Letter from the President – Dec 2015

Tis the Season! I first want to thank you for an excellent start to our 2015-2016 year! We’ve had five successful events thus far with many more excellent networking activities planned.

In October, our city faced a big loss, and thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of the EL Faro as well as our friends at TOTE Maritime. The board voted to donate $2500 to the families of the El Faro. Forever in our memories and in our thoughts they will remain.

Our club’s activities this year have been in full swing! We kicked off the year with the first ever Family Night with the Jacksonville Sharks and then followed with our September Membership Social. Some of our well known and loved Past Presidents brought back the “Past Presidents Salad” tradition – what a wonderful treat!

I want to extend the club’s appreciation to Michael Hume, President/CEO of W&O Supply who spoke to the club at the CEO Spotlight event earlier in the fall. We thank him for his insights and overview of his organization and how they are making an impact in our local community.

In October, I attended the 89th Annual International Propeller Club Convention in Savannah, GA. I was able to connect with global leadership, support regional activities and foster our common goals as global organization. I’ve put together a full report for all to review. Click here to read a copy of the report.

Last month, we held our 5th Annual Pirate Party Fundraiser benefiting the Safe Harbor Maritime Academy / Boys Home. This event takes the effort and passion of many people in our club and community, as well generous donations from our corporate members, local businesses and individuals. Thank you for your kindness and support. For those that attended, purchased raffle tickets, dressed up and volunteered – this event simply does not happen without you. And last but certainly not least, we must thank our President Elect Tammy Emerson of W&O Supply. Her preparation and energy, love of Safe Harbor, and her heartfelt outreach have been the driving force of the success of this event. We are still waiting on final donations to reach us and once we receive those payments – we will announce our total donation. We look forward to seeing it grow year after year.

Earlier this month, we held our annual Holiday Gala. It was an elegant evening with plenty of reasons to enjoy the season. We know this is a precious time of the year for our members, board, officers and friends of club. I personally want to extend my appreciation for those who joined us. The evening exceeded my expectations and I hope it did for those who attended.

With 2016 just around the corner, we have tons more to accomplish this year! We will kick off the New Year with a new event called LNG 904 on Jan. 28. This symposium will bring together the LNG intelligence of our industry to discuss and educate attendees about this leading edge technology. Art Thomas, Past President and Board Member, along with several of our board members and the Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers are inviting panelists and organizing presentations that will provide us with the latest information about LNG in Jacksonville.

Our calendar is filling up and I encourage all members to visit our website at propclubjax.com for more info about our monthly events. I look forward to seeing you throughout the rest of our calendar year.

I recently sat down with Brian Taylor, President/CEO of JAXPORT to get an update on port development. The Mile Point project is on target and due to be finished by the end of 2016. Harbor deepening has been approved and the JAXPORT team is in full swing campaigning for funds with committed support of more than $11 million from the State of Florida. The rail hub at Blount Island is on schedule and on budget. Through various studies, the overall impact of port developments in our city includes the addition of 15,000 jobs over the next 20 years. We look forward to hosting the State of the Port event on Feb. 11, where Brian will provide the community with his annual port update.

On behalf of the Board, I’d like to congratulate fellow board member Doug Straatsma, Jacksonville Area Port Director of Customs & Border Protection, on his retirement later this month. Doug is a long term board member and has served our country here at home making sure our ports are secured, and our port employees are safe and sound. Thank you Doug, it’s a pleasure to serve side by side with you. We wish you all the best and that this next chapter of your life is fulfilling and rewarding for you and your family.

As always, I want to thank our Corporate Members. Without their generosity, we would not be able to run successful monthly events, support our educational partners and raise awareness and funds for local organizations that have become near and dear to many of us.

Thank you to our Board of Governors and the Executive Officers! It’s been rewarding and joyous working with everyone this year. I look forward to an exciting 2016.

From my family to yours, I wish each of you and yours a holiday season filled with love, kindness, warmth, good cheers and friendship.

Happy Holidays!

Virginia M. Bailey
The Propeller Club of the United States – Port of Jacksonville