The Structure and Role of the VIPA Board

The Virgin Islands Port Authority is an autonomous agency governed by a nine-member board that sets policy. The executive director is responsible for implementing these policies and overseeing the day-to-day operation of the agency.  Board meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month and are open to the public under the Sunshine Law of the Territory.  As 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.  Private sector members receive a stipend of $75 per board meeting attended. Ex officio members do not receive a stipend.

There is one vacancy on VIPA's board: one private citizen from St. Croix.





Board Chairperson
Private Sector, St. John

Leona E. Smith was elected as the Virgin Islands Port Authority's board chairperson in May 2019 and re-elected in April 2020. Now a retiree, Smith formerly served as the St. John Administrator from 2007 - 2014 charged with representing the Governor of the Virgin Islands in key matters concerning the island. Prior to her job as Administrator, she was a coordinator for 17 years at the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs. Smith also worked as a part-time U.S. Customs and Border Protection Inspector and Officer for 19 years and was employed at the Legislature of the Virgin Islands as a researcher and constituents complaint investigator. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and an Associates in Legal Research. Smith has served on several boards, including the Board of Tax Review, the Board of Directors of the West Indian Company, Ltd., the Board of Trustees for the Government Employees Retirement System and the V.I. Board of Elections. She also serves as the President/Chairperson of the St. John Festival and Cultural Organization.

Term: May 15, 2019 - May 15, 2022


Secretary of VIPA's Board
Chairman, U.S.V.I. Economic Development Authority Board

Kevin A. Rodriquez, deputy chief of staff to the Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, was elected as the chairman of the U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority Board on May 15, 2019.  He was elected by the VIPA's board to serve as its Secretary in April 2020.  Rodriquez is a human resources veteran with over 24 years of executive experience. He was the former Director of Personnel under the Turnbull/Richards administration and Director of Applicant Services for the State of Tennessee Human Resources Department. Rodriquez attended Jones College and Temple University.

Term: Ex Officio


Tourism Commissioner

Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte has a wealth of experience in government management and strong ties in the tourism industry.  Most recently, he served as a specialist at the VI Department of Tourism to assist in forging critical bonds with leaders in the cruise industry. He worked with the USVI committee that comprises the "Ports of the Virgin Islands" to help the territory achieve operational improvements to the cruise ship sector as well as economic benefits to the community.  He is also a former Chief Executive Officer of the West Indian Company, Limited.  During his tenure, the agency negotiated three long-term agreements with three separate cruise ship corporations and invested over $20 million worth of infrastructure repairs of the cruise dock, which receives the majority of the cruise visits in the territory.  His career has included service with the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority, the VI Government Employees’ Retirement System, VI Public Services Commission, and the University of the Virgin Islands.

Term: Ex Officio


Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Attorney Denise N. George (also known as Denise George-Counts) is a native Virgin Islander who attended the All Saints Cathedral School and graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School. Attorney George received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of Maryland. Before enrolling in law school, she was a television news reporter and desk anchor for a St. Thomas television station WBNB-TV, and more recently, a local cable TV talk show host.

Attorney George received her Juris Doctor degree from Howard University Law School in 1984. After graduating from law school, she began her legal career as a Territorial Court law clerk for Judge Verne A. Hodge and Judge Ive Arlington Swan. For several years, she practiced general civil litigation and family law in her private law firm, "Law Offices of Denise-George-Counts".   She served as an Assistant Attorney General and trial attorney in the criminal, civil, family, juvenile, White Collar, and public corruption divisions of the Virgin Islands Department of Justice for a period of over 18 years. During her tenure, she successfully prosecuted a full spectrum of violent crimes including murder, manslaughter, rape, domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. As a member of the Child Abuse Task Force, she co-authored the Virgin Islands’ first criminal child abuse and neglect statute. In the Civil Division, she represented the V.I. government in civil lawsuits filed against and on behalf of the government.  

Attorney George also served for several years as the Director of the White Collar Crime and Public Corruption Division. During that time, she managed the division and successfully prosecuted complex white-collar crimes of embezzlement, forgery, fraud, racketeering and public corruption involving public officials of local agencies including the GERS, Schneider Hospital, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Office of the Governor, and Department of Human Services. In 2016, Attorney George accepted a position as Senior Staff Attorney at the Virgin Islands Port Authority, a position she has held until her nomination as Attorney General.

Term: Ex Officio


Private Sector, St. Croix

Lionel S. Jacobs serves on the VIPA Board as a representative for the private sector of the St. Croix District. He has extensive knowledge and experience in urban and commercial construction and architecture. He has worked for the V.I. Planning Office, the V.I. Department of Natural Resources, and the V.I. Housing Finance Authority overseeing major development and construction projects for these government agencies. He is currently the co-owner of the Arawak Bay Inn on St. Croix. Jacobs is a U.S. Army Veteran. He holds a Bachelors' degree in Architecture from the New York Institute of Technology and a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University.

Term: September 27, 2020 through September 27, 2023


Private Sector, St. Croix

Willard S. John is a retired educator that served the VI Dept. of Education for thirty-eight years as a Vocational Counselor, Cultural Education Specialist, Coordinator of the St. Croix Adult Education Center, Coordinator of St. Croix Skill Center, Assistant Principal and retired as Principal of the St. Croix Educational Complex High School. He is a 30-year member of the Rotary Club of St. Croix Mid-Isle and a member of the Board of Directors of the Frederiksted Federal Credit Union.  Willard John is also a board member of the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development.

Willard John is the founder and Artistic Director of the Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies for the past thirty years. He is a culture bearer that has represented the Virgin Islands throughout the world as an ambassador of VI Culture. He is the President of Jumbie Productions Inc. a company that provides entertainment booking, event management, film location management, production services, and consulting.

Term: March 30, 2020 - March 30, 2023


Private Sector, St. Thomas

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.

Term: Dec. 21, 2017 - Dec. 20, 2020


Private Sector, St. Thomas

Celestino A. White Sr., also known as Tony, Maltin, and Startover is a grassroots native son who hails from Paul M. Pearson Gardens (Housing). He is a graduate of the Charlotte Amalie High School Class of 1965. Celestino A. White, Sr. served four years with the United States Air Force and was assigned to the 377th Security Police Squadron. During his four years with the Air Force, Celestino served one year in The Republic of Vietnam. Upon his honorable discharge in 1969, Celestino A. White, Sr. joined the Virgin Islands Police Department and held all uniform rank to include the highest uniform rank of Chief of Police. He was credited with 23 years of service within the Police Department. Additionally, Celestino A. White, Sr. served 11 terms or 22 years as a Senator in the Legislature of the Virgin Islands. Former Housing Boy, Police Chief, and Senator, Celestino A. White, Sr., is the recipient of The Virgin Islands Medal Of Honor, and the Senior Citizen Residential Homes at Sugar Estate, St. Thomas VI bears his name. Celestino A. White, Sr. is extremely proud of his Master's Degree in Common Sense and Ph.D. in Street Sense from the School Of Hard Knox.

Term: March 30, 2020 - March 30, 2023


Board members volunteer to serve on committees for a term of one year.  Committee meetings are held once a month and are closed to the public.


J. Boschulte
W. John
L. Smith
L. Steiner -chair
C. White


 J. Boschulte -chair

K. Rodriquez


L. Jacobs
W. John
L. Steiner
C. White


D. George
K. Rodriquez -chair
C. White



Policies and Actions Taken by VIPA's Board of Governors at their Monthly Board Meetings


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