The Mariners’ Museum and Park connects people to the world’s waters, because through the waters—through our shared maritime heritage—we are connected to one another.
Howard H. Hoege III, President and CEO
For 90 years, the history of the ocean and its relationship with humankind has been told and displayed in one of the largest maritime museums in the world. In 1930, The Mariners’ Museum was brought to life by the shared vision of Archer Milton Huntington and Homer L. Ferguson. Huntington was son of railroad and shipping magnate Collis P. Huntington, who founded Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company just a few miles from the Museum. Ferguson, the head of Newport News Shipbuilding at the time of the founding, also served as The Mariners’ Museum’s first President.
To create The Mariners’ Museum, in 1930 Archer Huntington and his wife, sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, used 800 acres of land surrounding Watts Creek in Newport News, Virginia. The property belonged to the Old Dominion Land Company, which Archer inherited, whose watershed had previously been used as a source of water for the City of Newport News. The first two years of development were devoted to creating and improving a natural park and constructing a dam to create The Mariners’ Lake.
Known as the Lion’s Bridge, the dam forming the lake provides a breathtaking view of the James River, as well as a family gathering place to enjoy the Museum Park. The beauty of the dam is enhanced by several fine pieces of statuary designed by Anna Hyatt Huntington. Four stone lions were mounted on the ends of the parapets of the dam in October 1932. Anna also created and dedicated a statue entitled Conquering the Wild. The central theme of this statue consists of a man engaged in a titanic struggle to subdue a rearing horse. Elevated on a massive octagonal Indiana limestone pedestal and flanked at four corners by life-size figures representing science, art, learning, and industry, the statue overlooks the Lion’s Bridge, the Park, and The Mariners’ Lake.
The first purchases of artifacts in any quantity were made in the early 1930s in New York and New England. Because the Museum was to be international in scope, the search for maritime material expanded throughout the 1930s to Europe, the West Indies and beyond. The Museum’s collection now totals approximately 32,000 objects, equally divided between works of art and three-dimensional objects. Huntington’s personal library of maritime books formed the core of the new Museum’s Library.
Today, The Mariners’ Museum sits in an urban oasis – the 550 acre park is now home to the 167-acre Mariners’ Lake and the Noland Trail – a five-mile shoreline trail with 14 bridges. Within the Museum itself you will find 90,000 square feet of exhibition galleries including the prestigious International Small Craft Center, and the award-winning USS Monitor Center. This state-of-the-art exhibition and conservation lab houses 210 tons of artifacts from the Civil War ironclad Monitor, which were recovered from NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
The Mariners’ Museum Library and Archives is home to nearly 110,000 books; 800,000 photographs, films, and negatives; and over 1 million pieces of archival material, making it the largest maritime library in the Western Hemisphere.
Senior Vice President East Region, Ferguson, Ferguson Enterprises
Executive Director, American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) Foundation
The ABYC Foundation announced Margaret Podlich has been hired to serve as executive director. The ABYC Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), focused on providing resources that create educational and lifelong career opportunities to current and aspiring marine service technicians.
“I can’t imagine a more perfect person to be the foundation’s first executive director,” said ABYC president John Adey. “The ABYC Foundation has some heavy lifting coming up if we hope to move the needle on the population of qualified technicians and Margaret is our best chance of success. The ABYC board of directors and I are very proud to make this announcement.”
Podlich retired as president of BoatU.S. in 2016 and has since been consulting in the industry. Most of her career has been working and educating on boating issues, from environmental and safety topics to helping make smarter boating policies.
President/CEO of Credit Control Corporation
After attending Chowan College, Mr. Bayne went to work for Credit Control Corporation. Since 1983 he has served as President/CEO of Credit Control Corporation which is located in Newport News, Virginia. Credit Control Corporation provides healthcare clients on a regional basis and telecommunication clients nationally with a host of receivable management services. His primary responsibilities include overall operations and planned growth of Credit Control Corporation into new markets. Professional Associations: Healthcare Financial Managers Association American Collectors Association Boys and Girls Club Virginia Peninsula Foundation Board Member Virginia Collectors Association Board Member Past Board Member State Fair of Virginia and SouthTrust Bank Mr. Bayne currently resides in Poquoson with his daughter Hunter Elizabeth an upcoming freshman at Virginia Tech and daughter Jessica Michelle a second year kindergarten teacher in Newport News. He enjoy sport fishing up and down the east coast on his boat and spending time at his farm house in Charles City.
