May 2016 Commerce Club

By Judith Schultz, GHPB

The May 12 Commerce Club Luncheon at Brady’s Landing recognized CAPT Brian Penoyer for his service as U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Commander of Sector Houston-Galveston over the last three years. Expressing his appreciation for the turn-out and support of the maritime community represented at the event, CAPT Penoyer in turn paid tribute to the men and women who serve with him in his duties.

“We do have some pretty cool assets we work with in the Coast Guard,” said Penoyer as he introduced slides exhibiting the Coast Guard’s newest, most sophisticated cutter and equipment, “but you should think of it as this: the people! Boats, ships, planes … they don’t operate or maintain themselves … I wish you could meet all my Coast Guardsmen; and I’d like to introduce you to a few.”

“Jesse Weaver is an amazing guy, originally from Houston and happy to be back,” Penoyer said, showing Weaver in a helicopter prepared for a rescue mission. “During the recent flooding, he was ‘constantly scanning to see that one person that might be clinging to any object … realizing we might be their only chance of survival’.”

“This is Catherine Smith, electrician second class,” Penoyer continued. “She has worked on almost every kind of Coast Guard cutter during her 15 years of service.” Penoyer showed Smith conducting maintenance aboard the USCGC Skipjack. “She is married, with two kids and is expecting her third.”

Describing the diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and expectations of the people as they joined the Coast Guard, Penoyer said they committed to the USCG for many reasons: the opportunity to travel while serving their country, to gain new work expertise, to become better educated, ‘to do greater things’ and, sometimes, to stay ‘close to the water’. Penoyer often punctuated the descriptions with “We were able to accommodate!”GIS-ad-5x7.5

Although many Coast Guardsman joined the USCG with the intention to serve just a few years to fulfill personal goals, CAPT Penoyer shared how they had made the Coast Guard their career and their calling. “Master Chief Purdy has been in the Coast Guard for 22 years. He joined to complete four years of service and return to college. He stayed because of the shipmates he made and pride in the missions the Coast Guard accomplished.” Master Chief Purdy was pictured aboard the USCGC Skipjack displaying the Admiral’s Cup Award the Skipjack crew won during the District 8 Patrol Boat Round-Up. “I’ve met the best and the brightest America has to offer,” Penoyer emphasized as he summed up his remarks. “Rest assured. America is in good hands!”

Congressman Brain Babin (R-TX36), via a brief videotaped message, thanked CAPT Penoyer for his service in Sector Houston-Galveston. He particularly commending Penoyer for his work during the Carla Maersk-Conti Peridot incident on the Houston Ship Channel, and presented him with an American flag flown over the U.S. capitol in Penoyer’s honor.

CAPT Bill Diehl, president of the Port Bureau, presented CAPT Penoyer with an appreciation gift of a Yetti Cooler to remind Penoyer of “us back in Houston” as he and his family enjoyed the beauties of his new posting in Hawaii. The Greater Houston Port Bureau salutes CAPT Brian Penoyer and thanks him and all the members of Sector Houston-Galveston for their dedicated service to the port region.

Editor’s Note: Jeff Norwood, General Manager, Port Terminal Railroad Association, will speak at the next Commerce Club at Brady’s Landing on June 9, 2016. Individual seats and table sponsorships are available. Reserve your seat at or by calling (713) 678-4300.

  • Date June 13, 2016
  • Tags June 2016