Brandy D. Christian serves as the CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Corp., the short-line connecting railroad and subsidiary of the Port that manages $30 million in revenues and 180 employees.
Christian also serves as President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, a public agency that manages revenues exceeding $65 million, nearly 300 employees and $200 million in capital projects. In this role, Christian oversees all cargo, cruise and industrial real estate operations.
Christian serves on the Green Marine Board of Directors, Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank Trade and Transportation Advisory Council, Louisiana Board of International Commerce, the World Trade Center of New Orleans Board of Directors, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors and as the Cruise Committee Chair for the American Association of Port Authorities.
Before joining Port NOLA, Christian served 14 years with the Port of San Diego as vice president of strategy and business development.
Louis Colletta, Executive Counsel, serves the Port of New Orleans and the New Orleans Public Belt as its chief legal officer. Colletta attended Tulane School of Law, has served as an executive assistant to U.S. Congressman Jimmy Hayes during and after college and as law clerk to the Chief Judge of the Louisiana Third Circuit. Upon completion of his clerkship, Colletta entered private practice specializing in general casualty and commercial litigation where he was a partner at Lemle & Kelleher, LLP and later Akerman, LLP. While in private practice, Colletta handled mass tort, class action, insurance coverage and transportation litigation. He successfully defended freight rail carriers in a wide range of matters, including cases under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act. Colletta is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America, Louisiana Super Lawyers and was a New Orleans City Business Leadership in Law Honoree in 2017.
Bobby Franklin is the New Orleans Public Belt’s Chief Transportation Officer. As CTO, Franklin champions the safety program while ensuring the highest service standards for Class 1 and local customers. Franklin joined NOPB in 2017 as Superintendent. Before joining NOPB, Franklin was the Superintendent of CSX’s Boyles Yard in Birmingham, Alabama. He also served CSX as Terminal Manager in Montgomery, Alabama and performed other supervisory roles across the CSX system. He began his rail career in 2002, as Yardmaster in Pensacola, Florida. Franklin holds an Associate’s Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Business Leadership School.
Carl Kocur is the New Orleans Public Belt’s Chief Engineer. Kocur joined NOPB’s management team in November, 2014, coming from Palmetto Railways where he served as Director of Engineering and Maintenance. Kocur began his railroad career over 15 years ago as trackman and has also held the positions of equipment operator, regulator operator, tamper operator, track inspector and Roadmaster. He continued to expand his knowledge through several years spent working for a rail contractor building industry track in the Midwest. Prior to his career in the railroad industry, he worked as a safety instructor teaching OSHA courses. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from Butler University.
Dennis Lafont is New Orleans Public Belt’s Chief Financial Officer. As the head of Finance, Lafont oversees the accounting, financial reporting, budgeting, treasury and information systems functions at NOPB. Lafont joined the railroad’s executive team in January, 2014, and has worked closely with senior management to streamline NOPB’s processes and modernize its information systems.
Lafont has over 35 years of experience in auditing and consulting including financial system conversions, acquisitions, and operations. Lafont came to NOPB from Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC, CPAs and Advisors, where he provided services to a variety of clients. Prior to his role at Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC, Lafont held a variety of positions at Stewart Enterprises, Inc. over a 19-year period. Lafont holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Louisiana State University and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Christian D. Bonura, Director of Industrial Development, managed the Port of New Orleans’ acquisition of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, which closed in February 2018. Bonura now focuses on business planning to unlock the strategic value of the new synergy. Bonura formerly served as Director of Marine Rail Integration at the Port of New Orleans, where he began his maritime career in 2004. He led Port NOLA’s corporate communications efforts for eight years and managed its industrial real estate portfolio for five years. Previously, Bonura worked as a journalist and public relations professional. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University and an MBA from Tulane University. Bonura is the chairman of the New Orleans Regional Business Park, a past chairman of the Tulane Association of Business Alumni and a board member of the Lower Mississippi River Waterway Safety Advisory Council.
