BATON ROUGE, LA – The Ports Association of Louisiana (PAL) Board of Directors elected its new officers who will take office for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2020. The new officers form the Executive Committee for the board, which is tasked with representing the organization, along with its Executive Director. The Committee serves to keep PAL’s membership abreast of any legislation, educational opportunities, or potential partnerships pertaining to the advancement of the maritime industry. The PAL Board is comprised of 29 corporate members, each representing a different port from across the state. PAL also has nearly 100 associate members representing ancillary businesses and stakeholders from across the nation.

The new officers are:

Lynn Hohensee, President; Port Director, West Calcasieu Port

Paul Aucoin, Vice President; Executive Director, Port of South Louisiana

Jay Hardman, Treasurer; Executive Director, Port of Greater Baton Rouge

David Rabalais, Secretary; Executive Director, Terrebonne Port

“Our entire organization could not be more grateful for the leadership team that has stepped forward to lead PAL over the next two years,” Executive Director Jennifer Marusak said. “Their expertise, efforts and time will prove invaluable to not only our Corporate members, but our Associate members, as well.

“It is a great personal honor to have been elected to serve as PAL’s president for the next two years,” Hohensee said.  “The incoming slate of officers represents deep water ports, coastal ports and inland waterway ports, and represents the diversity of maritime public ports across this great state.”

Lynn E. Hohensee takes over the role of PAL President from outgoing President Executive Director of St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District Drew Heaphy. Hohensee owns and operates LEH Communications, LLC, under which he is under contract with the West Calcasieu Port where he has served as port director since June 2006. 

The West Cal Port is a 203-acre inland waterway port on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Southwest Louisiana, and its port tenants specialize in maritime transportation support, including shallow-water barge fleeting, barge cleaning/stripping/repair services, maritime construction, marine fueling and construction materials sales/service.

Prior to opening his business in August 2005, Hohensee served as executive director of The Chamber Foundation/Southwest Louisiana in Lake Charles, La.  He joined The Chamber/SWLA in June 2003 as the Director of Economic Development & Investor Relations for the Chamber/SWLA.

In February 2003, Hohensee formally retired from ConocoPhillips (formerly Conoco) after 22 years of service. In his final position with ConocoPhillips, he served as the regional director-public relations for the company’s Gulf Coast Business Unit headquartered in Lake Charles, from March 1999 to September 2002.  Prior to joining Conoco, he held corporate communications/community relations positions for Shell Oil Company in Louisiana and Texas for eight years.

Hohensee is a 1971 graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism/geography (double major). Paralleling his civilian corporate communications career, Hohensee pursued a 28-year public affairs career in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve. He is a graduate of the Department of Defense Information School and the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College.  He retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1998.

Paul G. Aucoin was born and reared on the Westbank of St. John the Baptist Parish in Wallace, Louisiana. He attended Loyola University for undergraduate school and received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Loyola University Law School in May of 1970. Aucoin has practiced law since graduating from law school, acquiring his own private practice in May 1971. He maintains his private law firm to this day. Aucoin is the proud father of two girls, Shelley and Leah.

In July 2013, Aucoin was selected to serve as executive director of the Port of South Louisiana. A year prior to his appointment as executive director, he was the Port’s legal counsel. He has long-standing affiliations with the American and Louisiana State Bar Associations. Furthermore, he has served as director and chairman of various organizations and boards including the 29th Judicial District Indigent Defender Board, the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System,  the South Central Planning Regional Loan Foundation, the River Parishes Community College, the River Parishes Tourist and Visitors Commission, the River Region Chamber of Commerce, the St. James Bank and Trust Company, the St. James Bank Corporation, and the St. James Parish Economic Development Board. He has close ties with other local groups such as the St. Joseph Co-Cathedral Pastoral Council, the River Region Arts and Humanities Council, and the New Orleans Chamber River Region Committee.

Aucoin was appointed to the Board of Directors of the World Trade Center of New Orleans and participates in the organization’s Government Affairs, International Business and Transportation committees.  Most recently he was appointed to the Louisiana Board of International Commerce and the Louisiana River Pilot Review and Oversight Board.

Aucoin was named as one of the “21 of Industry’s Most Influential Leaders of the Corridor” in 10/12 Industry Report in 2016.  He was honored to receive the World Trade Center 2017 Eugene Schreiber Award and the Plimsoll Mark Award at the World Trade Center International Jubilee.

John G. “Jay” Hardman, P.E., was appointed as executive director by the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission in November 2006. Hardman has held a number of key staff positions since joining the port in May 1999 as the director of engineering and environmental services and then its managing director.

In his role as executive director, he is responsible for the port’s day-to-day management of the port. Hardman, along with the port commission and other port stakeholders, have the responsibility to build on the port’s mission of supporting international and domestic commerce and facilitating economic development.

