New Orleans, La. – Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary P. LaGrange received the 2012 C. Alvin Bertel Award today at an industry luncheon. The award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement of the Greater New Orleans port area, with the recipient chosen by 11 organizations that make up the selection committee.
LaGrange has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Port of New Orleans since 2001. Under his direction the Port made great expansions in spite of great adversity. During his tenure, the Port opened new, state-of-the art container, cruise and refrigerated terminals. LaGrange’s leadership brought the Port of New Orleans back into operation two weeks after Hurricane Katrina, the most extensive natural disaster in U.S. history.
“This award is very humbling,” LaGrange said. “Thirty-six years ago, when I took my first port director position with the Port of West St. Mary, it didn’t take me long to realize the amazing potential this great State and its maritime industry possess. I’ve learned a lot from a lot of good people through the years. And now, when I talk to people in the industry from around the world – I don’t just press our Port’s unmatched connectivity I speak about how proud I am of our port community.”
LaGrange serves on the boards and executive committees of the Waterways Council, Inc. and National Waterways Council. He also serves on the boards of the Gulf Ports Association of the Americas and is past chairman and past president of the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association. He is an executive committee member of the Transportation Research Board. He has served as Chairman of the American Association of Port Authorities. He is a member of the Committee of 100 Louisiana and the Board of Directors of the World Trade Center of New Orleans. He was named the Maritime Person of the Year by the Propeller Club of New Orleans in 2003 and Maritime Person of the Year by the Propeller Club of the Port of Gulfport in 2001. He was named the “Man of Steel” by the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS), and received the Leadership Award and named to the Hall of Fame by the International Maritime Association at the United Nations in New York. He was also named to the National Rivers Hall of Fame in Dubuque, Iowa.
LaGrange serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Advisory Council on Trade and Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s Port subcommittee.
Before taking leadership at the Port of New Orleans, LaGrange served as the Executive Director of the Mississippi State Port Authority in Gulfport, Miss., the Port of South Louisiana and the Port of West St. Mary.
LaGrange attended Louisiana State University. He received his B.A. in Geography/Economics from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and completed a Master of Arts in Urban Planning, with honors from USL, in addition to having earned the Professional Port Manager Certification (PPM) from the American Association of Port Authorities.
About the C. Alvin Bertel Award
The Bertel Award was established in 1967 and is presented on behalf of 11 international trade, transportation, and economic development organizations in the New Orleans area. It is named after C. Alvin Bertel, who in the early-1940s helped bring about a state constitutional amendment providing for the non-political selection of commissioners for the Port of New Orleans. As a result, the Board instituted administrative reforms that have endured to this day. The C. Alvin Bertel Award is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to the greater New Orleans port area.