By SHERI GASSAWAY
Becky Sleeper, St. Louis port agent and secretary-treasurer of the Greater St. Louis and Vicinity Port Council, is stepping down from both posts.
Sleeper, of Hillsboro, MO, served as St. Louis port agent for the Seafarers International Union of North America since 1994. She was appointed secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Port Council in 2000.
Sleeper started her maritime career working on merchant ships 31 years ago, was the first female to be elected to the position of port agent in 1994. Since then, she said four or five more women have moved on to management positions in the industry.
“I have had a very rewarding career,” Sleeper said. “My dream is to see more diversity on the port council and on the management side of the industry since we represent such a diverse membership.”
HONORED FOR EXCELLENCE
During the St. Louis Port Council’s Sept. 22 meeting, Sleeper was commended for her work by the council and the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department by Dan Duncan, the department’s executive secretary-treasurer, who traveled from Washington, D.C. for the event.
Duncan presented Sleeper with a plaque on behalf of the department and the council for her 15 years of devoted, dedicated support to the causes and issues of working people.
About 45 people attended the luncheon, including Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO, Missouri House Minority Leader Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis), secretary-treasurer of the Missouri AFL-CIO and a member of IBEW Local 1, and Pat White, president of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council. Many other high-ranking labor, government and business officials also attended.
“Becky and I have worked together for years, and there’s no way I would miss being here today to present her with this honor,” Duncan said. “Thank you for your service to our industry.”
Jack Martorelli, president of the port council, added: “Becky’s done an admirable job. She’s been a good friend for many years, and we’re going to miss her.”
The council unanimously appointed Chad Partridge to acting port agent and secretary-treasurer.
“Chad will do a great job,” Sleeper said. “He’s been filling in for me when I’ve been out and knows the books.”
STILL IN THE GAME
Although Sleeper is retiring, she is still planning to serve on the Jefferson County Port Authority’s Board of Directors.
She is also hoping to do some volunteer work with the Delta Queen steamboat, which recently selected Kimmswick, MO, in Jefferson County as its new home port and headquarters.
Sleeper has been actively involved in bringing the historic steamboat to the St. Louis area for the last year. She said the boat is expected to create 175 new jobs and bring in about $36 million a year in new revenues for Jefferson County.