridge leading to/from the general cargo dock. The load capacity of the new bridge is slated to be over 56% that of the existing bridge and, ultimately, having two access bridges will allow free-flow, one-way movement of trucks to/from the dock (loaded ingress and unloaded egress). LaFargeHolcim’s Building 71, a 54K square-foot A-frame warehouse located on the western side of Globalplex, is at the tail-end of roof and skeletal renovations. Other improvements are scheduled for this warehouse, falling under the MARAD grant, all of which will greatly increase the functionality and marketability of the warehouse. Construction of Port of South Louisiana’s Business Development Center at Globalplex is currently underway. When finished, all Port of South Louisiana personnel will be under one roof, apart from security, operations, and maintenance staff. Though it is only 23% complete, we are confident it will be complete by November 2021. Lastly, we recently announced the completion of the 200car SoLaPort Railyard Storage project in St. Charles Parish. Over the last 20 years, the Port of South Louisiana has been making continuous improvements to port infrastructure that have allowed an increase in cargo. We know that multimodal projects will pave the way for business growth and vitality, increasing the efficiency, productivity and reliability of cargo transport, leading to more affordable goods for U.S. and global consumers •

patrick c. sellars vice president

SPRING 2021 | PORT OF SOUTH LOUISIANA

ryan burks

robbie leblanc

louis joseph

vice president

vice president

vice president


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OVERVIEW

T R A N S P O R TAT I O N C E N T E R OF THE AMERICAS 1960 to promote commerce and industrial development along

89.21

EDIBLE OILS / CONCRETE / STONE / SUGAR / MOLASSES / OTHER 2.6 (1%)

89.57

STEEL PRODUCTS 4.7 (2%) COAL / LIGNITE / COKE 4.9 (2%)

86.26

the St. Charles, St. John and St. James tri-parish regions.

250.45

258.66

the 54-mile stretch of the Mississippi River that runs through

303.10

294.91

307.86

The state legislature established the Port of South Louisiana in

MAIZE 43.6 (17%)

76.04

57.40

(IN MILLION SHORT TONS)

73.68

TOTAL TONNAGE: 250,450,883

65.96

2020 PORT OF SOUTH LOUISIANA

54.67

61.64

51.45

73.97

64.08

CHEMICALS / FERTILIZERS 18.4 (7%)

73.84

SOYBEAN 51.6 (20%)

78.87

79.17

ORES / PHOSPHATE ROCK 14.0 (6%)

65.46

2020

60.44

2019

73.96

2018

71.72

2017

NUMBER OF BARGE MOVEMENTS: 56,201

67.59

PETROCHEMICALS 46.5 (19%)

2016

NUMBER OF VESSEL CALLS: 3,642

PORT OF SOUTH LOUISIANA TOTAL T O N N A G E 2 016 – 2 0 2 0 T H R O U G H P U T (IN MILLIONS OF SHORT TONS) ANIMAL FEED 6.8 (3%) WHEAT 3.1 (1%)

SORGHUM (MILO) + RICE 1.1 (<1%)

CRUDE OIL 53.0 (21%)

EXPORTS

DOMESTIC SHIPPED

IMPORTS

DOMESTIC RECEIVED

PHILOSOPHY

FACILITIES

MISSION

The Port’s philosophy of development is to entice companies to set up regional operations within its boundaries. The Port serves primarily as a “landlord” port to more than 30 grain, petroleum and chemical companies. The exception to this is the port-owned world-class intermodal Globalplex facility SoLaPort, and the St. James Westbank property.

Within the Port’s jurisdiction, there are seven grain elevators, multiple midstreaming operations, more than 40 liquid and dry-bulk terminals, the Globalplex Intermodal Terminal and the Port’s Executive Regional Airport.

The Port is charged with a mission to promote maritime commerce, trade and development, and to establish public and private partnerships for the creation of intermodal terminals and industrial facilities.

WORLD’S LARGEST PORT DISTRICT

The ports of South Louisiana, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, St. Bernard and Plaquemines make up the world’s largest continuous port district. They are responsible for moving one-fifth of all U.S. foreign waterborne commerce.

PORT AREA

The Port covers a 54-mile stretch of the lower Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The Port begins at river mile 114.9AHP near the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and winds through St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James parishes. It continues north to river mile 168.5AHP just north of the Sunshine Bridge.

GOVERNANCE

The Port is under the jurisdiction of the state of Louisiana and authorized by the state constitution. A nine-member board of commissioners directs the Port; all of them are unsalaried. •

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AROUND THE PORT

RIVER REGION’S HOT HOUSING MARK E T BY WILLIAM KALEC

Thanks to its abundance of high-paying jobs, quality schools and old-time sense of community, demand for housing in the River Parishes has never been higher.