After leaving active service with the United States Navy in 1991 as a Rear Admiral, Bernsen served as a consultant to various defense related research and analysis organizations and private industry, principally with regard to defense and security issues in the Middle East. In 1995 Bernsen formed his own company, Overseas Environmental Marketing, Inc., for the purpose of forming joint ventures in the Arabian Gulf region to process oily waste water and refine waste oil.
From January 1998 to August 2001 he served as Chairman and then President of 21st Century Coatings, Inc., a domestic manufacturer of industrial coatings. In late 2001 he sold his interest in the company and retired from active business management. From 2001 through 2003 he participated as a consultant and pre-incorporation director of the UNICORN Group, contributing to the successful establishment of an investment bank headquartered in Bahrain.
Bernsen remains active as a key advisor to various private/non profit educational and business related organizations devoted to improvement in Arab American understanding and cooperation.
Executive Vice President, Huntington Ingalls Industries
President, Newport News Shipbuilding
Jennifer Boykin is executive vice president of Huntington Ingalls Industries and president of Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia. Named to this position in 2017, she is the 20th person and the first woman to serve as president of the Newport News shipyard, which was founded in 1886 and has approximately $4 billion in annual revenues.
As president, Boykin leads the operations of Newport News Shipbuilding, the largest industrial employer in Virginia. She has responsibility for more than 20,000 shipbuilders who design, build and maintain the world’s most complex ships: nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and nuclear-powered submarines. This includes teams that perform aircraft carrier and submarine maintenance across the United States and globally. She also has responsibility for an industrial subcontract at the Kenneth A. Kesselring Site, a research and development facility in upstate New York that supports the U.S. Navy’s nuclear propulsion program.
A native of St. Louis, Boykin earned her bachelor’s degree in marine engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and her master’s degree in engineering management from The George Washington University. Since beginning her career in the nuclear engineering division, she has held progressively responsible positions, including vice president of engineering and design, vice president of quality and process excellence, director of facilities and waterfront support, and program manager for the nuclear engineering division. She also served as a construction superintendent for the aircraft carrier program during construction of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).
In the community, Boykin is committed to workforce development and is a strong advocate for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs. She is a graduate of Lead Virginia and the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce leadership program. She is vice chair of Blueprint Virginia and serves on the Hampton Roads Business Roundtable’s executive committee. She is also a member of Greater Peninsula NOW, the Virginia Business Council and Reinvent Hampton Roads. In 2017, Boykin was appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to serve on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Growth and Opportunity Board.
A native of Norfolk, Va., Kenneth (Kenny) Crofton was raised in the maritime community. His father Juan F. Crofton founded Crofton Diving Corporation in 1949, and Kenny began working in the family business while still attending high school. After graduating, he began his career as a commercial diver. Over the years, Kenny has worked with his family to expand the company’s service capabilities beyond commercial diving to include marine construction as well as heavy lift and rigging services. These service divisions, now known as Crofton Industries, work together to provide comprehensive maritime services to the commercial and industrial segments of the Hampton Roads and Mid-Atlantic regions and serve as an employer to a team of over 125 personnel.
Kenny is a staunch supporter of the maritime community and serves on many boards that promote the Port of Hampton Roads. He is presently Chairman of Norfolk Festevents, an advisor to the board of Directors of the Norfolk Propeller Club, is a board member of the Virginia Maritime Administration and is a past board member for Nauticus in Norfolk, VA.
Kevin Fewster is a leading international figure in the fields of maritime museums and maritime heritage. He was the Director of Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG), the world’s largest and most visited maritime museum precinct, from 2007-2019. Comprising the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory, the historic clipper ship Cutty Sark, the beautiful early 17th century Queen’s House, the world renowned Caird Library and the recently completed Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre, RMG attracts 2.7 million visitors each year. During his twelve-years leading RMG, Kevin oversaw the most ambitious expansion and renewal programme in the Museum’s 80 year history. From 2017-2018, he led a high-profile international campaign trying to save the collection of 5,500 objects recovered from the debris field surrounding the RMS Titanic wrecksite.
Before moving to Britain, Kevin had been the founding Director of the South Australian Maritime Museum and the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney. In his 35-year museum career, Kevin was also Director of Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.
In 2001, Kevin was made a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his services to maritime heritage and in 2019 was recognised as a Life Fellow of the International Congress of Maritime Museums. He is a Younger Brother at Trinity House (the world’s oldest lighthouse organisation), a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, and a Freeman of the City of London.
