June 2017 Commerce Club

By Judith Schultz, GHPB

One month in, CAPT Kevin Oditt, USCG’s new Commander of Sector Houston-Galveston, is already impressed with the dynamic cooperation of industry operating on the Houston Ship Channel (HSC). “I knew I would be busy, but I continue to be amazed at the excellent partnerships to work safely and efficiently on the Houston Ship Channel,” he told attendees at the Port Bureau’s Commerce Club luncheon at Brady’s Landing on June 8, 2017.

CAPT Oditt assumed duty in Sector Houston-Galveston on April 24, 2017. “When I initially met with the staff, I told them I usually divide up my time to spend one-third with industry, one-third internally, and one-third with operations,” he said smiling. “The staff laughed and told me to change that to 50% spent on externals!”

Complimenting his staff, Oditt described them as “great people who want to be here” and saying as Sector Commander he “stands on the shoulders” of previous leaders and an industry that operates in “competitive cooperation to solve problems”. He also shared several experiences from his first few weeks on duty, and thanked those from the port region who’ve already helped him gain new insights into the HSC’s daily operations.

“Captain Bob Shearon [Houston Pilots] is truly an ‘ambassador’ for the Houston Ship Channel,” Oditt noted. “He showed us first hand what it’s like to move millions of dollars down the ship channel each day.”

Oditt named his three basic areas of concern in Sector Houston-Galveston based on his first few weeks. The first was the start of Hurricane Season. “Be sure your plan is in place,” he stressed. Second is ensuring the USCG is keeping up with industry. “We want to make sure we manage the increases in volume from expansion and growth.” Lastly, Oditt cited loss of propulsion and steerage as a challenge. “We want to look at incidents,” he said, “and make sure they are not a systemic problem. We want to make sure the greater port is not at risk.”

The session closed with a Q&A that focused on similarities to CAPT Oditt’s experiences at other ports and how they compare to Houston-Galveston.

Editor’s Note: Congressman John Culberson, 7th District of Texas, is slated to speak at the Commerce Club on August 10, 2017. Individual seats and table sponsorships are available. Reserve your seat at www.txgulf.org/commerce-club or by calling (713) 678-4300.

  • Date July 26, 2017
  • Tags July 2017