AOS-USA: The Professional Association of Catholic Seafarers & Maritime Ministers

Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America

                                                     

                                                                               

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2023-2024 AOS-USA - Administrative Board


President: Capt. George McShea, Jr.

Upon graduation from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY Captain McShea sailed for 20 years on US Flag tankers, including 12 years as Master. 

In 1989 George came ashore as Operations Manager for American Maritime Transport – a three ship US Flag company operating in world-wide trade. He became Director of the Port of Portland Oregon shipyard in 1993, where he led the yard through a privatization effort to a private ship repair contractor in 1996 and then moved to ARCO Marine as Operations Manager.

Through a series of corporate mergers, he moved to the position of President, Polar Tankers, Inc., a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips, operating on the US West Coast. For ConocoPhillips, George also served as the Marine Manager – Transportation from 2006 until his retirement in October 2011.

In July 2013, George was elected President of the Administrative Board for the Apostleship of the Sea – USA, a position he still holds today.

He is a long-time member of the Nautical Institute and the Council of American Master Mariners.

Vice President: Fr. William E. Reynolds, JCL

Father Bill Reynolds, JCL, is a Retired priest in the Diocese of Davenport Iowa. He has served as Vice-president since 2013. He is a cruise ship priest member and has served as the national secretary of AOS-USA from 2006 - 2013. In 1988 he received a License in Canon Law (JCL), summa cum laude from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome He had served in tribunal ministry part-time when he returned from Rome For the past twenty-five years he has been an officer of the Priests' Aid Society, which provides a retirement benefit for priests of the Diocese of Davenport. He is now the Vice-President of the PAS. On July 1, 2014 he became the state Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus for Iowa.

Secretary: Fr. Chuck Ruoff

Fr. Chuck Ruoff an Ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Venice, FL on June 16, 2016, at the age of 58, by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Fr. Chuck Ruoff graduated with a Master's Degree in Theology from Pope St. John XXIII National Catholic Seminary in Weston, MA. The Seminary (15 miles outside of Boston) specializes in the instruction and formation of “second-career” vocations.

Fr. Chuck graduated from a high school minor seminary with the Servants of the Most Holy Trinity in Canton, Ohio. After higher education degrees in Journalism and Public Relations/Communications, Fr. Chuck spent 20+ years in government and politics. He has worked for every level of government (municipal, county, state, federal and international) --- including Deputy Mayor, Municipal Party Chairman, and District County Committeeman of his home township (Little Egg Harbor) on the New Jersey Shore; Assistant Public Information Officer for Ocean County Government, Toms River, NJ; Constituent Relations Specialist for two NJ Governors, NJ Statehouse, Trenton, NJ; Intergovernmental Affairs Officer for FEMA, Washington, DC; and working abroad (Bosnia, Kazakhstan, & East Timor) as an electoral advisor for the U.S. State Dept., and United Nations.

Fr. Chuck was born in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia and raised at the Jersey Shore (Mystic Islands, Ocean County, NJ). Fr. Chuck enjoys traveling, boating, golfing and all sports. He is, as he puts it, "the thorn between two roses" having an older and younger sister, Lisa & Susan, all very close in age. His mother, Agnes, a “snowbird” from the Jersey Shore, resides in Estero, FL during the winter months.

Fr. Chuck arrived on assignment to St. Max Kolbe Catholic Church, Port Charlotte, in July, 2020 after two-year parish assignments at both Epiphany Cathedral, Venice, and St. Peter the Apostle, Naples.

Treasurer: Deacon Patrick LaPoint

Deacon LaPoint is a married permanent deacon of the Diocese of Lake Charles, La. He currently serves as Director of the Stella Maris Seafarers Center of Lake Charles for the Diocese for the past 15 years and is assigned to Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Sulphur, La. as the deacon of the parish. He has been married to Sandra LaPoint for the past 31 years. They have 5 children, 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. He currently serves as the Port Chaplain Board Member of the Apostleship of the Sea – USA. He is a third degree knight of the Knights of Columbus Council 3015 in Sulphur, La. Currently he is serving as treasure of AOS-USA and the National advisor to the USCCB, Committee, Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church

He has served in the past as:

Past treasurer AOS-USA 6 years

Past Vice President AOS-USA 2 years

Past treasurer of the Propeller Club, Port of Southwest La.

Served in the US Navy for 4 years.

Cruise Ship Priest Rep. Board Member: Fr. Gary Padgett

Father Gary Padgett is a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville. He was ordained on June 5, 1999. Prior to ordination, Fr. Gary received his B.A. from Morehead State University where he majored in Speech and Journalism and minored in English. He competed all four years of college on the debate team. He spent two years at the University of Alabama working on a M.A. in Rhetoric and Speech Communication and served as an Assistant Coach for the debate team. Instead of finishing the M.A. he returned to Kentucky and one year later enrolled in law school at the University of Louisville. He earned his J.D. (Juris Doctor) in 1983 and passed the Kentucky Bar Examination and was sworn into the Kentucky Bar Association where he remains a member in good standing. He worked for 11 years at the United States Department of Justice. He served as Administrative Officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Louisville for five years before transferring to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys in Washington, DC where he served as a Management Analyst until he left in 1994 for the seminary. Fr. Gary enrolled at St. Meinrad School of Theology where he earned an M.A. degree in 1996 and the M.Div. degree in 1999. He currently serves as Pastor at St. Brigid Church and St. James Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been a member of Apostleship of the Sea of the USA since 2012 and has served as a cruise ship priest on seventeen Holland America cruises. He is also Faithful Friar for Knights of Columbus and Chaplain for Knights of Columbus Council. Fr. Gary currently is serving his second term on the Priest Council for the Archdiocese of Louisville and is in his first term as Cruise Ship Priest representative for AOS-USA.

