From left: The Honorable Peter King, Philip W.J. Fisher and Emanuel Rouvelas
From left: The Honorable Peter King, Philip W.J. Fisher and Emanuel Rouvelas

The United Seamen’s Service (USS) 2013 Admiral of the Ocean Sea Awards (AOTOS) was presented to Philip W. J. Fisher, President of Chas. Kurz & Co; U. S. Representative Peter King, Republican of New York; and Emanuel Rouvelas, maritime attorney and partner at K & L Gates. The maritime industry’s most prestigious awards were given at a gala industry dinner and dance at the Sheraton Times Square, New York City, on November 15, 2013. Recognition was also given to American Seafarers for specific acts of bravery and heroism while at sea. General Kenneth Wykle, USA (Ret.), Chairman of the USS AOTOS Committee, noted that: “Phil Fisher has devoted virtually his entire career to one company and one industry-the American-flag merchant marine. Congressman King is a leader in the ongoing effort to have Homeland Security funding based on threat analysis and is a strong supporter of the war against international terrorism. Manny Rouvelas is dedicated to promoting and protecting American maritime jobs vital to our national security.” He added: “It is our honor to honor these three people with diverse shipping connections with the AOTOS Award this year.” General Wykle is also President of the National Defense Transportation Association.

Donald Kurz, President of Keystone Shipping Company, a 2009 AOTOS recipient himself, presented Mr. Fisher’s award. Mr. Fisher joined Keystone Shipping Company and its parent company, Chas. Kurz & Co., 47 years ago in Philadelphia as chief financial officer. He has spent his career involved in working with the U. S. government, maritime labor, major shippers, multi-national oil, chemical and transportation entities and other sectors of the American shipping industry. He is a member of the boards of other companies and also serves as a trustee or financial advisor for various union plans covering pension, medical and training benefits. These include the Seafarers international Union, MEBA, the American Radio Association and the Steelworkers of America. Today he is Executive Vice President of Keystone and President of Chas. Kurz & Co. and President of the Tanker Service Committee.

Fisher, a known philanthropist, is the founder of the Family Charitable Fund that is dedicated to supporting high schools, colleges, universities, and maritime training schools. He has received numerous awards for his philanthropy. In 2008, the Maritime Port Council of Greater New York honored him as Man of the Year. In 2013, he received the Philadelphia Pinnacle Award for outstanding achievements and philanthropy. He holds a BS degree from LaSalle University and an MBA from Drexel University. In addition to being a Certified Public Accountant, he was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army. He and his wife, Suzanne, have four sons and eight grandchildren.

Morton Bouchard III gave the award for Rep. King, a Republican. King is serving his eleventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives where is a member of the Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He also serves on the Financial Services Committee and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Congressman King, who previously served as Chairman of the Committee in 2005-2006 and again in 2011-2012, has been a leader in the ongoing effort to have Homeland Security funding based on threat analysis and is a strong supporter of the war against international terrorism, both at home and abroad. As Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee he stood up to the pressure from special interest groups and the media.

During his years in Congress, Rep. King has attained a reputation for being well informed and independent. Following the ravages of Superstorm Sandy, Rep. King led the successful fight in Congress to obtain $60.4 billion in emergency funding for the victims of the storm. Rep. King is a strong supporter of the U. S. military and has fought to bring veterans’ benefits into the 21st century. Congressman King has also a strong supporter of funding to combat deadly illnesses. He is a graduate of St. Francis College, Brooklyn, and the University of Notre Dame Law School. He is a lifelong resident of New York and has lived in Nassau County for more than 40 years. Rep. King and his wife, Rosemary, have two adult children and two grandchildren.

The Honorable Helen Delich Bentley, AOTOS 1971, presented the Christopher Columbus statuette to Emanuel (“Manny”) Rouvelas, a recognized authority in maritime law. For three decades Mr. Rouvelas has traveled globally to advise the CEOs of many of the world’s leading shipping companies. He engages in a wide-ranging federal practice representing leading companies and trade associations in the transportation, telecommunications, high technology, hospitality, and manufacturing industries regarding their Washington, D.C. activities and strategies. He often works with the executive branch, Congress, and foreign embassies and governments on international trade and transport matters. He founded the Washington, D.C. office of Preston Gates and guided its growth to more than 140 partners and employees at the time it was merged into K&L Gates on January 1, 2007.

Prior to joining K&L Gates, he was counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce and chief counsel to its Merchant Marine and Foreign Commerce Subcommittees where he had lead staff responsibility for the enactment of 32 public laws. Included was major legislation relating to vessel construction and operation, oil spill prevention, vessel traffic systems, recreational boat safety, Coast Guard and Maritime Administration programs. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and received his law degree from Harvard University. He is married to Marilyn and they have two children and four grandchildren.

Proceeds from the AOTOS event benefit USS community services abroad for the U.S. merchant marine, seafarers of all nations, and U.S. government and military overseas. The recipients will share the evening with a group of American seafarers who will be honored for acts of bravery at sea.

For AOTOS 2013, the Honorable Mary Landrieu, US Senator from Louisiana and AOTOS 2012, was Honorary Chairperson. Michael Sacco, President of the Seafarers International Union, was Dinner Chairman. F. Anthony Naccarato of American Maritime Officers Service served as National Committee Co-Chairmen.