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Saturday, June 3, 2023

St. Bernard Port Installs New Board President and Commissioners

(Pictured, second from left): Rachel Nunez was recently sworn in as President of the St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District’s Board of Commissioners. With Nunez are (l-r) Walter Cure IV, Board of Commissioners Secretary; Drew Heaphy, St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District Executive Director; and Larry Aisola, Board of Commissioners Treasurer. Not pictured is Jeanne Ferrer, Board of Commissioners Vice President.

Photo Courtesy of St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District

Contributed by St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District

Being at the helm of the St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District’s Board of Commissioners is something newly installed President Rachel Nunez feels passionately about.

“This is an exciting time for the St. Bernard Port as we focus on expanding our operations and growing infrastructure,” said Nunez, t St. Bernard native. “The partnership with the Board and Port Administration is productive, and we’re committed to contributing to the economic growth of St. Bernard Parish. I look forward to leading these efforts in 2022.”

Nunez, who currently serves in the private sector as vice president and senior commercial relationship manager of Home Bank in Metairie, will utilize her extensive background and wealth of experience in maritime banking to execute business plans and build relationships for the Port.

With more than 20 years of experience in banking, Nunez has garnered a number of achievements and awards, including being named the 2016 and 2021 American Business Women’s Association’s Woman of the Year and one of the Top 50 Women of the Year by New Orleans City Business.

Drew Heaphy, St. Bernard Port’s executive director, said Nunez, who also has served as treasurer of the Board, has been a huge asset.

“Ms. Nunez has valuable financial skills that have greatly benefited the Port,” Heaphy said. “Her enthusiasm and professionalism as president will be essential to the Board’s mission of growing the Port and the local economy.”

Nunez also has a passion for nonprofit leadership, serving on various other Boards, including the Metro Centers for Community Advocacy, Chair of Women of NORLI, treasurer of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute, and most recently, the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation where she led the first annual Small Business Matters Summit in 2021.

Nunez said serving her hometown is important to her, both professionally and personally. 

“I’m always excited to be given an opportunity to serve St. Bernard Parish,” Nunez said. “It’s always been my goal to do what’s right for the people of the parish and for the Port.”

Nunez was installed in early January along with fellow Board of Commissioners Jeanne Ferrer, vice president; Larry Aisola, treasurer; and Walter Cure IV, secretary.

Heaphy said Board members play a vital role in the success of the Port, which has a huge impact on St. Bernard’s economy, he said. They’re volunteers who do not receive compensation for their time. 

“Port administrators handle the day-to-day operations, but the Board is responsible for overseeing the policies, contracts and agreements that affect the overall operations of the Port,” Heaphy said.

“We are fortunate to have such knowledgeable, dedicated individuals on this Board who donate their time so the Port can continue to succeed at being an economic engine for St. Bernard Parish,” Heaphy said.

Each year, Heaphy continued, St. Bernard Port handles eight million short tons of bulk, break-bulk and general cargo transfers to and from thousands of barges and hundreds of cargo ships from around the world.

Along with its tenants and users of its facilities, the Port produces an estimated $325 million in direct and indirect spending annually for the local economy, and creates more than 2,000 full-time jobs, Heaphy said.

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