December 22, 2017
More than 150 guests gathered on Florida’s Space Coast in October for the 91st annual convention of the International Propeller Club of the United States, in order to learn about industry trends, discuss ways to strengthen the Club and its Port chapters, and to conduct the organization’s business, including the election of leadership for the next year and beyond.
A number of industry leaders took part in conference sessions exploring current maritime topics. Florida Governor Rick Scott addressed the opening night dinner, while U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, a former astronaut, appeared by video because he was unable to leave Washington, D.C., due to Congressional responsibilities. In a luncheon speech, the new U.S. Maritime Administrator, RADM Mark H. “Buz” Buzby, USN (retired), expressed his support for the Jones Act, cargo preference, and the maritime security program and noted their importance in maintaining strategic sealift capability, and discussed the role of the nation’s Ready Reserve Fleet in hurricane response.
Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, offered a keynote address on the role of port modernization in economic prosperity. Federal Maritime Commissioner William Doyle spoke about liner consolidation and participated in a panel discussion on cybersecurity, and other leaders from government and industry also participated in panels on liquid natural gas and port infrastructure—both shore-side and water-side considerations. At a closing luncheon, Canaveral Port Authority CEO Capt. John Murray reported on the infrastructure improvements underway or recently completed: a channel deepening and widening project completed in 2016 and an additional deepening project under consideration, plus one new cruise terminal completed and another one under construction.
In their annual business session, representatives of Club Port chapters elected a leadership slate for the coming year. (See story below.
) They also adopted a bylaws amendment to rename one of the Club's international regions as the "North and Central Europe region."
In addition, a policy document that reflects the Club's position on a number of maritime issues was adopted by the convention. This "Statement of Principles" was developed by the Club’s Positions and Resolutions Committee, which studied resolutions that had been adopted at previous conventions, with the goal of capturing the Club’s policy concerns in a single document. The Statement of Principles and a shorter summary were adopted by the convention, and both documents are available on the Club’s website.
The Propeller Club Port of Port Canaveral was the host for this year’s convention. Chartered in 1999, this Club chapter plays an active role in local leadership, including active engagement with the Canaveral Port Authority's Board of Commissioners. The chapter draws more than 100 members from the area’s maritime industry, which is a major contributor to the area’s economy. The region’s aerospace industry has relied on access to the port since the days of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo manned spaceflight missions, and today it is a base of operations for SpaceX and its experiments with reusable rockets.
With its convenient location near Orlando’s tourism industry, the Canaveral Port Authority has also become the world’s second largest cruise port. Other port activities include container, bulk and naval operations. Special events at the Kennedy Space Center and at one of the cruise terminals offered a look at these important industries, and attendees also took a bus tour of the port facilities.
2017 International Awards
For its leadership, its commitment to community service, and its efforts in hosting the annual convention, the Propeller Club Port of Port Canaveral was named the Propeller Club's 2017 International Port of the Year. Convention co-chairman Capt. Rich Grimison of the Port Canaveral Harbor Pilots and a past president of the Port was honored as 2017 International Member of the Year.
Michael R. (Mike) Reagoso, III, Vice President, Mid-Atlantic, for McAllister Towing and a member of the Propeller Club Port of Baltimore, was selected as the 2017 International Maritime Person of the Year. He was recognized for his leadership in the port communities of Baltimore and Philadelphia, where he has championed efforts to address environmental concerns while also remaining financially responsible. He also serves as Chairman of the Baltimore Port Alliance, is a past president and board member of the Club's Port of Baltimore, and is on the board of both the Seaman's Church Institute and the Baltimore International Seafarers Center.