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 Myhre is a law partner at K & L Gates, has a practice that involves a range of federal legislative and regulatory matters involving domestic and international transportation. He is experienced in the passenger/cruise shipping and commercial fishing industries and the construction, conversion, and financing of vessel assets as well as documentation issues involving citizenship limitations on investment in U.S. industries. In addition, Bill has extensive experience in natural resource management issues at the regional level, before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the relevant Senate and House Congressional Committees. Bill is the author of several leading articles on foreign investment in the domestic transportation industry. He received his BA from Stanford University and his JD from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Law.
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.
Susan Caccavale grew up listening to stories about the superior design of the SS United States from her mother, Elaine S. Kaplan, who was the designer of the ship’s top-secret propellers. An Assistant Professor at Hofstra University, she teaches Marketing and International Business, and she has also taught at New York University and Pace University. She has assumed senior marketing roles for various major corporations, including Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream where she launched the brand on a global basis. She also produced award-winning programs for advertising, sports marketing and promotion agencies. Currently Susan owns her own consulting business, specializing in marketing for private educational organizations and small businesses. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Hartford and an MBA from Hofstra University.
Gregory Norris made his first crossing on the SS United States when he was only one year old and, over the next 16 years, an additional seven. In 1980 Greg wrote a history of the “Big U” for the Steamship Historical Society Journal, Steamboat Bill, in which he revealed numerous previously unreleased details about the ship. In 1982, Greg and a friend formed a partnership called the Maritime Preservation Group and purchased many artifacts from Richard Hadley, the vessel’s owner. Greg has amassed a formidable storehouse of personal, historical and technical information about the vessel, and he is a frequent lecturer about the SS United States and ocean liners in general. Greg’s 30-year career in the financial services industry has included positions with Bear Stearns Asset Management, Solomon Brothers, Eeaton Vance, and other firms. He is currently Regional Vice President of Jackson National Life Distributors and resides with his wife in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
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-producer who lists amongst his credits 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, and has multiple nominations for The Humanitas Prize. Mark has been an ocean liner fan since a chance viewing of The Last Voyage as a child 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 documentary SS United States: Lady in Waiting which aired nationwide on American Public Television from 2008 to 2010. His critically-acclaimed debut novel, City of Whores, was selected as one of Foreword Reviews’ Best Historical Novels of Fall 2014, and their reviewer wrote: “The historical settings sparkle, especially a vividly described transatlantic passage on one the last great ocean liners, the SS United States.”