Ailsa "Elsa" von Dobeneck is the Director of External Affairs for the New Orleans Public Belt. She assumed her role with the transition of the Railroad to the Port of New Orleans in February 2018, where she was serving as a Public Affairs consultant. As Director of External Affairs, von Dobeneck oversees community and public relations, government affairs, and corporate communications. She previously served as Government Relations Manager for Norfolk Southern Railway in Washington D.C. She began her career in Singapore and Panama City, Panama, where she worked in the maritime industry. She holds a Masters in International Relations from King's College London and a BA International Relations and a BA German from the University of Georgia.
Carla Gendusa is New Orleans Public Belt’s Director of Administration. In her role, Carla is responsible for oversight and administration of NOPB policies, procurement, and regulatory compliance. She also serves as a liaison for issues that are brought to the Board of Directors. She previously served for 2 ½ years as NOPB’s Director of Safety & Training where she was responsible for company-wide safety and training initiatives. Prior to joining the Public Belt in 2016, she worked for City Councilmember Stacy Head, in policy research and implementation. Gendusa also worked for the first Inspector General of New Orleans, investigating and evaluating city-funded programs. During her time with the Inspector General, she graduated from the Slidell Regional Police Academy and began teaching classes as an adjunct instructor. Carla is an attorney and holds a degree from Loyola Law School of New Orleans.
Ike McPherson serves as New Orleans Public Belt’s Superintendent of Transportation. McPherson began his rail career in 1998 as a switchman. He was then promoted to yardmaster, trainmaster, and Superintendent, a role he began in 2015. As Superintendent, McPherson manages operations and transportation needs for Downtown New Orleans as well as local customer business across the network. Prior to joining the New Orleans Public Belt, McPherson served as a Police Officer in Jefferson Parish.
Adrienne Moore serves as Director of Finance for the New Orleans Public Belt. She brings fifteen years of accounting experience, including roles in the audit department of Postlethwaite and Netterville CPA firm, government accounting with New Orleans City Park, and most recently, the role of Controller at B&G Crane Service. She is a CPA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Our Lady of Holy Cross College and a Master of Science in Accounting from the University of New Orleans
Scott Richoux serves as Director of Special Projects for the New Orleans Public Belt. In his role, he works across all departmental lines and works closely with a number of city, state and federal agencies, serving as emergency and public services liaison. He also serves as the project lead for new technology programs, working with outside vendors and facilitating implementation. Richoux began his career at NOPB in 2003 and has served as NOPB’s Director of Safety and Regulatory Affairs, Manager of Revenue and Car Accounting, Manager of Labor Relations, and Vice President of Transportation. In his 15-year career at NOPB, Richoux has developed a unique and diverse skillset with experience in a number of transportation and logistics disciplines. Richoux holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans.
Jared Sleeth is New Orleans Public Belt’s Director of Network Planning. Sleeth serves as the primary contact for local customers and Class 1 railroads and helps to bring new facilities online. He also analyzes volume trends and works with the Port of New Orleans Commercial team to market the Gateway and cultivate sustainable growth throughout the region. Sleeth joined NOPB as a Trainmaster in 2015, then served as Director of Business Development. Sleeth formerly worked for Union Pacific Railroad as Manager of Yard Operations in Parsons, Kansas, and New Orleans. He also has extensive business development experience in both the trucking and construction sectors. He holds a B.S. in Business Management from Clemson University.
Rachel Zimmerle was appointed Director of Human Resources at New Orleans Public Belt Railroad in March 2015. She has companywide responsibility for the human resource function including compensation, recruitment, new hire onboarding, recordkeeping, and personnel policy development and administration.Zimmerle joined the company in February 2000 and has served in leadership roles in accounting and internal audit. Prior to arriving at NOPB, she held a variety of positions in both public accounting and private industry over the course of seven years.
Zimmerle graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, concentration in Accounting, from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in 1993. She is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Louisiana and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants. Zimmerle holds the Society for Human Resource Management – Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credential and is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management.