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he question–Which neighborhoods in the River Parishes are particularly attractive for home buyers right now?–caused

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Blaine Tatje of Keller Williams Realty to pause for a moment. The only suitable answer, he says, is ‘D. All of the Above.’ For a multitude of reasons–

quality of life, thriving job market, safe neighborhoods, and low interest rates being just a few– the housing market surrounding the Port of South Louisiana’s Port


AROUND THE PORT

District has become incredibly desirable, and therefore incredibly competitive, within the past 12 months. “As far as ‘hot’ neighborhoods go, I’m not sure I could name just one because every house in every neighborhood has such high demand right now,” Tatje said. “I’ve sold houses in St. Andrews Estates, which is one of the high-end neighborhoods in St. John Parish, in two weeks, when historically those same houses might stay on the market for six to eight months any other time. It really does not matter where the house is. It’s selling. “It’s something that we’ve never really experienced.” Wendy Benedetto, one of the most trusted realtors in St. Charles Parish, also noted that this housing phenomenon isn’t exclusive to a single area. In the past six months, she said, the 219 homes sold in St. Charles Parish have been split almost evenly between the East Bank

(119) and the West Bank (100) of the Mississippi River. Most of those homes, she said, have had multiple offers made. Beyond the reselling of old homes, new/ on-going developments like the Ashton Plantation subdivision in Luling are also in high demand, as that site recently sold out of all lots and homes made available in Phase 2 of its 7-Phase process. “People and families that come to St. Charles Parish are attracted by what the area has to offer,” Benedetto said. “It’s a place for career-minded individuals or those with a family – a place with good schools, low crime, and plenty of recreation. Plus, you’re a hop, skip and a jump away from New Orleans. So, while the housing market has seen changes, the reasons people buy houses in St. Charles Parish have always been the same.” Considering the Port of South Louisiana is the largest tonnage port in the Western Hemisphere, and the creators of

thousands of job opportunities, it’s not surprising that its local presence factors in the River Parishes housing market. Major expansions to existing operations, along with new industrial developments on the river, have positively affected the resale value of homes in St. Charles, St. James and St. John Parishes. “The more often houses are sold, the more often it will increase the value of every home in the neighborhood,” Tatje said. “Because if we have a neighborhood where we haven’t had sales in some time, or only one or two sales in some time, when you go to sell your house, there’s nothing to compare it to other than old data. So, the more often we have new data and new sales, the more likely we are to increase the home value. When you have new businesses and expanding businesses in the Port, and employees locating and relocating, that helps refresh and reset the market.” •

“ I t ’s a p l a c e f o r c a re e r- m i nd ed i nd i vi dua l s or those wi th a f ami l y – a p l a c e w i t h g o od sc hool s, l ow c ri me, a nd p l enty o f re crea t i o n . P l u s , y o u ’ re a hop , sk i p a nd a j ump a wa y from Ne w O r l e a n s . ”

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AROUND THE PORT

WORK AND BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND IN THE RIVER PARISHES BY WILLIAM KALEC

The River Region is poised to thrive again in the post-pandemic marketplace.

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onsidering many of us have been parched for good news over the past year, Tommy Scott’s assessment of the local job market is quite refreshing. “If someone would like to return to work right now in the River Parishes, there’s a great chance they can take advantage of a lucrative career opportunity,” says Scott, the Executive Director of the River Parishes Business and Career Solutions Center. “Employers are ready to hire right now.” While River Region employers—especially small businesses, restaurants and retail storefronts—have felt some of the same economic effects as other parts of the country, as a whole, the industries within the Port District have faired decently during the pandemic and are primed to exceed preMarch 2020 levels of production and staff ing. According to state unemployment statistics for January 2021, St. Charles Parish’s 6.9 percent unemployment rate was below the state average of 7.6 and

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well below neighboring parishes Jefferson and Orleans. “Business is actually thriving in the River Region. It really is,” Scott says. “Yes, things obviously did slow down, but our proximity to the River is one of our greatest resources in providing workforce opportunities because the needs for supplies and goods and transporting those supplies and goods never goes away—even with everything going on in the past year.” In fact, the impact of the region’s six primary industry sectors—petrochemical and related manufacturing; marine and related transportation; metals manufacturing; food processing; construction, and utilities—accounts for 80 percent of all employment and more than 90 percent of all earnings in the region. And with annual productivity rates of $357 per production man-hour and $774,270 per production worker, the River Region exceeds the average manufacturing worker productivity rates for all metro areas by more than three times

