Friday, May 16, 2014

Maritime Achievement Awards

By Mark Edward Nero

The annual Puget Sound Maritime Achievement Award was presented this week at the annual Seattle Maritime Festival luncheon held aboard the cruise ship Carnival Miracle at the Port of Seattle's Pier 91 cruise terminal.

The award began in 1951 when the newly formed Puget Sound Maritime Press Association decided to honor maritime leaders deserving special recognition. Industry segments represented by past recipients include steamship lines and agents, tug and barge operators, passenger vessel operators, port authorities, stevedores, labor and government.

In the past, the award has recognized either a long and distinguished career or a specific achievement. This year's award went to Dr. Gary Stauffer, who not only led a long and distinguished career, but has been instrumental in guiding young men and women into maritime careers through his work with the Youth Maritime Training Association.

The award was presented by Stauffer's longtime friend and industry colleague, Ken Passe, who described some of Gary Stauffer's career and accomplishments.

Gary Stauffer attended the University of Washington where he earned a Master of Science degree focused on the population of Chinook salmon in the Green/Duwamish Rivers and, ultimately, his PhD on the development of a growth model for salmon in hatcheries.

He began his permanent federal career in 1973 with National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), ultimately serving as the Director of the Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering (RACE) Division.

Passe pointed out that in 2001, Stauffer was awarded the NOAA Administrator’s Award, for his role in the development of new research policies. In 2005, he was awarded a Department of Commerce Silver Medal for advancing Bering Sea research.

Stauffer retired in 2006 after 33 years, and was approached to assume the role of President of the all-volunteer Youth Maritime Training Association in 2006 from retiring founder Norm Manly. As YMTA President, Stauffer served on many maritime and education boards including Ballard Maritime Academy Board and the Propeller Club. He worked tirelessly, raising funds, reaching out to maritime education programs in the area. In 2011, Stauffer was recognized by a local television station as a Kids First Mentor because he spent a lot of his time giving back to the community through working with youth in both the Youth Maritime Training Association and Ballard High School Maritime Academy and connecting youngsters with prospective employers in all areas of the maritime industry.

The winner of the Seattle Propeller Club’s 2014 Public Official of the Year Award, also presented at the maritime Luncheon, is Representative Rick Larsen of Washington State’s 2nd Congressional District, encompassing the City of Everett and Bellingham, Island and San Juan counties, and part of Snohomish, Whatcom, and Skagit counties. This award recognizes the contributions and support of a local, state, or federal policymaker or public official who has demonstrated an understanding and appreciation for the regional maritime industry and those who earn a salary or wage from it.

Rep. Larsen, who has served as the member of Congress for Washington’s 2nd Congressional District for the past 13 years, was recognized for his leadership on the House Armed Services and Transportation & Infrastructure Committees in supporting key US-flag-maritime issues as the Jones Act, Maritime Security Program, Title XI shipbuilding financing, and fishing fleet recapitalization. Furthermore, Mr. Larsen is noted as a firm and persistent voice in Congress for promoting trade initiatives that will help assure cargo to our regional ports and government vessel construction and ship placement for Puget Sound bases.

“During my time in Congress I have always appreciated working with the maritime community, which is a critical component of the economy and culture of the Northwest. I am honored to receive this award. I look forward to continuing to make progress on issues like fleet recapitalization and Arctic policy that will grow our maritime industry,” Rep. Larsen said.

Previous award winners include Senators Gorton and Murray, Congressman Norm Dicks, Seattle Port Commissioners Pat Davis, Bill Bryant, and Gael Tarleton, along with state senator Ed Murray –prior to becoming Seattle’s current mayor.

The annual Maritime Festival Luncheon, attended by several hundred participants, is sponsored by Vigor Marine and presented by the Seattle Propeller Club and the Port of Seattle as part of the Seattle Maritime Festival.