Fishers Board Rep. Member: Capt. Pietro Parravano

Pietro Parravano currently serves as the President of the Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR) in San Francisco. IFR is a strong advocate for sustainable fisheries representing its members of fishing women and men. The organization is responsible for supporting fishery research and policy initiatives at the regional, national and international venues. As a member of the Pew National Ocean Commission, he co-authored a report for a national ocean policy and sustainable fisheries that was submitted to Congress. He remains active in promoting these recommendations for sustainable fisheries and advocating for a national ocean policy as a member of the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative. He is a founding member of the San Mateo County Food System Alliance. He has received numerous awards from all levels of government and community organizations for his advocacy of sustainable fishing. He received his master’s degree in biology from Eastern Michigan University. After completing graduate school, he taught science and mathematics at Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, CA. He spent many years as a commercial fisherman fishing for salmon and Dungeness crab. He lives in Half Moon Bay, CA.

Merchant Mariner Board Member: Capt. Gerard "Jerry" Pannell

Captain Pannell is a native of Long Island, New York. He received his Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation Management from the State university of New York's Maritime College at Fort Schuyler and completed graduate studies in Environmental Compliance from Massachusetts Marine Academy.

Captain Pannell's sailing career includes 13 years as Master on Commercial deep draft oil tankers and military cargo vessels in the international trades. He came ashore full-time in 2007 at the American Maritime Officers Simulation, Training, Assessment and Research (STAR) Center in Dania Beach FL,. as the Director of Member Training and Officer Development. In this position he ensures the 4000 USCG licensed deck and engine officers of American Officers continue to receive the highest level training and professional development that meets regulatory, contracted company and industry requirements.

Port Chaplain Rep. Board Member: Fr. Sinclair K. Oubre, J.C.L., MNI

Fr. Sinclair is a priest of the Diocese of Beaumont, and a native of Port Arthur, Texas. He attended the University of St. Thomas in Houston and Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he received his bachelor degree. He did his graduate theological studies in Leuven, Belgium, and was ordained to the priesthood May 10, 1986. In 1997, he completed his JCL in Canon Law at Catholic University in Washington.

He is currently the Diocesan Director of the Apostleship of the Sea, Director of the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program, and Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Orange, Texas. He is the Executive Director and Port Chaplain of the Port Arthur International Seafarers’ Center, the Chaplain to the Sabine Area Central Labor Council.

On the national level, Fr. Sinclair served as the President of the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America from 2001-2013. He also served as the unlicensed deck department member on the US Coast Guard Merchant Marine Advisory Council from 1998-2013. He is an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute, and serves as secretary to the Nautical Institute – Gulf Branch.

Fr. Sinclair is a member of the United States Merchant Marine, and holds a merchant marine credential as an AB-Limited, and holds a 100 ton near coastal master’s license. He sails through the Houston Seafarers International Union hall.

Recreational Boaters/Yachtsman Board Rep. Member: Captain William H. Watson 

Maritime Security & Intelligence Consultant -Washington, DC

Captain William Hughes Watson, who represents yachting and recreational boating sector on the Administrative Board of the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America, is Founder and Managing Director of William Watson Group, LLC (WatsonGroup) in Washington, DC – A boutique consultancy dealing in Government Affairs, Security, Intelligence and Maritime Issues. He also serves on the Board of the National Maritime Law Enforcement Academy and also serves as Director of the Maritime Information Sharing & Analysis Center (Maritime ISAC) / Maritime Representative to the National Council of ISACS.

Over his diverse and expansive career, Capt. Watson has worked as an investigative journalist, editor or managing editor at five East Coast daily newspapers and as a senior editor at the pre-eminent international maritime weekly magazine (where he covered flag States, security and piracy / terrorism / crime issues); he has worked in flag State management, including dealing with security issues, regulatory affairs and casualty investigation (including the DEEPWATER HORIZON disaster); He has served as a delegate to both the United Nations and to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) where he served on the committee that drafted the ISPS code.; He has served as a senior executive in two international security firms and as a senior consultant to two others, all of which conducted numerous ISPS compliance audits at ports and terminals in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Mr. Watson has worked in most of the 50 United States, in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Capt. Watson serves on the Advisory Board to America’s Ports Caucus Institute, which advises Congress on port and terminal related issues. In this role, his primary area of expertise is maritime security. He served on the Industry Advisory Group to the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) and is an active member of the Council of American Master Mariners and DACOR (Diplomats and Consular Officers - Retired).

Capt. Watson served as Chairman of the Maritime Security and Surveillance Conference in Abu Dhabi, UAE; as keynote speaker at the Qatar Maritime Security Conference (QMARSEC); as commercial maritime subject matter expert / speaker at the Global Maritime Forum Workshop in Venice co-hosted by the U.S. and Italian Navies; as featured keynote speaker at the Council of American Master Mariners Annual General Meeting banquet; was a lecturer at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in-service training program in Quantico and at the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) training program at MITAGS; and at numerous other conferences and meetings.

Capt. Watson served in and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force Reserve and the South Carolina Air National Guard. He was awarded the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service decoration and the Palmetto Service decoration. Mr. Watson still serves in the American Legion, the Air Force Association and the Non-Commissioned Officers Association.

Capt. Watson is an alumnus of the University of South Carolina and has lectured at American University in Washington, DC. and at the International Maritime Law Institute on Malta. He is a Certified Company and Vessel Security Officer. He is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus.

Contact information: 

William H. Watson P.O. Box 64, White Post, VA 22663 

Phone+1.202.222.5586; Email: WilliamHWatson@me.com