Accardo among five finalists for port’s top post

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 22, 1999

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / December 22, 1999

LAPLACE – A local attorney and former state representative is among the five finalists for the job of executive director of the Port of South Louisiana.

But Joseph Accardo Jr., who presently serves as general counsel anddirector of Governmental Affairs for the port, and four other finalists will have to wait a while longer to find out who will get the job.

After the departure of Gary LaGrange as executive director last summer, the port commission hired consultants to help them select his successor.

And for several months the commission pushed to have the matter completed before the end of 1999.

But earlier this month, in a sudden about face, the commission agreed to leave the final decision to their successors since many commissioners likely won’t have their appointments renewed after the first of the year.

Honora Gravois of St. James Parish has announced he would not return foranother term, and commission president J. Cart Davis of St. James saw hissupport erode in the St. James Parish government after his second DWIconviction and jail sentence.

And in St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes, new parish presidentsand new parish council members will likely suggest new appointees from those areas on the seven-member commission.

Commissioner Brent Tregre, who has been serving as chairman of the selection committee, pointed out the new port commission, when empaneled, could disregard the current list of finalists and start all over in the selection process for a new executive director.

On the current list of finalists, along with Accardo, are: Allen J. Dupont of Destrehan, present vice-president of operations forC.F. Bean Corp. Michael J. Mierzwa of Friendswood, Texas, presently of the Port ofBeaumont.

Roger P. Richard of Baton Rouge, present executive director of the Portof Baton Rouge.

Thomas E. Simmons of Gulfport, Miss., present consultant for the Port ofGulfport (where past director LaGrange is now executive director).

Accardo is native of Hester in St. James Parish. He earned his law degreein 1965 and practiced law until March 1997 as a partner in Accardo, Edrington and Golden.

He was also a state representative for the area from 1972 through 1996, when he chose not to run for re-election and was succeeded by Bobby Faucheux.

Accardo became general counsel and director of Governmental Affairs for the port in 1997 after having served as legal counsel for the port since 1990.

Dupont, a civil engineering graduate of Louisiana State University, joined Bean Dredging in Belle Chasse in 1972, where he worked as project manager until 1985. He moved to T.L. James and Co. in 1986 and itssubsidiary, Gulf Coast Trailing Co.. He eventually became manager of theWater Injection Division of Gulf Coast and, in 1998, vice-president of operations for T.L. James.Mierzwa graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London,Conn., with an honors degree in engineering. During a 25-year militarycareer he rose to the position of Chief of Staff, 14th Coast Guard Division, stationed at Honolulu. He is now at the Port of Beaumont, Texas.Richard started his career in 1963 as an export clerk for H.A. Gogarty Inc.of New Orleans. He worked at various banks (including First NBC, where hewas vice president of International Banking) and customs broker houses.

He has been executive director of the Port of Baton Rouge since March 1998.

Simmons cited 18 years of marketing, sales and consulting related to the maritime and port industries. He has been manager of Operations andBusiness Development for George Thompson & Associates Inc. for the past10 years. He was also owner of a building construction firm which helpedrebuild the Gulf Coast area after 1969’s Hurricane Camille.

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