William M. “Bill” Grace of Newport News has been appointed chairman of the board of directors for Virginia International Terminals Inc., the terminal operating company of the Virginia Port Authority.

“He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the VIT board,” said Joe Dorto, VIT’s general manager and chief executive officer. “He knows the maritime industry well because of his time on the VPA’s board, he is a successful businessman and he is respected on a personal and professional level – he’ll be an asset.”

Grace was appointed to serve on the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners in July of 1997 by then Gov. Jim Gilmore; Grace resigned his post on the VPA board in June 2007. In the summer of 2008 Grace joined the VIT board.

One year after having left the military, Grace settled in Newport News and started Grace Industries in 1973; today that company has more than 300 employees and annual sales in excess of $8 million.

Grace has a long record of civil and community service. He has and continues to serve on numerous professional and community service boards and has been the recipient of many awards for this work. The Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce gave Grace its 2006 Distinguished Citizen award.

Grace is a veteran of the Vietnam and Korean wars who retired from the military in 1972 as a chief master sergeant having earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri.

Grace succeeds Franklin P. “Lin” Earley and will serve one year as the VIT board chairman.