A Tidewater Virginia native, Chris founded Bluewater Yacht Sales in 1968 after developing a proven set of business management skills as the president of a large manufacturer’s representative company. Born a waterman, Chris parlayed his personal and competitive passion for sailing and powerboat racing to unfalteringly advance Bluewater Yacht Sales through strong and weak economies to where the company is currently positioned 40+ years later – one of the most successful yachting businesses in the United States.
Even though Chris has assembled an impressive team of sales, service and support staff to run daily operations, he is still very involved with the Bluewater operations. However, he has more time these days to pursue other interests as well. He serves on several executive boards, and is deeply involved with the boating industry and community at large. His passion for boat racing and automobile racing add to his many achievements. Together, the Bluewater Team of Chris and his younger brother Earle enjoyed a calling to race 2.5 and 7-litre hydroplanes – winning seven world and national titles. Chris and Team Bluewater have also enjoyed being on the leaderboard of some of the East Coast’s most notable sportfishing tournaments thanks to being equipped with highly skilled crews and some of the industry’s best performing boats from the brands Bluewater has represented over the years such as Viking Yachts.
In running their own and showcasing the various boating brands that the Halls have sold in Bluewater’s spanning history, they formed enduring relationships with almost everyone that had a hand in the construction of the world’s finest boats. From the many who toiled tirelessly behind the scenes to Viking’s pioneering Healy family, the Halls’ desire to have an entrenched understanding of every aspect of boat construction, performance and innovations, resulted in personal relationships that provide Bluewater customers with unparalleled access to- and support from their motoryacht and sportfish brands of choice.
Through old fashioned determination, Chris has ensured through the decades, that Bluewater Yacht Sales is synonymous with superior product and friendly service. Now a multi-faceted and wildly successful group of operations, the Bluewater Network employs the same hands-on approach that Chris has put forth from Day 1 – always go the extra mile to ensure the company only represents the finest brands and that a customer’s boat stands out in a crowded market.
Chris and his wife Judy call Hampton, Virginia, home and have enjoyed sharing the boating lifestyle with their children and their families. Son Chris Jr. is a member of Bluewater’s management team and daughter Kathy is a college professor in Abu Dhabi. Chris and Judy enjoy spending their free time cruising the nearby waters of the Chesapeake Bay estuary, and extended trips along the Mid-Atlantic and beyond.
Chairman and CEO, The PENROD Group
Mr. Heidt has 40 years of experience in international trade, manufacturing and distribution. He joined The Penrod Company as a log buyer in 1969 and managed various positions until becoming president in 1983. He rose to Chairman and CEO in 1999. Over the course of his career, Heidt has overseen the company’s expansion into international markets as well as the development of innovative products, helping establish Penrod as a global competitor in the forest, metal and PVC products industry. Penrod has company locations in North America, Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa.
Professionally, Heidt has served as Chairman of the Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association, and holds membership in an array of professional associations. He also served on the US Department of Commerce Industrial Trade Advisory Committee and the board of Media5 in Sherbrooke, Canada. He serves as Chairman of The PENROD Company and its subsidiaries.
As a volunteer interested in global health, Heidt currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. He sits on the Governing Board of the International Federation of Red Cross (in Geneva) representing the United States and the American Red Cross. He is Chair of the Intemational Movement Advisory Council. He also serves on the University of North Carolina Board of Visitors. Past assignments include National Vice Chairman of the American Red Cross, Chairman of Physicians for Peace, Chairman of the Children’s Health Foundation and various senior Red Cross volunteer positions leading groups with oversight on disaster and biomedical operations.
Heidt’s professional and personal endeavors have taken him all over the world. He holds a BA degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and has three children and four grandchildren.
President and CEO, W. M. Jordan Company, Inc.
Mr. Lawson began his career with W. M. Jordan Company as a Field Engineer in 1975 after graduating from Virginia Tech with a BS in Geophysics. Under his leadership, W.M. Jordan Company has become one of the largest Construction Managers in Virginia, with annual revenues of $500 million dollars and a ranking in Engineering News Record’s Top 400 Contractors in the United States for the past 29 years.
He is married to Paige and resides in Newport News with his 19 year old son, Taylor; 18 year old daughter, Tess; and 15 year old son, Jack. In his leisure time, he enjoys boating, college football, golfing, skiing, art and history.
Mr. Lawson is the Chairman for Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Fort Monroe Authority, Christopher Newport University’s $42 million Comprehensive Campaign, and the Virginia Kappa Alumni Corporation, Virginia Tech Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon. He currently serves on the board of TowneBank, Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech, CEO Roundtable, and the Virginia Tech Foundation. He is the Past Rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, Past Chairman of the Mariners’ Museum, Virginia Economic Development Council and was Co-Chair for the Virginia Tech $1 Billion Comprehensive Campaign.
