Aucoin Honored with Bertel Award

The outgoing Executive Director was selected by the World Trade Center New Orleans as the 2021 Honoree

Paul Aucoin's Bertel Award
Aucoin at the Bertel ceremony

Following the May announcement of Paul Aucoin, Executive Director of the Port of South Louisiana, as the 2021 recipient of the C. Alvin Bertel Award, a formal ceremony was held on June 30, 2021 to honor Aucoin and his achievements.

The C. Alvin Bertel Award is given annually by the World Trade Center New Orleans to “an individual who has made significant contributions to the Louisiana port and maritime community.”

Aucoin was selected for his exceptional contributions to the Port of South Louisiana over the last eight years, during which he has led massive investments in infrastructure and industrial development and in turn created thousands of jobs in the region. Nominating organizations for the presitigious honor include the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans, Port of South Louisiana, St. Bernard Port, Harbor, & Terminal District, the World Trade Center New Orleans, International Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers Association, Jefferson Parish and Louisiana Maritime Association.

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“I am very honored to have been selected for the 2021 C. Alvin Bertel” said Aucoin in a press release upon announcement of his selection. “My relationship with the maritime industry and its members has been very special. Both have provided me with a lifetime of friendships, experiences and the chance to make a difference for the home that we call Louisiana. A sincere thanks to the Port of South Louisiana Commissioners, my industry colleagues, and to our wonderful port team members that make the Port of South Louisiana great.”

Aucoin’s friends, family, colleagues and partners gathered at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel in celebration of his latest accolade. The presentation included an honorary video including statements from leadership in the River Parishes.

I’ve known Paul for close to 50 years,” said Judge Joel T. Chaisson in the dedication video. “The Port continues to be the largest tonnage Port in the Western hemisphere. That’s no small accomplishment. Paul has done a magnificent job. I knew that when he took this job, this was such a good one. Paul has that passion, that desire and that vision.”

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Representatives from the Port and WTCNO gather at the Bertel Award ceremony.

Judy Songy, Commission Vice-Chairperson for Port of South Louisiana, commended Aucoin for his character and dedication to the entire community.

“I’ve known Paul for over 25 years,” Songy said. “I’ve watched him grow the Port to the next level. Paul has taken an active role in numerous organizations—and not just belonging to them, but also attending meetings and serving in official capacities. He’s just one of those guys that gives 2,000 percent, and he’s the kind of guy that people want to work with because he accomplishes what he sets out to accomplish.”

Michael D. Patorono, National Vice President for AECOM, highlighted one of the most significant accomplishments Aucoin notched during his career—securing funding for the deepening of the Mississippi River.

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“Paul not only sat on the Big River Coalition, but he also led a big part of that in deepening the Mississippi River because he realized the importance to our local community, to the state of Louisiana and to the entire Mississippi Valley,” Patorono said. “He was relentless in his pursuit until he got it funded. That, along with all those hours he’s put in working with charitable organizations in the local community, tirelessly serving on these various committees and just giving freely of his time–he more than deserves the Award. People have to remember that we’re going through a pandemic. Because of that, the maritime industry has been impacted, but under his tutelage, there’s been over $20 billion in new industries that have located here to the Port of South Louisiana and the River Parishes. Over 4,000 jobs were created, and it’s not over yet.”

The video also showcased more personal connections, such as comments from Aucoin’s daughter, Shelley Aucoin Winters. Winters 

“It’s been wonderful to watch my dad in a position that he’s so passionate about,” she said. “He cares so much about economic development along the river. I think my dad is deserving of the Bertel Award because he’s really used his position to make an impact.”

Former Bertel Award recipient David Fennelly, Vice Chairman of Associated Terminals & Turn Services, said that he is honored to share such a prestigious distinction with someone who has remained steadfast in their commitment to improving the lives of all people in and around the Port.

“I consider Paul one of my dear friends, a trusted confidante and certainly a great mentor and advisor,” Fennelly said. “It’s really something to be admired and to be treasured for many years to come. Paul is certainly somebody that is more than deserving and has shown that through perseverance and commitment to the industry and the community, you can accomplish great things.”  

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