The Seattle Propeller Club announced the winner of the 2013 Puget Sound Maritime Achievement Award as Captain John Veentjer, Puget Sound Marine Exchange Executive Director, aboard Princess Cruises cruise vessel Sapphire Princess while berthed on Pier 66 at the Port of Seattle’s Bell Street Cruise Terminal during the 62nd annual Seattle Maritime Festival Luncheon. The Club also shared news of the selection of Captain John Dwyer, Officer In Charge, Marine Inspection and the Chief of the Inspection Division at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, as this year’s recipient of the Seattle Propeller Club’s Public Official of the Year Award. This award recognizes the contributions and support of a local, state, or federal policymaker or official who has demonstrated a keen understanding and appreciation for the maritime industry and those who earn a living from it.
Captain John Veentjer USCG Ret., a 1973 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, was formally Chief of the 13th CG District’s Marine Safety Office and Commanding Officer of the CG Marine Safety Office/Philadelphia. He also currently serves as the chair of the Puget Sound Harbor Safety Committee. According to Rich Berkowitz, Operations Director, Transportation Institute, “John is known throughout the waterfront as someone who will always offer his experienced hand in all maritime manners and has a difficult time saying no to assisting with projects promoting maritime commerce, marine safety, seafarers, and guardsmen. He remains an even-handed and trusted voice.” The Puget Sound Maritime Achievement Award recognizes either a long and distinguished career or a specific achievement which has resulted in great credit or economic benefit to the maritime interests of Puget Sound.
Captain John Dwyer, this year’s Seattle Propeller Club’s Public Official of the Year Award winner, is a graduate of Gonzaga University and the University of Washington’s School of Marine Affairs, and is a Department of Homeland Security Senior Fellow. He also was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, retiring in 2005 as a Captain while serving as the Pacific Area Reserve Chief of Staff. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, John was asked by the Department of Homeland Security to organize a regional Area Maritime Security Committee. His success at this effort is shared by Vince O’Halloran, Branch Agent, Sailors’ Union of the Pacific, “John was tireless in his outreach to all within the maritime community and his constant portrayal of the USCG as an “honest broker.” By assimilating and then explaining information to all relevant “stakeholders” John Dwyer has achieved the remarkable status as a person all “stakeholders” respect.” This is just one example of the many initiatives John has taken on in his role to enhance safety and security on our waters and around our port areas.