Port board appoints Lee Smith as president

Lee Smith was appointed president of the board during a meeting of commissioners Monday, May 21. Smith served as VP from 2013-18.

The Port of Beaumont Board of Commissioners appointed Smith, president; Commissioner Pat Anderson vice president; and Commissioner Georgine Guillory secretary-treasurer. The terms will run until the May 2019 commissioner election.

“Commissioner Smith has served on the Port of Beaumont Board of Commissioners for more than 16 years, and he has been an exceptional asset to the group,” said Port Director Chris Fisher. “He is a valued member of our community, and he always acts in the best interest of the port and his constituents. We are very pleased he will be serving as board president and know he will do a wonderful job.”

Smith’s pastors, family members, neighbors and other influential figures in his life packed the boardroom in support of the Army veteran.

“It really made me feel good,” Smith said. “(People) came from all over to be here with me for a great celebration. Even my daughter and her husband took off to attend the occasion.”

Smith’s daughter Lesia Smith Linton, a native of Beaumont is a chemical engineer and graduate of Prairie View A&M who came from Houston to witness her father become president of the board.

“My father has always taught me to work hard and do your best,” Linton said, adding that Smith always taught her the importance of Psalm 128:2, which states, “You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.”

“I’m so proud of my dad,” Linton said. “He’s worked hard to get to where he is today. I’m proud of what he’s done and what he’s done for me and just teaching me along the way, and now I have children of my own and my oldest is graduating, I’m just grateful.”

Smith said his granddaughter received a scholarship and is following in her mother’s footsteps and is attending Prairie View A&M as well, mentioning that although his parents were farmers, they always stressed the importance of education to him growing up.

LaRue Smith, Lee’s wife, said, “It’s just a culmination of all the hard work he has put in. He is a people person. He loves to help people, so it gives him another opportunity to help. Hopefully, he can move the port forward. Although the port has done a lot, he still has ideas and I’m just there to support him along the way.”

“He’s gotten to this point to be able to lead the board and he has done this with the love and support of Pete Shelton,” Linton added.

In April 2018, Commissioner C.A. “Pete” Shelton announced plans to step down as board president, a position he has held since 2001. The announcement was made to facilitate the transition of board officers during the remainder of Commissioner Shelton’s term, which will expire May 2019, according to a release by the port. After completing 30 years of service on the board, Shelton announced he will not run for re-election.

Shelton, who served as Beaumont’s fire chief for 20 years, was first appointed to the Port of Beaumont Board of Commissioners in 1989 as one of two at-large commissioners. A Beaumont native, Shelton joined the fire department in 1950. He was fire chief from 1976 until he retired in 1996, and served as Interim City Manager and Emergency Management Coordinator for the city.

Shelton also served as president of the Sabine-Neches Chiefs Association and the Texas Fire Chiefs Association, and has been active in numerous civic organizations including the American Red Cross, Boy’s Haven, United Way and Beaumont Main Street.

Photo by Kevin King - Port of Beaumont Director Chris Fisher, Outgoing President of the Board of Directors C.A. ‘Pete’ Shelton, Commissioner Bill Darling, Vice President Pat Anderson, President Lee Smith, Secretary- Treasurer Georgine Guillory and Commissioner Louis Broussard.