Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Joel T. Chaisson, received the 2013 C. Alvin Bertel award, presented each year to one who has made a significant contribution to the port industry in the Greater New Orleans area. As the 45th recipient of this prestigious award, Chaisson was chosen by 11 nominating organizations. Chaisson has served as the Port of South Louisiana’s executive director since April 2005 and before that as its legal counsel.
During his tenure, the Port of South Louisiana welcomed industrial additions/expansions such as Nucor Steel, South Louisiana Methanol, Plains All American, Mosaic, Yara North America, Zen-Noh Grain, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Valero, and once New Orleans-based Baumer Foods and Natco Food Service, both of which found residence within the Port’s jurisdiction shortly after Hurricane Katrina. Furthermore, the Port made significant upgrades and additions to its public terminal, Globalplex Intermodal Terminal, such as the construction of two transit sheds and the addition of a finger pier to the existing general cargo dock. In turn, the Port has increased its tonnage throughput -a 15% increase since 2005, solidifying its ranking as the largest tonnage port in the Western hemisphere.
Chaisson was instrumental in establishing the Lower Mississippi River Port Wide Strategic Security Council (LMRPWSSC) comprised of the five Lower Mississippi deep-water ports as a way to present a unified front in seeking recognition, funding, and uniform security procedures throughout the area. Since its inception in 2006, the LMRPWSSC has been awarded over $134 million in federal port security grants.
Chaisson, who will step down as executive director in mid-July, will be replaced by Mr. Paul Aucoin, who is currently serving as the Port’s legal counsel. The Port of South Louisiana’s Board of Commissioners unanimously selected Aucoin during its May meeting. He has signed a three-year contract effective July 15, 2013.
Aucoin, a resident of Vacherie, Louisiana, has his own private law practice and is also Chairman of the St. James Economic Development Board. He is an associate of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System and the Louisiana Housing and Community Development Corporation. He is a member of the American, Louisiana, 23rd Judicial District, and 29th Judicial District Bar Associations.