Harbor committee to honor Staten Island Ferry’s James DeSimone

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(NEW YORK) — The Working Harbor Committee of New York and New Jersey (WHC) will honor Capt. James DeSimone at its 14th annual Gala Award Reception. The event will be held on Tuesday, May 14 (6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) at the Downtown Association, 60 Pine Street, New York. The award will be presented at 7 p.m. by Andrew Genn, senior vice president, ports and transportation, New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC).

The WHC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen awareness of the working harbor’s history and vitality today, and its opportunities for the future by involving people in learning how the harbor works and what it does, educating people in the rich and challenging history of the harbor, and making people aware of the need to build and sustain the working harbor. Its Hidden Harbor tours and annual tugboat race competition (held on the Hudson River during Labor Day weekend) are well known. Not so well known, but of vital importance, is WHC’s work with high school students, pointing them toward maritime career opportunities.

The award has had some well-known recipients in recent years, including Bethann Rooney, a top executive in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Port Division; Dr. Roberta Weisbrod, former chairwoman of the WHC and now executive director of the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association; Capt. Andrew McGovern, president of the Sandy Hook Pilots, and John Atkins, president of Global Container Terminals.

DeSimone, an influential member of the local maritime community in New York Harbor, is deputy commissioner in New York City’s Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), and chief operating officer for the Staten Island Ferry. Prior to joining NYCDOT in 2004, he held senior management positions in the high-speed ferry and towing and transportation sectors of the maritime industry. From 1987 to 1996, DeSimone was commandant of cadets and master of the training ship Empire State VI at the State University of New York Maritime College at Fort Schuyler (SUNY), where he was responsible for all college activities external to academic affairs, in addition to the operation of the training ship. During his seagoing career beginning in the early 1970s, he sailed in all shipboard capacities up to and including master and as port captain for various companies. His SUNY involvement goes way back to childhood days; DeSimone grew up on the campus, where his father was a faculty member and department head.

For further information about the event, email workingharbor@aol.com or call (212) 757-1600. To purchase tickets online, or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.workingharbor.org.

By Professional Mariner Staff