Robert J. Scafidel, Ed.D., executive director of the St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District, announced at the April 11, 2017 board meeting he will not seek an extension to his current contract, and will retire at its completion on June 30, 2017.
“All that I have been allowed to put into practice, with the approval of our past and present Board of Commissioners, support of our legislative delegations and our employees, helped the St. Bernard Port grow and prosper into what it is today,” Scafidel said. “I started my journey at the Port in June of 1998 with the goals of renovating the docks, developing the riverfront property, and improving economic conditions in St. Bernard Parish by creating jobs.”
When Scafidel took charge in 1998, St. Bernard Port had 32 tenants and two terminals, which collectively employed 400 people. Currently, the Port and its 48 tenants housed throughout three terminals provide jobs for more than 800 employees.
St. Bernard Port is responsible for 18% of the jobs in St. Bernard Parish. The Port’s ability to create direct and indirect jobs, along with the business it generates for the parish, provides 2,000 jobs and brings $325 million into the local economy. When Scafidel took over, the Port was moving approximately 738,722 short tons of cargo annually. Today, the maritime activity at the Port moves approximately 8 million short tons of cargo each year.
It is a declaration to Scafidel’s leadership that the Port has achieved so much during his 19-year tenure, despite experiencing Hurricane Katrina, the most extensive natural disaster in St. Bernard Parish’s history.
“The St. Bernard Port has increased in both infrastructure and revenue,” Scafidel said. “It has come a long way from $75 in revenue in 1981 when it was reestablished, to the $136 million in facilities it has today.”
Concurrent with his tenure as executive director of the St. Bernard Port, Scafidel has been an active member of many maritime and civic committees and organizations. He has served as an active board member for the Ports Association of Louisiana, American Association of Port Authorities, Louisiana Board of International Commerce, Nunez Community College Foundation and The United Way. Scafidel also presented the opening remarks at an American Association of Port Authorities National Convention.
“I have always had a steadfast desire to leave a strong economic legacy for the residents of St. Bernard Parish,” Scafidel said. “From my days at Meraux Elementary, through my years at Chalmette High and beyond, I have taken much pride in representing St. Bernard Parish.”
The Board of Commissioners of the St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District has named Drew Heaphy, the Port’s current Director of Administration, to succeed Scafidel.