High Profile: Palmetto Railways, Port of New Orleans/NOPB

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

Palmetto Railways has promoted Patrick McCrory to President and CEO, effective Jan. 4, 2022. In addition, the Port of New Orleans and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Commission boards have elected Charles H. Ponstein Chairman.

At Palmetto Railways, Patrick McCrory will succeed Jeffrey McWhorter, who is retiring after 37 years with the South Carolina short line. 

McCrory currently serves as Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. Before joining Palmetto Railways in 2013, he held management roles at CSX Intermodal Terminals and APM Terminals. McCrory is a nine-year veteran of the United States Navy Reserve serving as a Strategic Sealift Officer.

“Patrick’s executive leadership service with Palmetto Railways, coupled with extensive rail transportation and logistics experience throughout his career, has prepared him to lead one of South Carolina’s oldest rail providers,” South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III said. “Separately, we’re deeply grateful for Jeff’s service to Palmetto Railways, maintaining a track record of success and aligning the organization and our state for long-term success in rail transit.”

McWhorter started at Palmetto Railways as a part-time switchman on the extra board, and rose through the ranks to President and CEO in 2007.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to lead the Palmetto Railways team after learning from and working alongside Jeff for nearly a decade,” McCrory said. “During my time here, Palmetto Railways’ and South Carolina’s freight rail infrastructure and volumes have continued to grow, with an increasing emphasis on the importance of safety, economic development, and efficient and reliable rail service.”

Charles H. Ponstein takes over Chairmanship of the Port of New Orleans and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Commission boards from William H. Langenstein III, whose term expired this month. The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans also selected new officers: Jack C. Jensen, Jr., Vice Chairman, and Joseph F. Toomy, Secretary-Treasurer.

With the alignment of the Port of New Orleans and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad in February 2018, Port Commissioners also serve on the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Commission, which has appointed Toomy as Vice Chairman and Langenstein as Secretary-Treasurer.

“We are so appreciative of Commissioner Langenstein’s service as Chairman,” Ponstein said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Chairman and am excited about the future of Port NOLA as we continue to work toward positive growth and developing critical infrastructure throughout our jurisdiction to keep Louisiana and the Port NOLA gateway competitive.”

Ponstein brings a legacy of leadership and public service in St. Bernard Parish, La., which will benefit both the port and railroad. He owns and manages several commercial and industrial buildings in the region. A lifelong resident of St. Bernard Parish, Ponstein served on the parish’s Policy Jury (1980-88); as its Councilman-At-Large (1992-96); and as its President (1996-2004). He has also been a member of the St. Bernard Parish Chamber of Commerce, St. Bernard Economic Development Commission, Regional Planning Commission, and United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area.

The Port NOLA and NOPB Commission boards consist of seven members. Unsalaried, they serve five-year staggered terms. The governor of Louisiana appoints members from a list of three nominations submitted by local civic, labor, education and maritime groups. The Board reflects the Port’s three-parish jurisdiction, with two members from Jefferson, four from Orleans and one from St. Bernard. Vice Chairman Jensen and Secretary-Treasurer Toomy represent Jefferson Parish; Commissioner Langenstein, Commissioner Walter J. Leger, Jr., Commissioner James J. Carter, Jr. and Commissioner Darryl D. Berger, represent Orleans Parish; and Chairman Ponstein represents St. Bernard Parish.

Tags: , , ,