George J. Ryan will end his 20-plus year career as President of Lake Carriers' Association on January 15. Ryan will retire as one of the longest serving President's in the Association's 123-year history. James H. I. Weakley will succeed him.
"George's contributions to the U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleet are immeasurable," said James R. Barker, Chairman of The Interlake Steamship Company, one of the largest U.S.-Flag operators on the Lakes. "He safely navigated the industry through the economic tribulations of the mid-1980s when America's steel industry, Great Lakes shipping's largest customer, teetered on the brink of extinction. When it appeared the Jones Act would be sacrificed in a U.S./Canada trade agreement, it was George who awakened a slumbering U.S. merchant marine to the danger and led the effort to save our Cabotage laws. He rallied the industry again in the mid-1990s when another threat to the Jones Act arose, but through his dynamic leadership, Congressional support overwhelmed the law's opponents and the requirement that cargo moving between two U.S. ports be carried in vessels that are U.S.-owned, U.S.-built, and U.S.-crewed will be secure for years to come."
Ryan was appointed President of LCA on January 1, 1983. He previously was Director - Great Lakes Region, Maritime Administration, a position he assumed in 1975 when he opened the Region Office in Cleveland. Ryan came to the Great Lakes from the American Embassy in London, where he served from 1971 to 1975 as Maritime Administration Representative for the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.
Prior to joining MarAd, Ryan was associated with Grace Lines, where, after serving as a ship's Captain, he was Assistant Port Captain, Safety Director, and Manager - Supporting Services - Marine Division.
Ryan graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point in 1957, and was awarded a Master's Degree from the School of International Affairs, Columbia University, in 1964. As an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve, he served on the guided missile cruiser USS CANBERRA and in several U.S. Naval Reserve units.
Ryan is a Great Lakes Commissioner from the State of Ohio, and a member of the American Bureau of Shipping, The Propeller Club of the United States, the National Cargo Bureau, and the National Waterways Conference. He is Chair of the Board of Visitors of Great Lakes Maritime
Academy. He has been an officer of the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force and the Maritime Cabotage Task Force since the organizations were founded in 1992 and 1995 respectively.