June 22, 2017

June 22 , 2017 Minutes
Submitted by Tommy Fulton, Contributing Editor
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by Tom McGehee.
Tommy Fulton gave the invocation, followed by Tommy Blankenship, who led us in song and the Pledge.
Introduction of Guests & Visitors: Tommy Blankenship introduced our guests along with visiting Rotarians.
Announcements: Meal Price Increase from $23 to $24 for Guest and Exempt member meals.
Program: Joe Mareno introduced Travis Randall Short, who is the Founder, Owner and President of Horizon Shipbuilding, Inc.
Mr. Short stated that Horizon, Inc. began business in Bayou la Batre twenty-two years ago. They began with nine employees and have grown to between 250 to 400 employees. They operate their shipbuilding business on more than 30 acres. Their first sale was a rail car cover, but they are now recognized as one of the largest towboat builders in the industry. They also have one of the largest translifts on the Gulf Coast.
Mr. Short mentioned that their initial growth began with building a pilot boat for Iraq, which was delivered to Umm Qasr. This was during the war and it took extensive negotiation to accomplish that feat. He stated that some of the other locations who have received their ships and supply boats include Columbia, Mexico and West Africa. These supply boats service oil platforms throughout the world. However, their greatest growth in the past ten years has been their tugboats.
In what was considered a very challenging effort, Citgo Petroleum spent $55 million to have 40 crew boats delivered in a 20-month period to service the oil fields in Venezuela. Also Mr. Short said that they have won a bid to produce 13 of the new “Lunch-Box” ferries for New York City. He expects that number to increase over the years. The 5th graders at PS 170 in New York City were given the honor of naming each of these boats.
Mr. Short stated that the industry is down substantially, presenting a buyer’s market. Not too long ago, there were 1100 shipyards, but that number has dwindled to 450 currently. Those who are willing to diversify will be the survivors. Horizon Shipbuilding has shown the capability and the willingness to build any type of boat the market requires.
After a question and answer session, Tom McGehee thanked Mr. Short for his presentation and presented a certificate to him, noting that a donation in his honor had been made to the Rotary International Foundation.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 pm.