Gov. Bobby Jindal appointed Packer to the Board in January of 2010. He succeeds Joseph F. Toomy, whose term as chairman expired this month. Mr. Toomy will continue to serve as a commissioner. Gregory R. Rusovich will take over as vice chairman and Scott H. Cooper will serve as secretary-treasurer. Packer, who will serve a nine-month term as chairman, is a native of Mobile, Ala. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Charter Oaks College and a master’s degree in business administration from Tulane University and served in the U.S. Navy Nuclear Program from 1969 to 1975.
“I am honored to be elected to serve as chairman by my peers and hope to lead as well as Mr. Joe Toomy has done in guiding the Port through the past year,” Packer said.
Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange expressed great confidence in Packer, citing the businessman’s experience in management and executive leadership positions.
“Mr. Packer brings a wealth of experience to his new position,” LaGrange said. “He is a strong voice for the entire region and the entire Port community. We look forward to working closely with him as we break ground on several critical infrastructure projects and position the Port for growth in the coming years.”
Packer, who retired from Entergy in 2007, is currently President and CEO of Urban Solutions Inc., a multi-faceted firm involved with projects associated with an urban environment. He began his career with Entergy in 1982 as Waterford 3 Nuclear training manager. He later served as Waterford’s plant manager, becoming the first African-American to manage a nuclear plant in the United States. He was named the company’s CEO in 1998 and led the company through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Prior to joining Entergy, Packer was a senior engineer with General Physics Corp. and worked as a training coordinator with Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Co.
In 2005, Packer was honored as one of the “Most Powerful African-American Executives in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise, a leading business and investment publication. In 2001, he was the first African-American to become chairman of the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Packer was honored with the YMCA Black Achievement Award in 1988, Tulane University’s Weiss Award in 2001 and the Boy Scouts of America, Southeast Louisiana Council, Whitney Young Service Award in 2004. He is active in civic, social service and business groups and served as chairman of the New Orleans Aviation Board for the Louis Armstrong International Airport.
He serves as a board member of First Guaranty Bank, and is a former member of the board of trustees for Loyola University New Orleans. Packer has also served on the boards of Keystone Energy, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and the Fore!Kids Foundation. He is the former national chairman of the American Association of Blacks in Energy and was appointed by former Gov. Mike Foster to chair the Superdome Commission.