St. Bernard Port Installs New Member To Board Of Commissioners

Rachel L. Nunez, center, was recently sworn in as the treasurer of the St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District’s Board of Commissioners. With Nunez are Louisiana State Sen. Sharon Hewitt, left, and Louisiana State Rep. Ray Garofalo. Photos provided by St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District.

Playing a part in her hometown prospering is something that’s important to Rachel L. Nunez. Her new role as a member of the St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District’s Board of Commissioners will help her fulfill that desire.  

“I’m excited to have been given this opportunity to serve,” Nunez said. “My professional experience and training have taught me the importance of having my own voice, but my goal is pretty straightforward. I want to do what’s right for the people of the parish and for the Port.”

Endorsed by Louisiana State Rep. Ray Garofalo and Sen. Sharon Hewitt, and appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards, Nunez will utilize her extensive background in the financial sector to serve as Board treasurer.

“Not only does Ms. Nunez have impressive credentials to serve as a Commissioner, but her enthusiasm also will greatly benefit the Port,” Rep. Garofalo said.

Sen. Hewitt agrees.

“Rachel Nunez will bring significant financial skills,” she said. “I was happy to recommend her to the Governor, and look forward to continuing to work with the Board to grow the local economy.”

Nunez, who currently serves as vice president of the Hancock Whitney Commercial Team, has a wealth of experience in maritime banking and a proven ability to execute business plans and build relationships.

With 18 years of experience in banking, Nunez has garnered a number of achievements and awards, including being named the 2016 American Business Women’s Association’s Woman of the Year and one of the Top 50 Women of the Year by New Orleans City Business.

Drew Heaphy, St. Bernard Port’s executive director, said Nunez will be a huge asset to the Board.

“I think her financial background will bring a new outlook and will be a welcome addition to the Board,” he said.

Each year, Heaphy said, St. Bernard Port handles 8 million short tons of bulk, break-bulk and general cargo transfers to and from thousands of barges and hundreds of cargo ships from around the world.

Along with its tenants and users of its facilities, the Port produces an estimated $325 million in direct and indirect spending annually for the local economy, and creates more than 2,000 full-time jobs, Heaphy said.

“Port administrators handle the day-to-day operations, but the Board is responsible for overseeing the policies, contracts and agreements that affect the overall operations of the Port,” Heaphy said.

Board members like Nunez play a vital role in the success of the Port, which has a huge impact on St. Bernard’s economy, he said. They’re volunteers who do not receive compensation for their time.

“We are fortunate to have such knowledgeable, dedicated individuals on this Board who donate their time so the Port can continue to succeed at being an economic engine for St. Bernard Parish,” Heaphy said.

Nunez also has a passion for nonprofit leadership, serving on various other Boards, including the New Orleans Ballet Association, Metro Centers for Community Advocacy, Chair of Women of NORLI, New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute, and most recently, St. Bernard Chamber and St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation.

Nunez said it’s important to continuously push her boundaries of comfort, both professionally and personally. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” she said.