Louisiana Steam Train Association / Garyville Timbermill Joint Venture

The Louisiana Steam Train Association and the Garyville Timbermill Museum have entered into a Joint Venture agreement. The two groups will work together to raise money for much-needed repairs to the museum that Hurricane Ida damaged. The group will be working to design and build a new home for SP 745 and her vintage railcars.

RJ Ory

RJ is a political powerhouse in St. John the Baptist Parish and was instrumental in securing over $4,000,000 in funding to support the refurbishment of the timbermill and moving LASTA rail operations to Garyville.

With a degree in Construction Management from Louisiana State University, RJ maintains a Louisiana General Contractors license and he currently serves as the Executive Vice President for Cyprexx Services, LLC. Before joining Cyprexx, RJ worked as a Construction Manager in the Petrochemical and Refining industry.

In addition to the Joint Venture, RJ serves on the Timbermill board and is active with the local Historical Planning Commission.

Walt Pierce
Vice President

Walt says he got his love of all things trains from his father, who worked for the Southern Railway as a car knocker (inspector) at Southern's old New Orleans Bernadotte Street coach yards and as a railway mail clerk.

A communications consultant for more than twenty years as sole proprietor of Walt Pierce Communications, Walt previously spent 25 years in broadcast news as a Reporter, Managing Editor, Assignment Editor and News Director. But in 1999, Walt made a career change from broadcast journalism to public relations, first as the Director of Communications for the New Orleans Public School System and for the last 20 years as the Public Information Officer for Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Walt is also involved in television and radio production as an Associate Director, Talent Coordinator and Stage Manager. He has been employed by all of the major national and regional broadcast networks working behind the scenes at professional and college football, basketball and baseball, including the New Orleans Saints, the New Orleans Pelicans and numerous Super Bowls broadcasts.

In the community, Walt is active in several arenas, including serving as Vice-President, Board of Directors, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office Special Reserve Deputy Unit; President, Louisiana Steam Train Association (LASTA) and Board Member of the ACE Mentor Program of New Orleans. Pierce also served six years on the Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee (ACAC).

Matt Anderson

Matt became involved with LASTA in late 2004 when he learned about SP745’s and its crew’s radio troubles during a test run of the locomotive. Matt was successful in solving SP745’s radio equipment issues prior to the Bicentennial trip. Since then, he has continued to work on expanding and improving LASTA’s communication systems. Matt also helps maintain various electrical and electronic systems around the yard.

He has also volunteered his time to manage LASTA’s website and social media account to keep train enthusiasts updated on SP745 and LASTA events. Matt currently works in the telecommunications industry, providing technical services for broadcast and the wireless data industry.

Colin Duhe'
Nick Berg
General Counsel

Mr. Berg's practice includes a wide variety of commercial litigation. He represents individual and institutional investors, public pension funds, and hedge funds in investment disputes with investment banks, investment advisors, and brokerage firms.

Mr. Berg also counsels businesses and individuals on their legal rights to navigate disputes without litigation. In addition to his commercial litigation practice, Mr. Berg has represented property owners in insurance claims seeking recovery of property damage and loss of business income.

Dottie Bellto

Dottie and her staff provide a broad spectrum of services, from creative event planning of multi-location conferences and summits, multi-day extravaganzas, transportation, and registration to total meeting management. Dottie serves on numerous boards, associations, corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Dottie was a significant event planner for the most recent Republican National Convention held in New Orleans, manages the annual Bayou Classic and manages the efforts of numerous other clients.

John Fitzmorris

University of New Orleans (UNO) history professor John Fitzmorris supports LASTA and SP-745. He is working to develop a new railroad job training program with Bill Langkopp and a local junior college.

John recently assisted with our historic place designation and is helping to plan exhibits for the future museum site.

Larry Holmes

Larry is a senior partner at one of Louisiana's largest CPA firms, representing major local non-profits. His team provides auditing and assurance services, litigation support, as well as business consulting and valuation.

Bill Langkopp

Bill Langkopp is an Executive Vice President at the Louisiana Hotel & Lodging Association. As a registered lobbyist, Bill represents clients in both Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C. Bill joined the LASTA board in 2021.

With over 50 years of cumulative experience in the hotel industry, he has been instrumental in our receiving funding and designation of SP 745 as Louisiana's official Steam Locomotive.

Rich Lemieux
Compliance Officer

Richard earned a degree in Business and Economics from the University of New Orleans in 1971. He served as the business manager on major construction projects throughout the United States, Canada, and Kuwait. He started working at Anheuser Busch in St. Louis in 1979, where he eventually retired as manager of Bid Activity and Contract Administration for global projects.