The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has named Gary LaGrange, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Port of New Orleans, as Chairman of the AAPA Board for 2004-2005. The appointment was made today at AAPA's 93rd Annual Convention, held September 26-September 30 in Long Beach, California
"Gary LaGrange is extremely well respected by his colleagues in the port industry," said AAPA President Kurt Nagle. "He was unanimously elected to be Chairman of the Board by port officials throughout the Western Hemisphere. We look forward to his leadership in these challenging times."
Gary LaGrange took leadership of the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans
in 2001. A native of South Louisiana, LaGrange came to New Orleans after serving as Executive Director of the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport.
Since he became port director at New Orleans, new state-of-the art facilities have been brought on line, including the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal which opened this January. This $101 million facility has been heralded as the most technologically advanced container terminal in the world.
Under LaGrange's leadership, the New Orleans cruise industry has experienced dramatic growth. Contracts have been signed with Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line to homeport vessels, a new contract with Royal Caribbean is being negotiated, and construction will begin soon on a new $37 million cruise terminal at the Erato Street Wharf.
During LaGrange's 1991-2001 tenure at the Port of Gulfport, both revenue and tonnage increased, while the value and diversity of cargo improved. New infrastructure included a $150 million public container terminal.
In 1997, Mr. LaGrange became the Executive Director and CEO for the Port of South Louisiana, the largest tonnage port in the Western Hemisphere and third largest in the world. There, he planned, developed and procured financing for the port's first open dock and berth.
In 1976, Mr. LaGrange was selected as the first Executive Director of the fledgling Port of West St. Mary in Franklin, Louisiana. He accepted the challenge of building a port where there was none, and succeeded in constructing a highly profitable, shallow-draft industrial complex that became the catalyst for economic development for the parish (county).
LaGrange received his B.A. in Geography, English and Economics from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (formerly University of Southwestern Louisiana). He completed a Master of Arts in Urban Planning with honors at USL, and taught Economic Geography and Urban Planning at the university through its University College