Texas Maritime head takes over the helm at Kings Point

Rear Adm. Allen B. Worley becomes the 10th superintendent of Kings Point. One of his first tasks will be to address the school’s financial practices, which have come under criticism. (Courtesy U.S. Merchant Marine Academy)

A Navy rear admiral with more than three decades of military and education experience became the 10th superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy on Nov. 14, 2008.

Rear Adm. Allen B. Worley came to Kings Point after serving as superintendent of the Texas Maritime Academy.

A 1974 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Worley holds advanced degrees from Webster University and the Naval War College. He served in various training and combat roles during his naval career. He was a professor of naval science and commanding officer of the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at the University of Illinois.

Worley, 56, succeeded a friend, Vice Adm. Joseph D. Stewart, a 44-year veteran of the Marine Corps and its civilian Executive Service. Stewart retired in September after a decade on the job.

“I consider this a great honor and the highest responsibility of my career to provide the leadership of this important national asset,” Worley said. He added that he was not daunted by the academy’s tumultuous history and periodic fights for survival.

“I was very familiar with the program at Kings Point and I truly felt this was an opportunity that my career had prepared me for and the door had opened at the right time,” Worley said. “I saw that as one of the challenges and it sort of fit my background. I had been a deputy director for programming on the Navy staff and I was very familiar with how you work a bill through Congress.”

He said he knows many of the personnel at the U.S. Maritime Administration well and can work with them effectively. “It increased my confidence in wanting to move and believing that I would be able to help stabilize the situation at the academy.”

One of Worley’s biggest challenges will be dealing with allegations of misuse of Kings Point funds raised in a Department of Transportation report last July. At that time, the Senate Appropriations Committee asked the Government Accountability Office to conduct an audit of spending practices at the academy. The report is expected in the spring.

“I don’t think it’s troubling at all,” Worley said of the audit. “What it will do is give a good, clear breakdown of where the issues were at the academy and the Maritime Administration, which for a number of years did not have a chief financial officer,” so there are financial issues that were not documented properly at the academy and the federal agency. “I think the GAO will give specific direction on how to do things the right way and we’ve already moved in the direction that the GAO wanted us to move, so by the time the report comes out we will already have everything in place to correct those deficiencies that they identify.”

Worley said one of his major goals is to “move the academy into a leadership role on a global scale as the primary maritime training university in the world.”

To do that, he said, Kings Point must not only continue to supply highly trained officers for oceangoing vessels, but “also for inland waterways.” •

Bill Bleyer

By Professional Mariner Staff