Lester Millet III receives Coast Guard award for safety efforts

Published 12:06 am Saturday, January 7, 2017

LAPLACE — If Lester Millet III were to try to list all of his accomplishments on a resume, it would take more than four pages.

Heck, it might take a whole book.

Fortunately for Millet and for those who live in the area known as the River Region, he’s not looking to go anywhere.

Lester Millet III, Safety Risk Agency Manager for the Port of South Louisiana, holds the award he recently received from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Lester Millet III, Safety Risk Agency Manager for the Port of South Louisiana, holds the award he recently received from the U.S. Coast Guard.

For the past decade, Millet has served as the Safety Risk Agency Manager for the Port of South Louisiana, the largest tonnage port in the Western Hemisphere.

In a nutshell, his job is to keep the Mississippi River and the areas surrounding it safe.

He does that by creating and writing a myriad of policies for various agencies, from plants to schools to maritime industries.

He has written policies on hurricane preparedness, marine operations, crisis responses, emergency operations, violence free workplaces and even the flu.

He is responsible for the workers identification credentialing all along the river and for many of the security and safety procedures put in place.

He has worked with numerous agencies, including state and local police, Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and he has served on multiple committees to do that.

He serves on so many boards and committees that, sometimes, he has a hard time keeping track.

“It’s a lot,” he says with a heavy sigh. “My Outlook calendar is crazy.”

It’s all worth it, he says, especially when someone takes the time to acknowledge all his efforts.

In November, Millet received what he says may be his highest honor when he was presented with the United States Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award by Captain Wayne R. Arguin, USCG Sector New Orleans Captain of the Port.

Millet said it was a complete surprise and ranks high among his proudest moments.

“It meant a lot to me, coming from the Coast Guard,” Millet said.

Arguin said Millet was most deserving of the award.

“He is the go-to guy within the port community,” Arguin said. “He’s a very well-connected person within that community and he is very helpful for us to be able to maintain those relationships in the port community, which is pretty large.”

Millet was practically born on the Mississippi River toward the end of a long line of St. John the Baptist Parish’s first families.

Dad Lester Millet Jr. and mom Judy own the local Millet Motel and adjacent shopping center. He also has served as St. John Councilman, tax assessor and Sheriff.

Millet III’s one bid at office — he ran for assessor — didn’t work out, though.

After graduating from Southeastern Louisiana University with a degree in business administration, he tried selling cars. Then  he sold insurance and worked at the family hotel. Then, like the river he watches over, he changed course. And like so many in the area, it was because of a hurricane.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans area, many agencies began to rethink their responses to emergencies.

Joel T. Chaisson, then the executive director of the Port of South Louisiana, knew of Millet’s ways with words and tapped him to help write up a new policy.

From 2005 to 2014, Millet served as the policy and planning director of the Port. In 2015 he became the safety risk agency manager.

Among his many accomplishments over those years, Millet helped spur the growth of the Facility Security Officer (FSO) Group from about 20 guys who used to meet in the meeting room at Shoney’s to an organization that includes more than 800 members throughout the region.

“It’s become the model for all FSO workgroups,” Millet said. “It is one of the main reasons I received the award.”

Millet also serves as president of the local chapter of Infraguard, a partnership between the FBI and the private sector that works to help protect American interests. It has 84 chapters and 54,000 members throughout the U.S.

“It’s the only partnership that the FBI acknowledges between it and the private sector,” Millet explained. “We are recognized as one of the top chapters in the country.”

When he’s not writing policy and reports on suspicious activity around the Mississippi River, Millet is husband to wife Vicki and dad to sons, Lester IV and Christopher.