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Virgin Islands Port Authority Board of Governors




The Governor and Lieutenant Governor
of the U.S. Virgin Islands

The Honorable
Kenneth E. Mapp
of the U.S. Virgin Islands
The Honorable
Osbert E. Potter
Lieutenant Governor
of the U.S. Virgin Islands


VIPA's Board of Governors

The Virgin Islands Port Authority is a semi-autonomous agency governed by a nine-member board which sets policy. The executive director is responsible for implementing these policies and overseeing the day-to-day operation of the agency.  Board meetings are usually held on the third Wednesday of each month and are open to the public under the Sunshine Law of the Territory.  A schedule of VIPA's board meetings is provided hereAs per VI Code Title 29 §541, four members of the governor's cabinet sit on the board. These members serve at the pleasure of the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  They are:

  1. the commissioner of the Department of Tourism,

  2. the attorney general,

  3. the commissioner of the Department of Public Works, and

  4. the chairperson of the Economic Development Authority's board.

The five other board positions are reserved for private citizens who are appointed by the governor and are subject to the approval of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands. Two of these members must come from St. Croix, two from St. Thomas and one from St. John. They are appointed to a three-year term of office and each is eligible for re-appointment.

There is currently one vacancy on VIPA's board: Private Citizen, St. Croix.


Laurel Hewitt-Sewer Laurel Hewitt-Sewer
Private Citizen, St. John
Term: Sept. 23, 2015 - Sept. 23, 2018

Mrs. Laurel Hewitt-Sewer sits on the VIPA board as a private citizen representing the island of St. John. She is a part-time professor of Inclusive Early Childhood Education in the School of Education at the University of the Virgin Islands and a retired Family and Consumer Sciences teacher. Hewitt-Sewer holds a Master of Science Degree in Child and Youth Care Administration from Nova South Eastern University, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Home Economics, Child Development from Georgia Southern University and an Associate in Arts Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of the Virgin Islands


Image Dr. Yvonne Thraen Dr. Yvonne E. L. Thraen
Private Citizen, St. Thomas
Vice Chairperson

Term: Dec. 20, 2016 – Dec. 20, 2019

Dr. Yvonne Thraen is a program liaison for VI projects funded by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture's graduate school - the International Institute. She has over 30 years of experience in government planning, policy making and administration. Thraen was an assistant to Gov. Alexander Farrelly in March 1987, and to Gov. Roy Schneider until her retirement in January 1997. Thraen serves on the University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees and on the board of Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands. Her civil service also includes directorship of the VI Youth Services Administration. She has a doctorate in social welfare from Brandeis University.


Attorney Claude Walker Claude E. Walker, Esq.
Attorney General
Secretary of the Board

Term: Ex-officio

Attorney Claude Earl Walker sits on VIPA’s board as the Attorney General of the US Virgin Islands and is the head of the VI Department of Justice. Attorney Walker, an Albany Law School graduate, served as a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development litigator; senior legal counselor at Scotia Bank; policy adviser at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence; and a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency attorney and advisor.


Beverly Nicholson-Doty
Tourism Commissioner

Term: Ex-officio

Beverly Nicholson-Doty is the Commissioner of the USVI Department of Tourism. Nicholson-Doty formerly served as the director of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel & Tourism Association. In addition to an extensive background in marketing, Nicholson was also selected as Executive Director of the Year in 2000 by the Caribbean Hotel Association. She was elected to three consecutive terms as vice president of the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives.


Nelson Petty Jr., PE
Public Works Commissioner
Term: Ex-officio

Nelson Petty Jr., PE is a civil engineer and surveyor who has served in the US Virgin Islands Public Works Department for over 20 years.  He is a graduate of Florida A&M University and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and National Society of Professional Engineers.

Jose A. Penn José A. Penn
Chairman, Economic
Development Authority Board

Term: Ex-officio

José Penn is the chair of the Enterprise & Commercial Zone Commission. He is chief financial officer of his family's group of businesses. Mr. Penn obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from the University of the Virgin Islands and serves on other boards, including: Virgin Islands Board of Land Use Appeals; Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park Advisory Board; the St. Thomas/St. John Horse Racing Commission; Junior Achievement of the Virgin Islands and the Julius E. Sprauve School Charitable Trust. He is also a member of the St. Thomas - St. John Chamber of Commerce, Inc. and is a charter and honorary member of the Rotary Club of St. John, Inc.


