Board of Directors

Michael G. Eason

Michael G. Eason Headshot

Michael G. Eason currently serves as president of the Board of Commissioners of the Lake Charles Harbor & Terminal District, which operates the Port of Lake Charles.

Mr. Eason is senior vice president and resident director of Merrill Lynch in Lake Charles with a 30 year tenure. He is married to Mary Kaye Eason and they have two daughters, Kelli and Kristen.

Kay C. Barnett, CFRE

Ms. Barnett is a native of Lake Charles and a graduate of Louisiana State University. She has  received certifications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Development for the Christus St. Patrick Hospital Foundation and oversees all philanthropic efforts. In 2009, Ms. Barnett received the CFRE Certificate of Fundraising Executives, which identifies a fundraising professional who has demonstrated mastery, proficiency and knowledge in the field against international standards in philanthropy. Ms. Barnett has had the honor of serving as the first woman on the Board of Commissioners for the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District from 2003-2011. Ms. Barnett is on the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Greater Lake Charles, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and is a current member the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy. Ms. Barnett has served as coordinator for the building and the rebuilding of the Lake Charles Millennium Park playground projects and on the Boards of Directors for the Council for A Better Louisiana, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Junior League of Lake Charles, Family Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, Family and Youth Counseling Agency, American Heart Association, 21st Century Community Learning Center Advisory Board, Salvation Army, and the Lake Charles Symphony.  She currently serves as the Secretary of the Board of Port Rail, Inc.

Ben Bourgeois

Mr. Ben Bourgeois is a native of Sulphur and a graduate of McNeese State University. He currently serves as the Business Development and Human Resources Director for Turner Industries Group (Lake Charles). Before joining Turner Industries, Mr. Bourgeois was the Assistant General Manager for Waste Management’s Lake Charles and Central Louisiana Hauling Operations. Mr. Bourgeois donates his time to several civil and service organizations, including the American Heart Association, The Chamber/Southwest Louisiana—where he served as chairman of the board of directors—the GO Group, McNeese State University Football Club, and the United Way of Southwest Louisiana. He and his wife, Christene, are the parents of two children, Krystal and Benjamin. Mr. Bourgeois currently serves as the Treasurer for Port Rail, Inc.

Fred R. Godwin

Mr. Godwin, a native of Oklahoma City, has resided in Lake Charles since early childhood. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science and Law from Louisiana State University and a Juris Doctor degree from its Law School after attending McNeese State University. Mr. Godwin is a Retired District Judge from the 14th Judicial District Court, Calcasieu Parish, where he served 12 years. His public service experience includes serving two terms on the Board of Commissioners for the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District, including two years as its President. He was also elected as a Calcasieu Parish Police Juror, serving one year as its President, and was appointed to the Lake Charles Regional Airport Board. Prior to being elected judge, Mr. Godwin had a general law practice for 31 years, with emphasis on civil litigation. During 18 of those years he was also a businessman with co-ownership in three fast-food restaurants in the Lake Charles area. He was honorably discharged as a captain from the U.S. Army Military Police Corps Reserve and served two active duty stints. He is a member and a Past President of the Calcasieu Kiwanis Club, the McNeese State University Alumni Association, and the McNeese State University Foundation, and presently serves as an advisory member on the latter’s board. Mr. Godwin currently serves as a Board Member of Port Rail, Inc.

Richert Self

Richert Self, small

A native of Lake Charles, Richert Self holds a bachelor’s degree of science in business from McNeese State University, a master’s degree of business administration from the University of New Orleans, and he is a Certified Public Accountant. In 2017, Self was appointed as Deputy Executive Director of the Port of Lake Charles, and he serves as deputy to Executive Director Bill Rase. Self has been part of the Port of Lake Charles administration since 2003 when he joined as Director of Finance and Administration. A native of Lake Charles, Self holds a bachelor’s degree in business from McNeese State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans, and he is a certified public accountant. Self is actively involved with the American Association of Port Authorities, from which he holds a certification of professional port manager. He also works closely with the Gulf Ports Association of the Americas and currently serves as vice president of the Gulf Seaports Marine Terminal Conference. In 2008, Self was a graduate of Leadership Louisiana, and in 2016, he was appointed to the Louisiana Board of International Commerce by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Executive Director

Derek W. Midkiff

Derek Midkiff is a native of Westlake and a lifelong resident of Southwest Louisiana. Mr. Midkiff is a graduate of McNeese State University with a BS in Health and Human Performance. After college, Mr. Midkiff was a high school teacher and football coach. Before joining Port Rail, Mr. Midkiff was employed by the Union Pacific Railroad Company, holding operations positions in Lake Charles and Beaumont, Texas. At the time of his departure from Union Pacific, he was serving as Senior Trainmaster for the Southwest Louisiana and Lafayette territory. He and his wife, Michelle, are the parents of three children, Karleigh, Elijah, and Alexa. Mr. Midkiff is the Executive Director of Port Rail, Inc.