“With the uptick of those receiving vaccines, the easing of COVID restrictions, and the world fully reopening, we’ve had those small businesses come back to work and they’re looking for viable candidates—trained and skilled individuals—to f ill those positions,” Scott says. Local employers have identif ied the local labor force as a considerable strength of the River Region, offering an abundant supply of highskilled, productive and committed workers. Over half the River Region’s population is of workforce age, and average hourly wages in the River Region are competitive to those in Gulfport-Biloxi, Houston, Lake Charles and Mobile. Within the past four to six weeks, Scott says his off ice has handled a huge uptick in phone calls and emails from employers looking to immediately f ill positions—permanent positions that most would consider careers, he emphasizes. In order to meet the needs of employees and employers, the River Parishes Business and Career


AROUND THE PORT

Solutions Center offers a variety of services. For those seeking work, or looking to advance in a chosen profession, Scott and his team hold in-house recruitment events, offer resume and cover letter assistance, and guide applicants through vocational, 2-year and 4-year educational opportunities or employerbased training programs.

For job creators, the Career and Solutions Center assists the search for the right candidate several different ways: referring appropriate and qualif ied candidates, pre-screening job seekers, offering reimbursements for employer-based training programs and incumbent worker training programs, and customizing a company’s

recruitment strategy, including organizing recruitment events. “Our overall goal is to cultivate the skills and bestutilize our local workforce,” Scott says, “and to put employees and employers in the best position possible to take advantage of the expertise and the knowledge our residents in the River Region possess.” •

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AIRPORT NEWS

FOR THE LOVE OF AVIATION Local EAA Chapter 971 “The Avigators” Takes Flight at the Executive Regional Airport

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ot only is the Executive Regional Airport a hub for business and travel in the River Region, but for the past 30 years, it has been home to the Avigators, an organization for people with a passion for all things aviation and aircraft. Founded in 1991, the Avigators is the official Chapter 971 of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), which boasts more than a thousand chapters worldwide, and 12 total in Louisiana. Each chapter brings together local aviation enthusiasts and hobbyists of all interests--such as aircraft restoration, builders, antiques and helicopters--and fosters a spirit of camaraderie to keep the

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community and creativity alive. To that same end, Avigators President Michael Saladino says EAA chapters are equally committed to sharing their passion and expertise with others in their respective hometowns. “The EAA supports a variety of flying activities including aircraft construction, introducing youth to aviation, local flying activities, historic aircraft tours, and providing guidance and insurance for local chapters,” Saladino says. “The Avigators have participated in all of these over the years. We host local Fly-Ins to promote aviation and bring activity to the airport, and we hosted the

EAA Ford Tri Motor historic aircraft on a tour a couple of years ago. We even have several chapter members that have built their own aircraft.” Saladino says his own love of aviation was instilled in him at a young age, as his father was a radio operator in World War II and went on to work for Eastern Airlines. Because of that, Saladino considers Young Eagles Flights one of his favorite aspects of the Avigators. Those events are specially designed to engage local youth in the world of aviation, and in the past have included participation from organizations like Boy Scouts, SJSO Young Marines and Navy New Orleans Youth Recreation Services.


AIRPORT NEWS

Saladino recounts how, over the years, aviation has been a passion, a profession and a hobby: he spent more than 15 years with the USAF Aux Civil Air Patrol (CAP), became certified in Search and Rescue (SAR) management, and eventually assumed the position of Chief of Staff for the Louisiana Wing of CAP. “I have worked in the airline industry, flown as a volunteer SAR pilot, and now do it primarily as a hobby. Really, it is a driving passion in my life,” he says. It was when his involvement with those organizations began to wind down that Saladino found and joined the Avigators, because it not only allowed him to stay connected to aviation, but also allowed family involvement. “I was looking for an alternative

organization that my wife would be willing to participate in,” Saladino says. “The local EAA chapter, The Avigators 971, was quite accommodating of members’ spouses getting involved in all of the activities. It was a great fit.” Now, Saladino has been chapter president for more than 10 years, and while the COVID-19 pandemic has limited opportunities for local events and meetings, he looks forward to getting the Avigators back together as soon as possible. The chapter traditionally holds meetings at the Executive Regional Airport on the third Saturday of each month, and the Avigators welcome any locals who want to learn more about aviation to join them. Because larger airports are mostly used for commercial travel, Saladino

says having a partner like the Port of South Louisiana has been invaluable to the Avigators and other small community organizations. “We have a great relationship with the Port and the airport,” Saladino says. “They have been very supportive of our events and have actually suggested and helped organize some. A local airport such as KAPS provides easy access to the community, a place for community involvement and an incubator for aviation.” •

