29016 members and growing – the largest networking group in the maritime industry!


Sunday, January 29, 2023

Maritime Logistics Professional

The Maritime Person of the Year

Posted to Global Maritime Analysis with Joseph Keefe (by on April 2, 2019

  • William Gallagher, President, International Registries, Inc.
  • Jim Lawrence, Bill Gallagher and MMA President Fran McDonald
  • Seven Emery Rice medal winners: Geoffrey Wilkenson, Buckley McAllister, Robert Somerville, Gerhard Kurz, this year's winner, Bill Gallagher, Christopher Wiernicki, ADM William Flanagan and MMA President ADM Fran McDonald.

IRI’s William Gallagher headlines the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s annual presentation of the Emery Rice Medal at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Gallagher’s belief in the value and concept of a public education, coupled with a life of achievement for the global waterfront was the perfect match for the 128 year old academy’s values and mission set.

New York, NY: On Monday night, at the Plaza Hotel in the city that never sleeps, Admiral Fran McDonald, proud graduate of Massachusetts Maritime Academy and now president of what he insists is the best maritime university in the nation, extolled the virtues of the storied school and also had the honor of introducing this year’s MMA Maritime Person of the Year.

The annual gala event, first and foremost, serves as a spectacular way to link the true giants in the industries that the academy serves with tomorrow’s leaders – today’s cadets – in those very industries. It is also the largest and most important industry recognition event and, concurrently, serves as the school’s largest fundraiser for cadet scholarships.

Making it all possible, in part, were industry sponsors such as Clean Harbors Corporation, the Marshall Islands Registry, the American Bureau of Shipping, Able Services, Kelliher Group/Morgan Stanley, industry icon Gerhard Kurz, McAllister Towing and Transportation, Moran Towing, Noragh Analytics, Norton Rose Fulbright, Poten & Partners, Ridgebury Tankers, Scorpio Tankers, Seward & Kissel, GT Wilkinson Companies and scores of additional donors.

The Captain Emery Rice Medal

The Academy strikes the Captain Emery Rice medal in the name of one of the most noteworthy alumni in the history of the college. Captain Rice, an 1897 graduate of the Academy, and as Captain of the US Mongolia, is credited with being the first steamship to sink a German submarine in World War I. During the Great War, Captain Rice made over 40 voyages across the Atlantic in support of the US troops. Captain Rice was recognized twice by Theodore Roosevelt for his maritime skill and bravery as a shining example of American courage and fighting spirit.

The Medal was first awarded in 1995. On Monday night, six previous Emery Rice Medal recipients were in attendance. McDonald recognized each in turn, including the inaugural Emery Rice medal recipient, Admiral William Bud Flanagan.

The 2019 Emery Rice Medal recipient, Bill Gallagher, President of IRI

Clay Maitland, the Managing Partner of International Registries, was the clear choice to say a few words about Mr. Gallagher to the gathered throng, and his usual witty and gregarious style, he did not disappoint. Maitland started out by saying, simply, “Bill made the Marshall Islands.” And, he added, Gallagher did so with humility and modesty. Never one to take the spotlight, Gallagher has instead spent a career assembling and managing the best of industry under the IRI umbrella, eventually taking the registry from tough times all the way to the second largest in the world.

For his part, Gallagher, and in his usually understated style, told MLPro, “I didn’t have prepared remarks for tonight but instead wanted to say some good things about our staff. We have great people who are the reason for our success.” Indeed, insists Gallagher, the key to IRI and the Marshall Islands flag has always been, and always will be, it’s people. Nevertheless, we pressed and asked him to reflect on his long and successful career. Gallagher offered, “My proudest achievement as a registry was the RMI shattering the duopoly that had previously been the province of Panama and Liberia for sixty years.”

MMA by the numbers …

On Monday night, ADM McDonald also schooled the audience with a sense of where the school has been, and how far it has come. For example, the Academy holds four core mainstays in its education model; 100% Bachelor of Science programs, hands on labs and cutting edge technology, 100% co-operative education – six months for each and every cadet, 100% membership in the Regiment of Cadets and 100% civic engagement and volunteerism. MMA’s cadets generously make time to give back. Indeed, said McDonald, last year alone, the school’s cadets volunteered over 10,000 hours to charitable organizations, not-for-profits and to those who have a steeper climb in life.

For the typical cadet, that’s a lot to handle in addition to academics and an otherwise highly disciplined college lifestyle. At the same time, it is no accident that those very same graduates find themselves in demand. For example, and in March, over 140 organizations with more than 500 job openings descended on the Buzzards Bay campus to recruit from that impressive collection of eager skill sets. Before all that can happen, however, it is clear that nights like this first help to make it all possible.

Real Purpose: Bill Gallagher and MMA

Eventually, it was time to formally introduce this year’s honoree. Jim Lawrence, the Founder of Marine Money and the MTI Network, and long time host of this week’s world-renowned CMA Shipping conference, got the nod.Like Maitland, he also did not disappoint. As Gallagher donned the Emery Rice medal, it was a memorable moment; well deserved and enthusiastically received by the gathered group maritime stakeholders.

Meanwhile, and back in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts – in the administration building of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy – there is a plaque that commemorates the words of the nation’s first Maritime Administrator, Joseph P. Kennedy. First year MMA cadets are required to memorize it. It reads simply, “You can have a Merchant Marine with first class men even if they sail second class ships, but second class men can't be trusted with the finest ships afloat.”

In truth, Gallagher and MMA are more than a good match for one another. A product of public schools himself; this year’s Emery Rice winner shares the same set of values and early years as most of Mass. Maritime’s student body. And, as proud as he was of being chosen for the honor, Gallagher characteristically pointed the spotlight onto others, telling MLPro, “As far as our real purpose tonight, Mass. Maritime is a wonderful institution offering a first rate maritime education within a state school system. I am a product of the Maryland Pennsylvania State school systems and am a firm believer of a public education, as that is the great equalizer in our society.”

I don’t think anyone could have said it better. Bravo Zulu, Bill. MLPro.

* * *

Joseph Keefe is a 1980 (Deck) graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and lead commentator of MaritimeProfessional.com. Additionally, he is Editor of both Maritime Logistics Professional and MarineNews magazines. He can be reached at [email protected] or at [email protected] MaritimeProfessional.com is the largest business networking site devoted to the marine industry. Each day thousands of industry professionals around the world log on to network, connect, and communicate.