2019 Maritime Dinner Lauds Jim Black for Long-Standing Dedication to Maritime Community

From ship to shore, Houston’s maritime community gathered at the Bayou City Event Center to honor the contributions of Jim Black, president and CEO of Maran Shipping Agencies, for his enduring dedication and commitment to the port region. Presented by the Greater Houston Port Bureau on August 17, 2019, Queen of the Fleet sponsors Buffalo Marine Service, Inc., Enterprise Products Partners L.P., ExxonMobil, Port Houston, and Richardson Companies helped make the event a superlative evening of celebration.

Accolades from industry leaders and public officials highlighted the recognition program. City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner kicked off the evening’s tributes with a proclamation from the City of Houston naming August 17, 2019, as Jim Black Day. Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia followed with a proclamation from Harris County. Both officials noted the importance of Black’s work in area maritime organizations and the local communities as well as stressing the significance of the Houston Ship Channel to the health of the region’s economy.

Black’s work with the St. Pius X High School Foundation Board of Trustees was acclaimed by Sister Donna Pollard, prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Houston, first of the event’s keynote speakers. She noted the wise guidance he frequently provided the Foundation Board, resulting in multiple benefits to the school as well as the generous support of both Black, and his late wife, Beth.

Second keynote speaker, Tom Marian, general counsel of Buffalo Marine Services, acclaimed Black’s steadfast leadership style with humor and appreciation: “… he fears no challenge. When he was asked to move down from Boston to expand Moran Gulf’s business in truly Yankee fashion, he gathered all his worldly belongings and he moved south. When Jim was faced with tough economic times, he grabbed a suitcase and flew around the world to solidify relationships . . . he further diversified Moran’s portfolio of services and he succeeded in expanding their market share in the region. His passion to deliver unparalleled services, and, most importantly, his extraordinary loyalty to people is noteworthy.”

Black expressed his heartfelt thanks for the evening’s commendations and voiced his admiration for the good-will exhibited in the maritime world. In speaking of his arrival at the Texas Gulf 44 years ago, he said: “That same close-knit community warmth that I had experienced in Boston, Providence, and Portland was evident in Houston, Galveston, Port Arthur, and Corpus Christi. Communities joined together with one primary objective: to move ships in and out of port both safely and efficiently.”

Innovation, adaptability, and tradition were traits named by Black as positive attributes of working and living in Houston’s oceangoing community. He also stressed the importance of industry working together to improve the Houston Ship Channel. “I implore all of you here tonight to put aside differences and focus on our common goals … one goal in particular that will ensure Houston remains the capital of shipping in America: the widening and deepening of the Houston Ship Channel.”

Briefly addressing the future, Black also cited the importance of guiding a new generation of mariners. “I choose to believe that success is earned with faith, integrity, and willingness to work with others to develop young people. The next generation of mariners and shippers will depend on us for education and guidance. The example that we set for them, and yes, the wisdom that we impart is critical for all of our continued success.”

April Bailey, executive vice president of commercial banking for Amegy Bank and chair of the Port Bureau’s dinner committee, concluded the evening of tribute by presenting Black with a replica of the USS Constitution. The presentation of the ship replica to the honoree has been a Port Bureau tradition for many years.

The Port Bureau’s 90th Annual Maritime Dinner was an evening of celebration, recognition, and fine dining enjoyed by nearly 800 attendees. The Greater Houston Port Bureau is privileged to serve the port region and to honor leaders and companies offering outstanding commitment to Houston’s maritime community.

  • Date September 5, 2019
  • Tags 2019 August