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W H AT ’ S N E W

THE COMMUNIT Y EFFORT TO PROTEC T THE COA S T The Port helps advance research at the Nicholls Coastal Restoration Program

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an you imagine Louisiana without its coastline--or, by extension, a Louisiana without abundant wetlands and wildlife or thriving maritime industries? Neither can the Port of South Louisiana or Nicholls State University. It’s because of the critical role the coastline plays in our state’s rich history, natural wonder and economy that the Port has partnered with Nicholls State for the fifth consecutive year to advance the university’s coastal restoration research and protective efforts. Nicholls State has been implementing intensive long-term strategies to combat the effects of coastal land loss through its Coastal Restoration Program since 2005. The program’s efforts have included monitoring the effects of coastal erosion, regularly deploying groups of students and professionals to coastal sites, building sand fences and planting grasses and mangroves that will hold loose soil together to create surge buffers. Dr. Allyse Ferrara, distinguished service professor and Jerry Ledet Endowed

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Professor of Environmental Biology, has helped to direct the Coastal Restoration Program for several years. She says the program has not only engaged students who live in coastal Louisiana, but that it has also helped students from out of state to understand the vital need for preserving and restoring the coast. “If someone has not experienced coastal Louisiana, it is difficult for them to appreciate the beauty, value and uniqueness of the region,” Dr. Ferrara says. “We want our students to appreciate and value our coastal habitats, to be willing to learn more about coastal Louisiana and to have a desire to preserve and restore the region. Active and informed students benefit from these experiences and have the capacity to help engage and inform others. We know our region is valuable, and we need as many active and informed coastal Louisiana ambassadors as possible to help spread the word and spark interest in others.” Dr. Ferrara says the plants used in their restoration efforts are cultivated at Nich-

olls Farm, a 277-acre lot that includes labs, classrooms, greenhouses and a 7.5acre pond for wetland plant production. She says as soon as Nicholls State started receiving financial support from the Port of South Louisiana in 2017, a physical change at the Nicholls Farm became quickly apparent. “We were able to hire student workers and purchase supplies for farm upkeep and to expand our plant production capacity,” Dr. Ferrara says. “Our ability to partner with other organizations for a wide range of projects greatly increased. Since we have been able to maintain the farm, we have been able to use it for more projects including undergraduate and graduate student research, course activities and outreach events. Overall, our activity and ability to participate in a variety of conservation and restoration events has greatly increased.” Because of the immense amount of time, resources, and labor required to make a substantive impact on coastal restoration and preservation, Dr. Ferrara says contributions like the Port’s enable students and researchers to make a greater difference in the region. “Support from the Port and similar entities allows us to respond to whatever is needed at the time,” Dr. Ferrara says. “This has allowed us to participate in a wide variety of projects and to quickly assist with projects where we are needed. We also have the ability to fund student research projects that may not be large enough to be eligible for competitive research grants. We very much appreciate the flexibility granted by this type of support because it allows us to be a more active community partner.” Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin says the Port is just as grateful to Nicholls State for advancing research that will ensure the integrity and vitality of the Port’s maritime infrastructure. “The Port of South Louisiana is located on 54 miles of the Mississippi River between St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James Parishes,” says Aucoin. “Our industries along this stretch depend entirely on the river, and so we know how important coastal restoration is, and we believe that assisting Nicholls State University with their efforts is critical for not only this region, but the country.” •



PROFILE

REPRESENTING THE RIVER BY WILLIAM KALEC

Despite being in office for less than a decade, U.S. Congressman Garret Graves – legislator for Louisiana’s Sixth District – hasn’t wasted any time pushing several long-standing projects over the finish line that benefit the area’s personal and economic interests.