Founder of Earl Industries, CEO of Fairlead
Since founding the company in 1998, Jerry Miller has guided the growth of The Miller Group and its affiliated companies as Owner and CEO. A 1977 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he also served seven years as a Surface Warfare Officer. Jerry co-founded Earl Industries in 1985 and purchased the company outright in 1989 leading the company through many years of success and ultimately to its sale to General Dynamics in 2012. Over this period he acquired, integrated, and operated companies in many various business and markets including information technology, data mining, defense technology systems, and commercial real estate in the Tidewater area. In 2012 he sold the three ship repair divisions to General Dynamics and organized the manufacturing and power and controls division of Earl Industries into Fairlead and serves as Chief Executive Officer.
Vice President for Operations & Engineering for Smithfield Food
Mr. Morris currently serves as the Vice President for Operations & Engineering for Smithfield Foods. He and his wife have visited the museum, they live in Riverside and are very eager to engage and be involved with The Mariners’ Museum.
Mr. Morris is a graduate from Texas A&M University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has served the meat industry for 43 years, as Plant Engineer with Owens Country Sausage, Vice President Engineering for Smithfield Packing and Vice President Operations for Smithfield and Gwaltney during his first 17 year tenure at Smithfield Foods. He rejoined Smithfield Foods in 2004 after nine years with ConAgra Foods where he was the Senior Vice President of Manufacturing for the Processed Meats Group. His current responsibilities include Operations and Engineering oversight for Global Smithfield, including all plant operations worldwide.
Chief Operating Officer, S&P Global Ratings
Tina Morris is Chief Operating Officer for S&P Global Ratings. In her role, she is responsible for leading the data, operations, in-business control and Lean management teams, as well as transformational programs such as Simplify. Tina is a member of the Ratings Executive Committee.
Most recently, Tina was Global Practice Leader for U.S. Public Finance (USPF) and Global Structured Finance. Before that, she was the Global Head of Ratings Operations, where she was responsible for driving strategic execution for the analytic business groups with a focus on operational planning and process transformation, efficiency and effectiveness initiatives, and integrating business workflow with services and solutions. Tina has a passion for driving results and building cross-functional teams that solve operational and execution challenges.
Before joining S&P Global, Tina served for seven years as an Officer in the U.S. Army. She held a series of leadership positions in the Army, including Force Protection Plans and Operations Officer for the U.S. Army Pacific Command and Commander of the 25th Military Police in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Rev. Dr. Kevin G. Swann is the Senior Pastor of Ivy Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia where he began his service in 2006. Pastor Swann has an earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree (both in Counseling) from Old Dominion University. He also has an earned Doctor of Ministry Degree from South Florida Theological Seminary. Dr. Swann has received two honorary Doctorate degrees from St. Thomas Christian College and Canaan Theological Seminary. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Religious Studies Department at Hampton University.
In 2007, Dr. Swann co-founded and currently is the co-host of the “Pastor’s Study,” a weekly radio broadcast that airs on WHOV 88.1FM, I-Heart Radio and on Sirius/XM. In 2008, Dr. Swann founded Kevin Swann Enterprises a non-profit faith-based organization that provides services to underprivileged youth and adults in the Southeastern, VA area.
Shareholder and Secretary of the law firm of Jones, Blechman, Woltz & Kelly, P.C.
Mr. Sheild has practiced law with Jones, Blechman, Woltz & Kelly, P.C., since 1969. He previously served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Peninsula Region Bank Board for RBC Centura Bank from 1999 to 2003, and was a member of the Board of Directors of First Coastal Bank from 1997 to 1999, before it was acquired by Centura Bank. Mr. Sheild was formerly Chairman of Christopher Newport University School of Business Board of Directors.
Mr. Sheild has been active in many community organizations, and has been Chairman of the following Boards on the Virginia Peninsula, to include The United Way of the Virginia Peninsula, The United Way-Campaign of the Virginia Peninsula, the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Virginia International Terminals, Inc., Riverside Behavioral Center Hospital, Peninsula Family Services/Travelers Aid, Virginia Living Museum, and WHRO Public Broadcasting Foundation.
He also has served on Boards for the two schools he attended, Virginia Episcopal School and Washington and Lee University. He received the award as the “Distinguished Citizen for the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce” for the year 2000, the NCCJ Humanitarian Award in 2004, the Colonial Virginia Council Boy Scouts of America 2013 Citizenship Award, and the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Washington & Lee University.