In recent years, the port has made significant improvements to its marine assets to meet the growing demands of transportation and trade in local industry.  Hardman has been responsible for the design and implementation of more than $100 million in infrastructure improvements to the port’s general cargo docks, road and rail. He has also been involved in enhancing port security measures and designing and developing new economic development projects such as the wood pellet plant, bulk sugar storage and distribution complex, container-on-barge facility, Maritime Security Operations Center and other improvements and rehabilitation projects at the port’s Inland Rivers Marine Terminal and other upgrades to the port’s public maritime infrastructure.


David Rabalais has served as the executive director of the Terrebonne Port Commission since 2006. In that role, Rabalais built an oil & gas service port from conception to more than $300 million in assets supporting thousands of jobs. He interfaces between government and private industry building millions of dollars in infrastructure for private companies using grants and lease revenue. The Terrebonne Port, under Rabalais’ leadership, recently completed a government Multi Use Complex that houses US Customs & Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Terrebonne Parish Sheriffs water patrol and Terrebonne Port’s Office.

Prior to joining to Terrebonne Port, Rabalais served as construction project manager for T. Baker Smith, Inc., and at Picciola & Associates, Inc. In those roles, he managed a group of inspectors and project managers overseeing various municipal and commercial construction projects with a budget of more than $5 million annual billable income.

Working in the oil and gas industry, Rabalais worked for Lowe Offshore, Inc. and RCI and a project manager, estimating, scheduling, and inspecting the fabrication and installation of Caissons, Offshore Platforms, Facility Equipment and Pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rabalais also worked at Cytec Industries, operating a 600,000 gallon-a-day methanol plant and at Bollinger Machine Shop & Shipyard, Inc., where he directed a team of engineers in the development of the overall Stability Programs for the U.S. Navy 10-meter RHIB vessels, 170′ Patrol Coastal (Cyclone Class) vessels and 110’ US Coast Guard Island Class vessels.

About the Ports Association of Louisiana

The Ports Association of Louisiana (PAL) is a nonprofit trade association that serves to promote the exchange of information between ports relative to new techniques or technologies on development, organization, administration and management; to facilitate the formulation of common positions, policies or plans on questions of common interest and to present such positions at regional, state, national and international discussions; to initiate measures which represent the interests of Association members within intergovernmental and other organizations in order to improve conditions and efficiency of the state’s port system; to promote academic research and educational interest in the ports and marine sectors; and to foster and encourage economic development within the State of Louisiana. For more information, visit www.portsoflouisiana.org.

West Cal Port now certified La. Economic Development site

American Press
February 5, 2020
By John Guidroz

SULPHUR — A 32-acre site at the West Calcasieu Port is officially Louisiana Economic Development certified, offering shovel-ready land for businesses looking to build there.

During a Tuesday press conference at Intracoastal Park, Lynn Hohensee, port director, said the site could attract anywhere from 300 to 400 jobs.

“It could be fabrication of materials or parts or modules for new industries coming in,” he said. “It could be a laydown yard for intermodal transportation. Materials may come in by barge and wait here because there’s no space at the construction site, and when it’s needed, moved to the site.”

The port site is the 12th in Southwest Louisiana and the ninth in Calcasieu Parish to be certified under LED’s site certification program.

Gus Fontenot, project coordinator for the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, said a tenant could use the port’s site to provide services for projects currently awaiting final investment decision, such as Driftwood LNG, Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles LNG.

“There’s going to be a lot of industrial construction activity in this area, and West Cal Port is in the heart of it,” he said. “When those projects kick off … it’ll help them get in on the game, get a piece of the action.”

The certification removes any obstacles that may interrupt development, such as property having wetlands or underground artifacts, Fontenot said.

“That helps that property in the marketplace (and) gives it more of a competitive edge,” he said. “The port is poised for a good future.”

Hohensee said Louisiana Economic Development paid for 75 percent of the certification cost, roughly $45,000, while the port paid the remaining 25 percent, or about $15,000.

The West Calcasieu Port is made up of more than 200 acres along the Intracoastal Waterway, just west of the Ellender Bridge.

Last September, the port received a $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. Hohensee said the grant will cover 80 percent of the cost associated with building a steel sheet pile bulkhead berth facility along the north bank of the Intracoastal Waterway.

West Calcasieu Port earns LED certification

February 4, 2020
By Drew Marine

LAKE CHARLES, La. — More job opportunities could be on the horizon in Southwest Louisiana, as another site has been Louisiana Economic Development, or LED, certified.

“Site certification was started because Louisiana Economic Development recognized Louisiana was losing projects to other states that had what they called site readiness programs,” Gus Fontenot, the economic development project manager for the SWLA Economic Development Alliance, said.

Now, thirty-two acres of land on the West Calcasieu Port Property is an LED certified site.

“That means we’re going out and making our facilities available for private businesses and industry that want to grow job numbers, expand the tax base of our communities and invest monies in infrastructure development,” Lynn Hohensee, the port director, said.