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fter defeating Democratic candidate Edwin Edwards in a runoff election in Dec. 2014 and assuming off ice a month later, U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-L A) hit the ground running. Within Graves’ initial two-year term representing Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District, he wrote, negotiated and enacted legislation addressing several local infrastructure issues, including the expansion and reconf iguration of sections of I-10, I-12, and L A-30, changed a dysfunctional existing federal law to protect the interests of thousands of f lood victims in 2016, and secured funding for multiple f lood protection projects that had been on the books for decades. “In the few years I’ve been doing this, we’ve been able to get things done that have been stuck for decades,” Graves said. “You know, we’ve been able to make good on a Hurricane Protection Program that’s been stuck and gone nowhere since before I was born. You just have to be relentless in working and cutting through all the red tape and overcoming all the obstacles to ultimately help the people and

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businesses of South Louisiana. I mean, they’re turning dirt right now on something that needs to happen—a project that was stuck in the mud— and that’s a great feeling. It’s awesome to see that.” Louisiana’s Sixth District– which hugs St. Landry Parish to the west, St. Charles Parish to the east, and stretches northsouth from the Mississippi border to lower portions of Terrebonne Parish—arguably might be the state’s most diverse and eclectic region. It’s an area f illed with different dialects, traditions and industries. However, as Graves explains, the needs and concerns aren’t necessarily vastly different from zip code to zip code—even if the means of how to best address those needs and concerns might vary. “Are the top priorities the same in Baton Rouge that they are in Thibodaux? You’d actually be surprised to learn there are a lot of similarities,” Graves said. “In Lafourche and Terrebonne, f looding and f lood protection is incredibly important, and that might center upon hurricane protection and coastal restoration. And in Denham Springs and

Gonzalez, f lood protection is also incredibly important, but achieving protection involves pump stations and methods to evacuate the water faster. “But from one edge of the district to the other edge of the district, having the infrastructure to protect people and businesses from weather is a chief concern,” Graves continued. “So knowing the issues of our people, knowing the district like I do has helped us get things done—because we already know what’s important here, so let’s go do them.” Considering the amount of Sixth District constituents who directly and indirectly depend on the Mississippi River for their livelihood, Graves has been involved in several measures to strengthen local maritime commerce interests, which in turn benef its industries all across the country. Graves played a major role in making sure deepening the lower Mississippi River to 50 feet—a depth suitable for New Panamax and Post Panamax vessels to reach as far north as Baton Rouge—would be included in the 2020 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Work Plan.


PROFILE

“I call the Mississippi River ‘America’s Commerce Superhighway,’” Graves said. “And in the future, its vital economic role is only going to continue to grow. That’s why our success in working with President Trump to get the

deepening project funded was important. (Rep.) Steve Scalise (R-L A) and I met repeatedly with Trump off icials and other government off icials to get this project fully funded. “You know, Louisiana has 5 of the Top 15 ports in the

United States, but that all goes away if the river isn’t deepened to keep up with maritime trends and needs.” Beyond championing the River Region’s business interests, Rep. Graves has also spearheaded bills to protect those who call it home. During the 115th Congress, Graves chaired the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, where he secured funding for several f lood protection and coastal restoration initiatives in South Louisiana. Most recently, Graves secured provisions for environmental infrastructure projects in several parishes along with dredging waterways like the Houma Navigation Canal, Bayou Lafourche and the Mississippi River. “The connectivity of the River to all of South Louisiana is pretty profound,” Graves said. “Its resources transcend the environment. Its resources transcend our economy. It really is the lifeblood of our region.” •

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WOMEN LEADERS OF THE RIVER REGION

WOMEN LEADERS OF THE RIVER REGION

PROFILES BY MISTY MILIOTO

The River Region is abundant with leaders, thinkers and innovators who are both driving industry forward and nurturing new generations of our skilled workforce. In this issue of Port Log, we’re highlighting some of the women who inspire us to think bigger, work harder and lead fearlessly. From government and economic development to education and industry, these women are a testament to the breadth of progress and opportunity happening right here, right now.

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WOMEN LEADERS OF THE RIVER REGION

COMMUNITY CALLIN G Jaclyn Hotard takes leadership seriously in her role as St. John the Baptist Parish President.

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t. John the Baptist native and Parish President Jaclyn Hotard was introduced to politics— specifically, campaigning—at a young age through her parents, who were involved in local politics. “I enjoyed the camaraderie and fun of campaigning long before I really knew what political office was like,” she says. “Later, I learned more about public service watching my grandparents so graciously serve the community in different ways. They instilled in me the importance of not just being on the receiving end but to always be giving something back.” Serving as a council member for 16 years prior to being elected Parish President uniquely prepared Hotard for her current position as Parish President. In addition to understanding the balance of our two branches of government and why they are so vital to our

