WALTER CRONKITE (1916-2009)
HONORARY CHAIR, ADVISORY COUNCIL
Former CBS Evening News Anchor and correspondent was a passenger aboard the SS United States in 1953 on his way to cover the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. Often referred to as “The Most Trusted Man in America”, Mr. Cronkite has followed the ship’s fate closely since then and was featured in the documentary film SS United States: Lady in Waiting. In the film, he expressed his admiration for the ship and his outrage at her current condition. He stated that just looking at the SS United States in her heyday “could thrill you with pride and wonder” and that she had the “perfect design.” He lamented that watching the ship each year get “rustier, dirtier, windows broken…” was a “crime against history.” According to Mr. Cronkite, saving the SS United States would be a “restoration of American pride in something it should be very proud of.”
Susan L. Gibbs is the SS United States Conservancy’s executive director. She is the granddaughter of William Francis Gibbs, the SS United States’ designer, who directed plans for more than 60 percent of the nation’s wartime fleet during World War II and designed over 6,000 ships during the course of his career. She previously served as the Conservancy’s founding board president. She has delivered numerous public presentations on the SS United States and maritime history topics, and she has appeared in multiple media outlets, including the NBC Nightly News, NPR, CNN, CBS Sunday Morning, Agence France Press, Channel N24 (Germany), and Al-Jazeera America, among many others. She has also worked for over two decades in the philanthropic sector and runs an independent consulting practice in which she advises philanthropic donors and private foundations, with a focus on global women’s issues. She holds a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Brown University and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
ROBERT L. FORBES
Robert L. Forbes is Vice President of Forbes and President of ForbesLife magazine. In addition to producing various documentary films for Forbes, he has written numerous articles on food and travel. Furthermore, he has authored two children’s books, Beastly Feasts! A Mischievous Menagerie in Rhyme (Overlook Press, 2007) and Have a Bite! A Beastly Banquet in Rhyme (Overlook Press, 2010), which were both illustrated by world-renowned caricaturist Ronald Searle. Presently Robert divides his time between Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.
KEVIN W. BILLINGS
Kevin Billings is President and CEO of Legation Strategies, a private management consulting firm providing advisory services in strategic positioning, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity within the national security, energy, and transportation sectors. Mr. Billings was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health and later serve as Assistant Secretary for Installations, Environment, and Logistics. In that role, his responsibilities included world-wide management and direction of the United States Air Force’s $38 billion logistics, installations, environment, and energy programs. Mr. Billings began his career in the United States Congress working for Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and since then his experience has been multi-dimensional in terms of policy development, strategic planning, international and domestic business operations, transformation and change management. He has served as an executive at Westinghouse Electric Corporation and Lockheed Martin and his consulting clients have included large multi-national defense, energy and engineering companies. Mr. Billings is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Executive Development Program at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. Mr. Billings serves as a member of a number of corporate and nonprofit boards.
Bill is a partner in the Washington DC office of the K & L Gates law firm. His practice involves a wide range of federal regulatory, policy and legislative matters focusing on domestic and international maritime issues among others. He is experienced in cargo and cruise shipping matters and in the commercial fishing industry and advises clients with respect to international trade, customs administrative and regulatory matters, natural resource management issues, immigration, manning, vessel construction, financing, documentation, inspection and equipment requirements as well as compliance with safety and maritime security regulations. Additionally, Mr. Myhre works with colleges and universities on a range of federal policy issues. He also serves on the Board of the American Architectural Foundation. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from Stanford University and Juris Doctor and Masters in City Planning degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
CHARLES B. ANDERSON
Charles B. Anderson comes from a family with long maritime traditions, including his grandfather, Capt. Charles R. Beard, a steamboat pilot, and his father, Commodore John W. Anderson, the longest serving master of the SS United States (1952-1964). Charles has served on destroyers in the U.S. Navy and currently holds the rank of Commander in the US Naval Reserve. Since 1998, he has been President of Skuld North America, the general U.S. correspondents for Assuranceforeningen Skuld, a leading marine protection and indemnity underwriter based in Oslo, Norway. He was previously a partner in Holland & Knight, and was elected a Titulary Member of the Comite Maritime International in 1998. He is the co-author of Shipping and the Environment, published by Lloyd’s of London Press, now in its second edition. He received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia College, a master’ degree from Princeton University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Joe Rota was a member of the New York Herald Tribune’s Publication Department from 1952 to 1954. In April of 1955, he began serving as a member of the steward department aboard the SS United States and held positions of first class elevator operator, cabin class bellboy, chief steward’s bellboy, radio bellboy, waiter, and ship’s photographer. After pursuing a portable display equipment business, he returned to sea and sailed on the America, Independence, Constitution and the United States. After leaving the sea in 1964, he was appointed as highway patrolman on the Bergen County N.J. Police Department. He served as police academy instructor, SWAT sniper, hostage negotiator, SCUBA division training officer and detective. He subsequently held posts as supervisor of the town of Dresden, New York, chairman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, member of the town of Putnam, New York’s planning board and executive director to the Adirondack Park’s Local Government Review Board.
Frank DeGiulio is a Partner at Palmer Biezup & Henderson LLP, a Mid-Atlantic civil litigation practice. After completing his undergraduate degree at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, he served on numerous merchant and naval vessels and holds a Coast Guard unlimited tonnage Third Officer’s license and a First Class Pilot license for the Great Lakes. Throughout his legal career Frank has handled all types of maritime casualty and commercial disputes primarily on behalf of ship owners and their insurers. He is a leading member of the firm’s oil pollution response team and has handled a number of major pollution incidents as well as recoveries on behalf of ship owners from the National Oil Pollution Fund. Frank currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the Maritime Law Association of the United States. He formerly served as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve, achieving the rank of Lt. Commander.
Dan McSweeney is founder and principal of InterSect LLC, a business development, project management, and strategic communications consultancy based in New York. Dan has led a wide variety of initiatives in the public, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors. He served as an officer in the Marine Corps 1999-2011, overseas and at the Pentagon. He is a graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy, Eugene Lang College at The New School, and the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. He completed graduate studies in International Affairs and Business Administration at Columbia and Fordham. He is a co-founder of the SS United States Conservancy. His father immigrated to America to work aboard the SS United States.
MARK B. PERRY
Mark B. Perry is an Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning television writer and producer whose credits include such series as The Wonder Years
, Picket Fences
, Law & Order
, Party of Five
, Brothers & Sisters
, Ghost Whisperer
, and Revenge
. In 1997, Mark was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for episodic drama for Party of Five
. Mark has been an ocean liner fan since childhood when a chance viewing of the 1960 disaster film The Last Voyage
introduced him to the aesthetics of 20th Century nautical interior design. Mark’s passion for the SS United States
began in the early 1990s when he started amassing a large collection of table service ware, furniture, ephemera, signage, as well as vintage home movies, photos and slides taken aboard the ship in her heyday. In 2008, collaborating with director Robert Radler, Mark produced the award-winning and critically acclaimed documentary SS United States: Lady in Waiting
which aired nationwide on American Public Television from 2008 to 2010.