Currently he is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Virginia Company Bank and Riverside Behavioral Center Hospital.
Senator District 7
Frank W. Wagner was elected to the State Senate of the Virginia General Assembly during a special election in December 2000, winning nearly 70% of the electoral vote. He currently represents the 7th Senatorial District in Virginia Beach, having won re-election in 2003, 2007 and 2011. Prior to his election to the State Senate, Frank served in the Virginia House of Delegates for over a decade, representing the 21st District in Virginia Beach.
During his tenure in the House of Delegates, Frank served on several committees including Conservation and Natural Resources, Corporations, Insurance, and Banking, Education, Finance, General Laws, and Militia and Police. Currently, he serves on, Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services; Commerce and Labor; Finance and Transportation Committees. He is on four Finance Subcommittees: Claims; Health & Human Resources; Public Safety; and Transportation. He sits on the Commerce and Labor Subcommittee on Worker’s Compensation.
He served on the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change, the Governor’s Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission and the Virginia Attorney General’s Regulatory Reform Task Force. Frank also serves as the Chairman of The Joint Commission on Administrative Rules, Chairman of the Virginia Manufacturing Development Commission and is a member of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Commission; Coal and Energy Commission; Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia, Board of Trustees; the Federal Action Contingency Trust (FACT) Fund Approval Advisory Commission; the Hampton Roads Transit District Commission, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization Board; the Health Insurance Reform Commission; Joint Commission on Transportation Accountability; the Mariners’ Museum, Board of Trustees; and the Unemployment Compensation Commission. His most recent appointments include 3 subcommittees of the Joint Commission on Transportation Accountability (JCTA). He is chairman of the Vehicle Subcommittee of the JCTA and sits on the Tolling Subcommittee as well as the Technology Subcommittee of the JCTA.
Frank is perhaps best known for his visionary Virginia Energy Plan, legislation that passed in the 2006 Virginia General Assembly session. This legislation directs the Commonwealth to create a comprehensive plan for the development of energy resources, including clean coal, oil, natural gas, wind, solar, tide, current, geothermal, nuclear, alternative fuels coupled with conservation and energy efficiency measures. The ultimate goal of the plan is to achieve energy independence in an environmentally safe and responsible manner. He has spoken at a variety of energy conferences and meetings in Virginia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, California, Washington, Washington, D.C., Nova Scotia, Canada and Oslo, Norway and has testified before Congress on energy matters.
More recently, he has become a key figure in Transportation. He was the driving force on the comprehensive Transportation Plan during the 2013 General Assembly Session. As a Conferee on HB2313 (The Transportation Plan), Frank’s tireless efforts in finding compromise and working together with others, made it possible for the first major transportation plan to pass the Legislature in almost 30 years.
The American Council of Young Political Leaders selected Frank as an “Outstanding Young Legislator” in 1995. In 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 he received the Virginia Manufacturers Association’s “Industrial Strength Leadership Award”, given to one Delegate and one Senator each year to recognize outstanding leadership on key industry issues during the Virginia General Assembly session. In October 2009, Frank received the Virginia Retail Merchants Association’s Legislator of the Year award. In May 2012, he received the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s (VCC) Legislator of the Year award. In May 2013, he received the VCC’s Economic Competitiveness Award. Most recently, in April 2014, the Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council awarded him the 2013 Commerce Builders Award and in May the VCC awarded him the Military and Veterans Affairs Advocate Award as well as the Champion of Free Enterprise Award.
Frank Wagner is a 1977 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, receiving a B.S. in Ocean Engineering. He served in the United States Navy as a diving and engineering officer. After his service in the Navy, Frank went into business with his father and started a ship repair firm, Earl Industries, in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Today, he is the President of Davis Boat Works, Inc., one of Virginia’s premier small boat repair firms, located in Newport News, Virginia.
In his spare time, Frank enjoys golf, diving, camping, theater and playing the piano.
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Museum & Park Security
After Hours Security
If you would like to request a donation or prize for your fundraiser, please use our online form. All requests for donations and prizes to support your fundraiser or event must be submitted through this form by the 10th of the month prior to your event or request date. Donations are processed once a month for the following month (for example, if your event is in May, submit your request by April 10). Requests made ahead of time will still be processed only the month before the donation is due. Donations and prize packets will only be issued to non-profit organizations or organizations hosting fundraisers benefiting the local community. Have questions? Email marketing@MarinersMuseum.org.
Howard H. Hoege III
President & CEO
VP, Collections & Chief Curator
Chief Financial Officer
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