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governmental systems, Hotard also is keenly aware of the concerns and challenges faced daily by council members. "I truly desire to help them better serve their constituents,” Hotard says. Hotard was elected in October 2019 and sworn in on January 13, 2020 (the same day the LSU Tigers won the National Championship). In her first 14 months in office, Hotard was faced with a global pandemic, seven named storms all headed our way, and a freeze event that caused water and electrical outages. By beginning each morning with a clear set of priorities, her staff can quickly respond to all of the unplanned emergencies that happen along the way. “Having the role as Parish President in a community in which I was born and raised almost feels surreal,” she says. “It is the most

humbling experience, and I never take for granted this extraordinary opportunity the residents have given me. My commitment to this community and the people who live here prompted my desire to run for Parish President.” Hotard strives to exemplify leadership by motivating her team toward a common purpose. “Our purpose is to serve the community, so I try to find ways to get everyone excited about that purpose,” she says. “Leadership is also about elevating and empowering those around you and lifting others along the way. I fully respect that concept.” In her free time, Hotard enjoys being with her family. And to the question of whether or not she plans to run for Parish President again, Hotard says that right now, she is solely focused on the job at hand. •


WOMEN LEADERS OF THE RIVER REGION

QUALITI ES OF LEADERSHIP Chassity McComack oversees the daily operations of the River Region Chamber of Commerce.

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xecutive Director of the River Region Chamber of Commerce Chassity McComack is a St. James Parish native with a family history of farming, industry and entrepreneurism. “In my current role with the Chamber, I get to ref lect on leadership a lot,” McComack says. “Leadership is one of those terms that can carry a lot of different notations. Resiliency, resourcefulness and confidence are three qualities that come to mind. You don’t necessarily need to be an owner or CEO of a business to be considered a leader. You have to be able to drive for the greater good, bend when needed and be able to guide toward resources. One more important piece would be having a servant’s heart. No matter what role you represent, we

are here to serve one another.” McComack started with the Chamber at the time of its inception in March 2004, beginning as a part-time administrative assistant and before a promotion to Executive Director in February 2005. Her role is to oversee the day-to-day functions of the office and to ensure execution of the program of work set forth by the Board each year. “I also have had the opportunity to serve on the LACCE (State Chamber) Board these last couple of years,” she says. A key priority for the Chamber is workforce development. “The public-school systems and businesses across the board are looking to us to help define what our region’s workforce needs are today, amidst the pandemic,” McComack says. “The Chamber

serves as a catalyst and a hub, and it needs to ensure all entities are at the table and connected to dialogue on these needs. The next big thing is small business support, which is key and vital to our purpose.” McComack admits that prior to being hired by the Chamber, she did not pay attention to upcoming legislative sessions or what taxes were being proposed in the community. “It certainly has validated how the average person does not realize the significance of what using their voice can do or how important supporting local business is to the well-being of the River Parishes,” she says. “I am profoundly grateful to serve in this role as it has allowed a greater appreciation for small business and its true impact on our economy and community.” •

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WOMEN LEADERS OF THE RIVER REGION

LEADI N G LADY Aspen Murphy leads the River Region Chamber of Commerce through leadership and team-building.

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riginally from St. James Parish, Aspen Murphy was selected as the Chairwoman of the River Region Chamber of Commerce in January 2020, and she was honored when she was asked to serve for a second year in 2021. What she loves the most about the area is the friendliness of the people. “When you introduce yourself to someone in the River Parishes, people want to know your last name, where you went to high school, who your family is,” she says. “We are all like one big family." Currently, the RRCC is focusing on pandemic relief programs for its member companies. The Chamber also serves as an advocate for businesses of all sizes, with a focus on small businesses. “There is a myriad of benefits and opportunities we can help connect businesses to, especially in the area of business-training and

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relationship-building,” Murphy says. Murphy encourages new business owners in the area to schedule an appointment with the respective parish’s Economic Development Director. “Becoming a member of the Chamber will help you with additional resources,” she says. “The Chamber can also help connect with you the Small Business Development Council to help get your business plan started, as well as financial planning and marketing tools.” As another initiative, Murphy started the Women’s Empowerment Conversations last year. What was supposed to be a one-day conference turned into a four-part virtual series over a few months due to COVID-19. “It has been incredibly uplifting to see our women leaders and allies come together to support each other,” she says. Murphy also is heavily involved in her community through

volunteerism with different organizations over the years, such as St. John United Way, New Wine Christian Fellowship, Aviation Awareness Day and more. Currently, she also serves on the board of the Krewe of Harmonia Mardi Gras organization. As one of Port Log’s “Women Leaders in the River Region,” Murphy exemplifies leadership by providing inspiration and vision for her team and giving them the tools they need to succeed. “You should inspire your team to reach both their personal and teamdriven goals, while providing the support they need as the unique individuals that they are,” she says. When Murphy isn’t working or volunteering, she attends law school and spends time with her husband and children. “I’d like to thank my husband, kids, mom, dad and sister for their constant support,” she says. •