Marvin Forbes Marvin Forbes
Private Citizen, St. Croix
Term: Dec. 20, 2016 – Dec. 20, 2019

As a local businessman with a strong background in information technology, Marvin Forbes has ran his own telecommunications business on St. Croix for over 20 years. Forbes is also the President of VI Action Group - an organization focused on ensuring fair elections in the territory.


Lee Steiner
Private Citizen, St. Thomas
Term: Dec. 21, 2017 - Dec. 20, 2020

Lee Steiner is a businessman who serves on the board of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. His local business, USVI Sotheby’s International Realty, is a real estate brokerage that is comprised of top local experts supported by the global reach, global recognition and brand heritage associated with the Sotheby’s Auction House.

He founded USVI Sotheby’s International Realty in 2011 which has quickly become a leading real estate brokerage in the territory. In addition to Mr. Steiner’s real estate brokerage experience, he has undertaken his own projects and consulted for real estate ventures in the US and British Virgin Islands and has successfully been the point person for companies taking property through the rezoning process in the USVI. Mr. Steiner’s brokerage experience includes many years of luxury real estate, commercial property and development property sales and he has brokered deals ranging from single-family lots to hotels. Most recently he is the top producing real estate broker on St. Thomas in 2014 and he was voted the top real estate broker in the US Virgin Islands by the readers of the VI Daily News for 2013.

Prior to founding his company, he was the top real estate agent on St. Thomas in 2009 and 2010 while being an integral part in the development of the boutique brokerage Sea Glass Properties. Prior to that, he was the top agent at Coldwell Banker Stout Realty where he was awarded the President’s Circle designation at Coldwell Banker in 2008, which was an honor received by only the top 3% of the 120,000 Coldwell Banker agents worldwide. Currently Mr. Steiner serves as the President of USVI Sotheby’s International Realty where he leads an industry leading team of real estate professionals.


Contact VIPA Board Members:
Virgin Islands Port Authority Board of Governors
P. O. Box 301707
St. Thomas, VI  00803-1707
Tel: (340) 774-1629 / Fax: (340) 774-0025

VIPA Board Staff

Tonya Pickering, Internal Auditor
Tonya Pickering

Internal Auditor

Tonya Pickering is the agency's internal auditor and reports to the Governing Board. As the internal auditor, Ms. Pickering performs independent auditing geared to improve the effectiveness of risk management, financial controls, and governance processes by analyzing internal company data, business processes and policies.


VIPA Board Committees

Finance Committee

Claude Walker, Esq. - chairperson

Laurel Hewitt-Sewer

Beverly Nicholson-Doty

José A. Penn


Property Committee

José A. Penn - chairperson

Laurel Hewitt-Sewer


Beverly Nicholson-Doty


Dr. Yvonne E. L. Thraen


Lee Steiner


Projects & Operations Committee


Marvin Forbes  - chairperson


Dr. Yvonne E. L. Thraen


Claude Walker, Esq.


Lee Steiner


Nelson Petty Jr., PE


Personnel Committee


Laurel Hewitt-Sewer - chairperson


Marvin Forbes


Dr. Yvonne E. L. Thraen


Claude Walker, Esq.


Nelson Petty Jr., PE



Board Actions Archive

2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
January 24, 2018 January 18, 2017 January 27, 2016 January 21, 2015 January 19, 2014
February 21, 2018 February 22, 2017 February 17, 2016 February 28, 2015 February 19, 2014
March 21, 2018 March 22, 2017 March 30, 2016 March 25, 2015 March 19, 2014
April 18, 2018 April 19, 2017 April 20, 2016 April 22, 2015 April 16, 2014
May 21, 2018 May 17, 2017 May 18, 2016 May 27, 2015

May 09, 2014
(special meeting)


May 21, 2014

June 20, 2018 June 21, 2017 June 22, 2016 June 17, 2015 June 18, 2014
July 30, 2018 July 26, 2017 July 20, 2016 July 2015
- No meeting held
July 16, 2014
August 22, 2018 August 21, 2017 August 17, 2016 August 19, 2015 August 20, 2014
September 26, 2018 September 2017
- No meeting held
September 22, 2016 September 16, 2015 September 17, 2014
October 17, 2018 October 04, 2017 October 21, 2016 October 21, 2015 October 3 and 21, 2014
  November 08, 2017 November 16, 2016 November 18, 2015 November 19, 2014
  December 20, 2017 December 21, 2016 December 16, 2015 December 15, 2014


Virgin Islands Port Authority
8074 Lindbergh Bay
P.O. Box 301707
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands  00803-1707
Tel: (340) 774-1629  Fax: (340) 774-0025
Developed by the VIPA Public Relations Department

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