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  December 6th, 2023 | Written by

Celebrating Maritime Excellence: AOTOS Honors Industry Leaders at 54th Annual Awards Gala

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Mark W. Barker, George Pasha IV, and Adam Vokac were recently recognized at the 54th annual Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) Awards hosted by the United Seamen’s Service (USS). This prestigious event, held at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, celebrated their outstanding contributions to the maritime industry.

The trio received the traditional silver statuette of Christopher Columbus, acknowledging their significant impact on the industry. The ceremony, attended by nearly 600 individuals, also highlighted the bravery of American seafarers who demonstrated exceptional courage at sea.

LTG Kenneth R. Wykle, USA (Ret.) and Chairman of the USS AOTOS Committee, expressed admiration for the honorees, stating, “We honor the achievements of these deserving individuals whose worthy contributions to the industry have left an indelible mark. All three of our recipients are accomplished, well-known leaders, and it is our privilege to recognize them with AOTOS Awards this year.”

In their acceptance speeches, the awardees expressed gratitude to family, friends, mentors, and the USS, addressing challenges and opportunities within the logistics and supply chain industry.

Mark W. Barker highlighted the significance of the Great Lakes supply chain, emphasizing its critical role in the North American economy. He expressed gratitude to the United Seamen’s Service for recognizing the efforts of mariners and providing global support to the mariner community.

George Pasha IV tackled the maritime worker shortage issue, emphasizing the need for investment in training and education. He called for lowering barriers for entry into the profession and supporting the transition of service members into commercial roles. Pasha expressed deep respect for seafarers and commended the United Seamen’s Service for their tireless efforts.

Adam Vokac emphasized the opportunity to build a better maritime industry, asserting the commitment of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A) and its members to face challenges head-on. He underscored the dedication of American mariners and longshoremen during national crises, emphasizing their unique role in upholding resilience.

The event’s proceeds contribute to USS community services abroad for the U.S. Merchant Marine, seafarers of all nations, and U.S. government and military overseas. USS President Edward R. Morgan and Executive Director Roger T. Korner lead the organization, with Barbara Spector Yeninas Associates serving as AOTOS Event Coordinator.

The AOTOS Awards Gala not only recognizes excellence in the maritime sector but also serves as a platform to address crucial issues affecting the industry’s future.