WOMEN LEADERS OF THE RIVER REGION

I N SPI RI N G G EN ERATIONS Penelope Shumaker strives to enrich the lives of students everywhere

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riginally from the Raceland area, River Parishes Community College Campus Director Penelope Shumaker has been a LaPlace resident for 25 years. After working as a business owner and corporate trainer, Shumaker decided she needed a change of pace, and it was when she taught a business course at a local community college that she discovered a previously untapped passion for guiding and shaping young minds. “I enjoyed the students and the challenge of supporting them to attain their own success,” Shumaker says. “I found it very satisfying to impart actual life experiences in the classroom, along with the book learning.” As RPCC director, Shumaker continues to be inspired by the dedication and perseverance of her students, especially those who overcome adversity to enrich the

quality of their lives. She recalls one graduate with a learning disability who started at RPCC’s GED program and went on to earn an associate degree in business. “I was inspired by the tenacity and strong will to succeed in this student,” Shumaker says. “It was a daunting task to undertake. She made the decision to change the course of her life for the better and then did it. I use this example to encourage more students to reach for a better life.” Shumaker is currently involved in the development and opening of a new St. Charles Parish campus, where she hopes to extend opportunities to even more students. “The community has needed a campus for some time, and I am proud to be a part of that initiative, as well as bringing Louisiana transfer degrees and training for industry and healthcare,” she says. “The

shorter-term workforce training we offer will put residents to work quickly. Most of these are tuition free. The St. Charles Campus will make a positive difference in the community for generations to come.” Shumaker doesn’t do it alone, though, and is a strong believer of the “it takes a village” mindset. She takes special care to show appreciation to every RPCC staff member for their contributions to the learning environment. “All play a role in the success of our students,” she says. “From the janitor to the Chancellor, student success is a combined effort of all.” Outside of work, Shumaker enjoys spending time with her husband, Donald, and their three rescue cats. She is an avid gardener and traveler and looks forward to seeing more of the world in the near future. •

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PORT BRIEFS

THE POR T UPGRADES OPERATIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE FACILITIES Two new projects that will significantly improve dock operations and enhance administrative processes at the Port of South Louisiana are underway. Improvements include the acquisition of two new dock cranes, structural upgrades to the Port’s dock and finger piers, and the new construction of a multi-story administration building on the grounds of the Globalplex facility. Ryan Burks, Vice President of the Board of Commissioners, reports that, “the administration building is approximately 25 percent complete and is on schedule to be completed in the winter of 2021. The dock strengthening and crane acquisition project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2021.”

ELEMENTUS CAPITAL INVESTMENT TO CREATE JOBS IN RIVER REGION ElementUS, a joint venture between DADA Holdings and Enervoxa, announced a capital investment of approximately $800 million to extract residual bauxite from the Noranda Aluminum Site in St. James Parish. The carbon-neutral project is estimated to create 800 new jobs in the area, both direct and indirect. “The Port is delighted at the prospect of welcoming a new stakeholder into the port district,” said Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin. “This new venture will be using byproducts from Noranda to extract rare earth minerals and other commodity metals, such as iron, titanium and additional alumina. The Port is also excited about the potential 200 new jobs for the residents of the River Parishes and the increased job security for the over 400 Noranda Alumina employees.”

SAFETY RISK AGENCY MANAGER RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS AWARD Lester Millet, III, Port of South Louisiana Safety Risk Agency Manager and President of InfraGard Louisiana, was awarded the 2020 GTSC Homeland Security Today Citizen of Mission Award. The honor is bestowed annually to an individual whose time, effort and resources support the mission of homeland security. Millet, a member of InfraGard since 2008, is the creator and developer of an All Hazard School Safety ToolKit that has been nationally recognized as one of the most comprehensive and effective safety models.

