Today’s Propeller Club, Port of Norfolk Member Spotlight is shining on Captain George E. Watkins.
Captain Watkins joined the Propeller Club, Port of Norfolk in 1962 because he “wanted to meet the movers and the shakers in the maritime community.” A mover and shaker himself, he says sharing their stories has been his favorite part of membership.
He appreciates the informality and welcoming nature of the Propeller Club events. “We have members from all parts of the maritime industry in every phase of their careers, and everyone has a friendly attitude.”
His greatest memory from his time in the Propeller Club is from 1994. Serving as the Club’s president, he received the request and granted the approval of funds to help bolster the Old Dominion University Propeller Club. Today, 25 years later, we continue our support of the ODU chapter, sharing funds and offering a variety of networking opportunities to the members.
Captain Watkins acquired his Unlimited Pilots and Master’s License in 1962 and worked as a Virginia Pilot for 42 years. During that time, he held the role of vice president of the Virginia Pilot’s Association for two years, and for almost half of his career, he worked as a special pilot for aircraft carriers and the USS Wisconsin. He also served as a member of the Board of Branch Pilots of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 20 years.
He says what he likes most about the ports of Virginia and the surrounding maritime businesses is “the way we share information and work together.”
When we asked what advice he’d give to anyone just now starting their maritime career, he said:
“Never tell someone you’ll have their cargo there tomorrow.
Never tell an untruth. You are only as good as your word.
Stay on your side of the channel.
And keep a bright stern light.”
In addition to the Propeller Club, Captain Watkins has also been a member of the following organizations:
- Virginia Conference on World Trade (Past Chairman)
- Portsmouth Museums Foundation (Past President)
- Virginia Maritime Association (Board of Directors, 1989 to present)
- Society of Maritime Industries
- Portsmouth Port and Industrial Commission
Throughout his career, he has received several awards, including:
- Lifetime Membership Award for Outstanding Service to the Organization, Virginia Maritime Association (2019)
- The Alli Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cultural Life of Greater Hampton Roads, Cultural Alliance of Hampton Roads (2006)
- The Eure Award for Outstanding Maritime Professionalism, The Propeller Club Port of Norfolk (2000)
- Maritime Person of the Year, Hampton Roads Global Commerce Club (1999)
- Professionalism in the Maritime Industry Award, Society of Maritime Industries (1998)
Hear more stories and advice from Captain Watkins at one of our networking events! View our calendar and membership opportunities here: http://propellerclubnorfolk.org/events