Profiles (f The Year's Tep Newsmakers
John Dane III is the chairman, president and CEO of Halter Marine Group. The company, as most maritime industry executives know, has been quite busy for the past 12 months, primarily with a slew of acquisitions which has expanded its business both domestically and internationally. Halter Marine Group is an acknowledged leader in the Gulf of Mexico maritime business, and has made great strides to ensure that its presence is felt worldwide. Recently, for example, Halter Marine Inc. and Yantai Raffles Shipyard of China formed a joint venture — Halter Yantai Raffles International — to market and build vessels in China.
Mr. Dane was also recently selected as the Propeller Club-Port of New Orleans "Maritime Man of the Year" for 1998.
In August, 1987 Mr. Dane sold his Moss Point Marine, Inc. to Trinity Industries, Inc. and became president of the newly formed Trinity Marine Group. He was given executive authority over his former shipyard and the three operating Trinity shipyards — Halter Marine, Inc., in Moss Point, Miss., Equitable Shipyards, Inc., in New Orleans, and Gretna Machine & Iron Works, Inc., in Harvey, La. He also had custodial authority over two inactive shipyards, Halter's facility in Lockport, La., and 84 Equitable's shipyard in Madisonville, La. Despite the "oil bust" of the time, he quickly re-opened the two inactive shipyards and began a growth path that took the Trinity Marine Group from those four original operating shipyards to 21, and from approximately 850 employees to 3,200 and annual revenues of $40 million to $400 million in 1996.
In September 1996, under the name Halter Marine Group, Inc., Mr. Dane began a spin off on the American Stock Exchange of the 10 Trinity shipyards that build and repair powered vessel and double hull ocean-going barges.
On March 31, 1997 Trinity made a distribution to its shareholders of its remaining interest in Halter. Halter Marine Group, Inc. was now a separate entity and Mr. Dane quickly initiated an aggressive acquisition plan that has taken Halter Marine Group, Inc. from 10 shipyards in late 1996, to 21 in early 1998. Those shipyards in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida now employ more than 6,000, while shipbuilding joint ventures in the Philippines and Venezuela employ hundreds more. Under Mr. Dane's dynamic leadership, Halter has become the nation's seventh largest shipbuilder, with revenues for fiscal year 1998 are expected to exceed $800 million.
Shipyards, however, are not the focus of all the company's recent acquisitions. As part of Halter's stated goal of vertical integration, Halter acquired three companies in Minneapolis, Slidell, and Covington that design and build equipment used on vessels and drilling rigs. Known as the Halter Engineered Products Group, these companies make Halter a single source, seamless provider of rigs and vessels for a wide variety of uses.
In November, Mr. Dane met another of his goals with the ground breaking for the construction of a training facility in Moss Point to train people in the shipbuilding crafts the skills to work in Halter's five Mississippi shipyards. The training school is just one part of a massive "re-engineering" of the entire company initiated by Mr. Dane to make Halter even more efficient while increasing shareholder value.
Mr. Dane has more than 25 years of experience in marine industry management. He began his career with Halter Marine, Inc. in New Orleans where he served as facilities manager in charge of designing and supervising construction of three shipyard expansion projects. At the time of his resignation in 1980, he held the title of assistant to the vice president of production.
Mr. Dane is a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans; receiving a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering in 1972 and a Doctorate in Civil Engineering from Tulane University in 1975.