The certification allows this acreage to be “shovel ready”, meaning it’s already been inspected to be sure businesses and industry can move in, knowing there are no environmental issues. “We look for wetlands, is it in a flood zone? Are there any stream beds?” Fontenot said.

Due to the fact the property is LED certified, it’s readily available to lease. Hohensee hopes the convenience of their location will attract business.

“We’ve reached out to many of these projects, worked with their general contracting companies and told them we’re certainly available to help them and their subcontractors in doing the business of building these facilities,” Hohensee.

Hohensee said he expects the certification could ultimately result in the creation of 300 to 400 jobs.

Carlyss resident named to West Calcasieu Port board

SULPHUR, La. — Carlyss Resident Buddy Reams has been appointed to the West Calcasieu Port five-person board of commissioners by the Calcasieu Parish police jurors of the western portion of the parish.

Reams’ appointment was confirmed by resolution of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury on Feb. 6, 2020. His term will expire in October 2024. Reams assumed a port board commissioner position that was previously held by Dave Aguillard.

Reams serves as NACE International’s Chief Maritime Officer, a position he started in April 2016 after retiring from the United States Coast Guard (USCG). From 2006 to 2009, he served as the commander of Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles.

In his current civilian role, he leads the development of corrosion control programs and services to meet increasing demand from all global maritime industries including notably the shipbuilding, shipping, shore/port infrastructure, and offshore sectors. He is also the organization’s accredited representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Originally from Virginia, he was raised in Florida. He is a 1992 honors graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy with a BS in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering. Reams also holds two Master of Science degrees from the University of Michigan — in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering and Industrial Operations Engineering.

His nearly three decades of USCG service included engineering assignments on two USCG Cutters in South Florida supporting hurricane response and migrant interdiction operations and more than two decades of focus on commercial vessel safety. His responsibilities in this area included marine casualty investigations, foreign and domestic ship inspections, technical plan review of all ship types, global salvage engineering support and leading the Coast Guard’s technical program for all passenger and container ships, including work at IMO developing
safety standards, and collaboration with NTSB on improving mariner safety.

At Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles he led responses to major pollution and hurricane incidents, initiated sustainable joint law enforcement activities, and promoted overall port safety, security, and resiliency.

In the back half of his career, he established and led two separate National Centers of Expertise; one for cruise ships and another focused on liquefied gas ships, to meet Congressional demands of better industry focus. In these roles as the Coast Guard’s primary liaison to the respective industries, he directly managed Coast Guard wide training, field operation techniques, and policy development for nation’s marine safety programs associated with those industries.

He retired from the service at the rank of Captain as Chief of Prevention Operations in the Seventh Coast Guard District. In this capacity, he oversaw Maritime Safety mission performance in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and the Caribbean, including the Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer organization, bridges over navigable waterways, aids to navigation, waterway management including port restoration following storms, and marine safety inspection and casualty investigation activities.

Reams and his wife, Melisa, have two teenage children, Matthew and Crystal.

West Cal Port Earns Site Certification

February 4, 2020

SULPHUR, La. — West Calcasieu Port Director Lynn Hohensee announced today that the port is now home to a certified site under Louisiana Economic Development’s Site Certification Program. The director made the announcement this morning at a special ceremony held at Intracoastal Park.

The 32-acre certified site is adjacent to existing tenants and other port property, which consists of 203 acres along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway off La. Hwy. 27, just west of the Ellender Bridge. Hohensee hopes the Certified Site will help attract new tenants to the port, which is zoned Heavy Industrial.

“Like our fellow 30-plus public maritime ports in Louisiana, the West Cal Port is a regional economic development engine designed to attract private business that, in turn, will facilitate the growth of private investment, job growth and tax base expansion,” Hohensee explained. “Our port commissioners are confident that the newly certified acreage will be an incentive that will attract new tenants and their workforce.”

“West Cal Port is located in an area that could potentially be useful to major construction projects as they develop up and down the Calcasieu Ship Channel,” said Gus Fontenot, Project Coordinator for the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “The port having a certified site lets them offer an an advantage to companies that want to locate and start their operations quickly. Hopefully this results in new jobs for the community and more revenue for the port,” added Fontenot.

LED’s Site Certification Program promotes sites that are “shovel ready” for businesses and industries to build or locate. Since 2012, the Site Certification Program has incentivized land owners to get property certified by offering to pay up to 75 percent of the costs associated with the due diligence process. That process includes environmental inspection, elevation surveys, archaeological investigations, a wetlands delineation, and much more in-depth documentation, analysis, and background work. The remaining 25 percent of the costs are covered by the landowner or others. The West Cal Port site is the 12th certified site in Southwest Louisiana and the ninth in Calcasieu Parish.

For more information about Southwest Louisiana’s Site Certification Program, contact Gus Fontenot at The Alliance (337) 433-3632 or email [email protected].