Port names overpass for retiring Commissioner Shelton
Port of Beaumont Commissioner C.A. “Pete” Shelton attended his last board meeting Monday, and his colleagues made sure it was a memorable one.
In addition to presenting him with hugs, handshakes and stack of cupcakes with nautical designs, the board voted unanimously to name its new $12.5 million overpass leading into the Orange County Terminal in his honor.
“I am proud to have been a member of the Port of Beaumont Board of Commissioners for the last 30 years and I am so pleased to have been a part of the accomplishments the port has realized,” Shelton said in a statement. “It has truly been a pleasure working with my fellow commissioners and our port staff.”
The newly opened C.A. “Pete” Shelton Overpass is the latest infrastructure project aimed at helping keep the port efficient and ready for expected growth, something Shelton is familiar with in his tenure there.
While serving on the commission, Shelton has helped oversee a $70 million capital improvement project and the development of the Orange County terminal itself. In 2014, the board approved the port’s largest master plan to date — a investment program worth $500 million.
Port Director and CEO Chris Fisher, appointed to his position while Shelton was board president, said Shelton was a voice of fiscal responsibility who also supported a new future for the port.
“Shelton has always been very fiscally conservative and watched that budget very tight, I know because I’ve had to pass a budget before,” Fisher said. “But, when it comes to making the right type of investments for our growth, he’s always been very supportive and progressive in those choices.”
Before Shelton was a commissioner, he served as fire chief for the Beaumont Fire Department for 20 years before retiring in 1996. He had followed his father into the department in 1950, after growing up next door to the fire station at Second Street and McFaddin Avenue.
In 2014, the Lamar Institute of Technology Foundation named an endowment for police and firefighter training in Shelton’s honor.
Shelton had other civic leadership experience in his hometown. He was appointed interim city manager in the aftermath of a 1985 scandal involving the loss of $20 million due to an investment of public money in a fraudulent company.
In 1989, he was selected to fill a vacancy on the commission, while still serving as fire chief. He became board president in 2001.
Fisher said Shelton was retiring from the board at a time when the port was on track for record tonnage and revenues, thanks in part to his leadership.
“He’s been great to work with and a perfect leader for the port and its staff,” Fisher said. “He has been such a great value to the Port of Beaumont over the years and will be truly missed.”