OUR BOARD OF GOVERNORS
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:
the commissioner of the Department of Tourism,
the attorney general,
the commissioner of the Department of Public Works, and
the chairperson of the Economic Development Authority's board.
The five other board positions are reserved for persons who are appointed by the governor and are subject to the approval of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands. They are appointed to a three-year term of office and each is eligible for re-appointment:
two of these members must be a resident of St. Croix
two must be residents of St. Thomas, and
one must be a resident of St. John.
These members receive a stipend of $75 per board meeting attended. Ex officio members do not receive a stipend.
There is currently one vacancy on VIPA's board: one resident of St. Thomas.
WHEN DOES VIPA'S BOARD MEET?
Regular meetings of the Virgin Islands Port Authority’s Board of Governors are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. Meeting dates, times, and locations are subject to change.
The general session of the Board’s regular meetings is open to the public. Meetings are conducted in person and/or via video or teleconference at the VIPA Administrative Building at 8074 Lindbergh Bay on St. Thomas and/or at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport Terminal’s conference room on St. Croix.
VIPA BOARD MEETING SCHEDULE*
CALENDAR YEAR 2023
January 18 - STT
February 15 - STT - rescheduled to February 22
March 15 - STX - rescheduled to March 22
April 19 - STT
May 17 - STT
June 21 - STX
July 19 - STJ
August 16 - STT
September 20 - STX
October 18 - STT
November 15 - STT
December 20 - STX
*This schedule is subject to change.
VIEW OUR BOARD MEETING LIVE
The Virgin Islands Port Authority's Board of Governors will conduct its regular monthly meeting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. The general session of this meeting will be conducted in person in the VIPA conference room on the second floor of the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport Terminal in St. Croix. The public is invited to view the meeting via Zoom. To purchase a meeting agenda booklet that includes supporting documentation for each agenda item, please contact Mrs. Julice Holder at (340) 774-1629 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost of an agenda booklet is $15.
Register in advance to view the meeting:
MEET OUR BOARD MEMBERS
MR. WILLARD S. JOHN
Chairman of the Board
Term: March 30, 2020 - March 30, 2023
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.
THE HONORABLE DEREK A. GABRIEL
Vice-Chairman of the Board
Commissioner of the VI Department of Public Works
Term: Ex Officio
On February 8, 2021, Derek Auguste Gabriel was nominated by Governor Albert Bryan Jr. to serve as the eighteenth (18th) Commissioner of the Department of Public Works. On June 3, 2021, he was officially sworn in, becoming the youngest person in the Department’s history to serve in that position. Prior to starting his tenure at the Department of Public Works, Derek held different positions in both the private and public sectors specializing in project management, procurement, business development, property management, retail development, and government relations.
After graduating from the University of Delaware, Derek returned to St. Thomas to spend time with his family and to make a positive difference in the community. He began working for Senator Shawn-Michael Malone as a Legislative Aide and Public Relations Officer. In March 2009, he was offered the opportunity to work as a Special Assistant to the Governor assigned to the St. Thomas/Water Island Administrator, working on community initiatives and youth activities. In 2011, he completed the Henry Toll Fellowship, a prestigious program instituted by the Council on State Governments aimed at developing future state leaders. Derek continued his career in public service, serving as the Deputy Commissioner of Property & Printing at the Department of Property & Procurement until May 2015.
Derek has been married to Keli Gabriel since October 2011. Together, they have two children, Savanah, 9, and Lukas, 5. He served three terms as a Trustee of All Saints Cathedral School Board, including two terms as the board’s chairman. He currently serves as the President of the Cathedral Church of All Saints Men’s Fellowship and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Governors for the Virgin Islands Port Authority. He is a proud graduate of the All Saints Cathedral School.
MR. KEVIN RODRIQUEZ
Secretary of VIPA's Board
Chairman of the U.S.V.I. Economic Development Authority Board
Term: Ex Officio
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.
THE HONORABLE JOSEPH B. BOSCHULTE
Commissioner of the VI Department of Tourism
Term: Ex Officio
USVI 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.
THE HONORABLE CAROL THOMAS-JACOBS
Acting Attorney General
Term: Ex Officio
Carol Thomas-Jacobs is an attorney who formerly served as the Attorney General of the United States Virgin Islands. She was appointed by Governor Albert Bryan Jr. to replace Denise George on January 1, 2023. She was previously the chief deputy attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
MR. LIONEL S. JACOBS
Term: September 27, 2020, through September 27, 2023
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 Master's in Architecture from Columbia University.
MR. CELESTINO A. WHITE SR.
Term: March 30, 2020 - March 30, 2023
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 ranks 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.
MS. LEONA A. SMITH
Term: December 20, 2022 - December 20, 2025
Leona E. Smith is the St. John representative on the VIPA Board. 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 service 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 Associate 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.
Ms. Smith is currently serving her second term on the VIPA Board. She was appointed to the Board in May 2019 and served until her term expired in May 2022. During her first term, she was elected as the Board's chairperson in 2019 and 2020.
VIPA BOARD COMMITTEES
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.
D. Gabriel - chair
L. Jacobs - chair
PROJECTS & OPERATIONS
L. Smith - chair
K. Rodriquez -chair