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P O R Tr a i t s

WOME N PORT OF THE

Lisa Adams

Catherine Becnel

Tanya Becnel

Janeen Benn

Patti Crockett

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Lenora Davis

Rhonda Berthelot

Lisa Braud

Celeste Deslatte

Julia Fisher-Perrier

Louise Grimes

Aaroko Hamilton

Alex Hernandez

Tamara Kennedy

Kim Landry

Vickie Lewis-Clark

Cindy Martin

Monica Pierre

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P O R Tr a i t s

Amy Reid

Lana Simon

Judy Songy

Rachel Swords

Danielle Taylor

Cleo Wainwright

Lori Warner

Nyler Williams

TOP LEFT: Port Officials met with visitors from China at the Guest House in Reserve. Pictured L-R Julia Fisher-Perrier, Director of Business Development PSL; Dr. Luke Lee; Commissioner Paul Robichaux, Chairman of PSL, Chairman John Lee, Paul Aucoin, Executive Director of PSL TOP RIGHT: Linda Prudhomme was honored by the Commissioner and Paul Aucoin, Executive Director of PSL at the February Port Commission meeting on her retirement as Director of Business Development. BOTTOM LEFT: Pictured at the Annual Chamber Member Brunch are Paul Aucoin, Executive Director; Julia Fisher-Perrier, Director of Business Development, Dale Hymel, COO; Roy Quezaire, Deputy Director BOTTOM RIGHT: Saints Hall of Famer, Rickey Jackson visited the Port of South Louisiana. Pictured are: Vickie Lewis-Clark, Rickey Jackson, Patti Crockett, Julia Fisher-Perrier and Paul Aucoin.

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P O R T O W N E D FA C I L I T I E S

GLO BALPLEX INT ERMO DAL T ERMINA L 155 West 10th Street, Reserve, La. 70084 P.O. Box 909, LaPlace, La. 70069 phone : 985-652-9278 fax : 985-653-0798 e - mail : info@portsl.com web : www.portsl.com contact ( s ): Paul Aucoin, Executive Director; Roy Quezaire, Deputy Director location : River mile 138.5 equipment : Two Manitowoc 2250 rail-mounted gantry cranes; 100,000-pound capacity weighing scale for trucks; 100,000 square foot warehouse; 72,000-sq. foot, and 40,000-sq. foot transit shed; and a 177,000 sq. foot paved open storage pad dock : 204 ft. x 660 ft. with upstream and downstream mooring dolphins. allow for dockage of panamax size vessels; 700 ft x 65 ft finger pier general cargo operators associated terminals ph : 985-536-4520 address :

mailing address :

GLO BALPLEX BULK DO CK P.O. Box 909, LaPlace, La. 70069 985-652-9278 fax : 985-653-0798 e - mail : info@portsl.com web : www.portsl.com contact ( s ): Paul Aucoin, Executive Director; Roy Quezaire, Deputy Director location : River mile 138.5 function : Transfer and store bulk, primarily cement fluorspar limestone and wood chips equipment : An 800 tons-per-hour continuous Carlsen ship unloader, a 1,800 tons-per-hour ship-loading system, 100,000 tons of cement storage in two storage domes, 70,000 tons of storage for flourspar in an A-frame building and approximately nine acres of paved open storage for wood chips and other products. dock : 507’ x 44’ with upstream and downstream mooring buoys to allow for panamax-size vessels mailing address : phone :

ADM RES ERVE 2032 La. Highway 44, Reserve, La. 70084 985-536-1151 fax : 985-536-1152 web : ADMWorld.com contact ( s ): Mike Landry, generale manager of commercial operations location : River mile 139.2 function : Grain export elevator. other : Fully automated address : phone :

PO RT O F S O UT H LO UIS IANA EXECUT IVE REGIO NAL AIRPO RT mailing address : physical

P.O. Box 909, La Place, La. 70069-0909

A ddress : 355 Airport Road, Reserve, La. 70084

985-652-9278 portsl.com/airport-services email : psl-era@portsl.com contact : Lisa Braud, Airport Director location : N30° 05.25’, W30°34.97 phone : web :

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P O R T O W N E D FA C I L I T I E S

PLAINS MARKET ING L .P. 6410 Plains Terminal Road, St. James, La. 70086 Craig Ellinwood phone : 225-265-2353 fax : 225-265-3171 web : PAALP.com location : Mile marker 158.6 function : Storage of petroleum products. address :

terminal manager :

S O LAPO RT West Bank industrial site acquired for development into an industrial park located adjacent to Dow in St. Charles Parish. Paul Aucoin (985) 652-9278

contact : phone :

MPLX L.P. (PIN O AK T ERMINAL S) 4006 Highway 44, Mt. Airy, La. 70076 Gregg Qualls phone : 504-533-8783 web : PinOakTerminals.com location : Mile marker 144.1 function : Storage of petroleum products. address :

contact :

PS L WES T BANK S T. J A M E S Paul Aucoin (985) 652-9278

contact : phone :

Property acquired for development.

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INDUSTRY MAP

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FINAL FRAME

A vessel operated by agribusiness Bunge Limited uses the ADM grain elevator in Destrehan.

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