Captain’s Corner – Company Stories: Everyone has a Good One

The subject of family came up quite bit in conversation around the office as we returned from all our spring break happenings. Of course, it’s really not that unusual to chat about family, but since our industry has a very distinguished legacy of passing professions on from one generation to the next, it reminded me of the unique place family has in the maritime world.
The legacy of family in ocean-going businesses can be witnessed in all our ports. As the Port Bureau staff tracks vessels in and out of the Texas ports, the vessel names often reflect generations of family ties. A glance at their websites might feature a historical photo of the company’s founder, sporting a jaunty mustache and fixing a stern eye at the camera. Such a little history trek via the web can take up more time than you want to invest, but the traditions of seafaring families are inspiring. The cabin boy who worked his way to tugboat owner and captain through hard work, or the merchant’s speculative cotton venture that spawned an empire are the makings of a PBS miniseries. However, in the case of quite a few Port Bureau member companies, the family ties have become the family ladders to today’s success.
Over the years, several Port Bureau member companies have been featured in our magazine with an emphasis on their family roots that extend back several generations. Most recently, readers may remember our story on Buffalo Marine Service, Inc., and Pat Studdert’s father, Tom Studdert, who originated the company in 1935. Pat now runs the company with his son, Tim. On page 8, you’ll see the fourth generation is under recruitment as they recently christened one of their newest boats, the C.J. Studdert, after Tim’s son, Carter (C.J.) Studdert.
We’ve also spotlighted Danner’s Incorporated, the security firm, started by D.D. Danner in the late 1930s. It is now in its fourth generation of family leaders. When he became president of Gulf Winds in 2014, Todd Stewart, son of founder Steve Stewart, recapped his father’s exceptional story during a magazine interview. In 2010, Jürgen Schröder, CEO of Schröder Marine Services, told of his journey from seaman to opening Schröder Marine over 30 years ago. Now his son, Karl, is taking a leadership role in the company. Last year, Marcia Fashingbauer shared how she initiated and built Excargo Services with the skills she learned from her family’s food packaging business to bring new logistics solutions to her family’s firm.
By our count, 30 Port Bureau member companies were family owned and/or have family management ties that go back several generations. They have fascinating stories to tell and a rich legacy to draw on as they face future challenges. The Port Bureau has its own legacy of more than eight decades of promoting, advocating and educating to increase commerce in the port region. I have asked our magazine editor, Kyle Beam, to put together more of our own story sometime in the future.
Although I’ve talked about family ties, every company has a success story to share that is inspiring to all of us, and we’d like to publish more member company stories. If you are interested in sharing your story, give me or Kyle a call at 713-678-4300, or you can email Kyle at This is an impressive port community. We are all part of “the town that built the port which built the city” – and we have a great history to share.

  • Date April 18, 2017
  • Tags April 2017