SS United States E-Newsletter

September 15, 2011
The SS United States on September 12, 2011

The SS United States as she appeared the night of September 12, 2011.
Photograph by Charles F. Burns of Wilmington, Delaware


Conservancy Announces Leadership Transition

Dear SS United States Conservancy Members and Supporters:


The SS United States Conservancy is fully committed to preserving and redeveloping America's great ship of state.  To maximize its chances of success, the organization's board of directors recently concluded that separating the Conservancy's core nonprofit mandate from the for-profit business aspects of redeveloping the ship would clarify and streamline efforts in each of those distinct areas.  With that in mind, the Conservancy announces a major restructuring.


Dan McSweeney has resigned from his role as the Conservancy's executive director and assumed the position of managing director of the SS United States Redevelopment Project at Atlantic Logistics, the Philadelphia-based ship managers of the SS United States since 2003.


Susan L. Gibbs has been appointed the Conservancy's new executive director.  She will oversee a major capital campaign as well as spearhead an expansion of the organization's curatorial, preservation and educational initiatives.   The granddaughter of the SS United States' designer, William Francis Gibbs, Susan has served as the president of the Conservancy's board since the organization's founding in 2004.     


Charles B. Anderson, the Conservancy's vice president and son of the ship's longest-serving master, will assume the role of interim board president, and the Conservancy will conduct a national search for a prominent leader to assume this role over the long term.


"This transition has been in the works for some time," said Gibbs. "Our board of directors concluded that we needed a more focused and energetic effort to establish a public-private partnership to redevelop the ship. This restructuring allows us to do that seamlessly, without losing any continuity in our operations. I look forward to assuming more of hands-on role in ensuring that the Conservancy steps up its efforts to achieve its mission. The SS United States has been issued only a temporary stay of execution, and we are in a real race against time."


"It is a real honor to join the Atlantic Logistics team," said McSweeney. "I have the utmost respect for the company, which has played such a key role in the Conservancy's successes to date. I am looking forward to waging an all-out effort to set the right conditions and find the best partners to insure that our great ship of state will be successfully redeveloped."


"The movement is very fortunate to be gaining Dan McSweeney as its leader in the business development arena," added Gibbs.  "As the organization's founding executive director, Dan played a key role in helping the Conservancy secure title to the SS United States.  This restructuring will allow him to apply his considerable talents in a much more focused manner."


"The Conservancy is taking a great step forward," said Anderson.  "I'm confident that this talented team, with help from all of our supporters and partners, will enable us save this irreplaceable American icon." 



 Conservancy News Highlights in this Issue:  


advisory_councilConservancy Expands Advisory Council  

 The Conservancy is delighted to announce the appointment of nine new members to its Advisory Council.  


Thomas Basile - Founder and Principal of Empire Solutions, a New York-based strategic communications and public relations firm; Managing Director of Middleberg Communications; adjunct professor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  Previous positions included Press Secretary to Senator Trent Lott and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, communications strategist for the U.S. Department of Defense, and Director of the Office of Communications for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  He received his Juris Doctor attending Fordham and Georgetown University Law Schools.    


Mark Behan - Founder of Behan Communications in 1988.  He has managed media relations for GE, Finch Paper, Bulova, Eli Lilly and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, among others and his firm has won more than 120 marketing and communications awards.  He has provided strategic media, community and government relations services on one of the largest PCB remediation projects in U.S. history and has assisted the owners of 89 former General Motors properties in 14 states with environmental, economic development and community relations issues.  His firm has also designed and implemented marketing plans for the New York Independence Trail, which links historic sites from Manhattan to the Canadian border.   


Leonard Lauder - Chairman of The Est�e Lauder Companies Inc.  Founded in 1946 by Este and Joseph Lauder, The Est�e Lauder Companies Inc. is one of the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup and fragrance products. Its brands are sold in more than 100 markets under well recognized brand names: Est�e Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Origins, M.A.C., Bobbi Brown essentials, Tommy Hilfiger, Jane, Donna Karan Cosmetics, Aveda, Stila, Jo Malone and Kate Spade.   He is a member of the board of trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Chairman of the Board at the Whitney Museum of American Art, trustee of The Aspen Institute, and a member of the President's Council of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital.  He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, studied at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. 


Joseph Lombardi - Founder of Ocean Technical Services, LLC, a marine surveying and maritime consultancy business established in 1984.  His specialty is the inspection and surveying of large vintage iron and steel vessels (both welded and riveted), dead-ship towing of large vessels from point-to-point, and preparation of Shipyard Specification Packages and Project Management within a shipyard environment.  Before entering the  marine surveying business, he  served within the wheelhouse as tug captain for ship docking, offshore towing of oil barges and coastwise oil tankers.  He holds a US Coast Guard License and is a First Class Pilot of Unlimited Tons.  He served as a Quartermaster in the US Navy. He  has been active in the historic ship movement and serves as Chairman of Ship Preservation for the Historic Naval Ships Association.   


Mark Lupke - Founder and managing partner of Trident Occidental, LLC, an investment holding company for partnerships with private investors and a provider of early stage advisory services for information technology and telecommunications companies. Previously he served as partner and managing director of USWeb Corporation, partner and co-founder of IPI Corporation, an internet consultancy, founder of Trident Water Inc., and a mergers and acquisitions analyst for Alex, Brown & Sons.  He graduated cum laude from Harvard University. 


Rosalyn MacPherson - President and Founder of The ROZ Group, Inc., she has provided business development, strategic planning, product and program development,  marketing, and sales services for a range of clients in the publishing, education, science, entertainment, and cultural arts sectors.  Her company recently completed the installation of a commemorative site, the President's House, adjacent to the Liberty Bell Pavilion at Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park.  She previously served as Senior Vice President of Time Life Education, where she chaired Time Warner's Education Task Force. She helped lead the Philadelphia's Franklin Institute Science Museum's $60 million capital campaign and helped create a new business development plan that featured television documentaries and planetarium show production.  


William Myhre - Partner at K & L Gates, LLP, a law firm with 38 offices on three continents.  His  practice focused on a range of federal legislative and regulatory matters involving domestic and international transportation among other sectors.  He has represented industry coalitions as well as individual companies in complex legislative initiatives and their subsequent implementation and judicial defense.  His clients have included the passenger/cruise shipping industry, commercial fishing industries, as well as documentation issues involving citizenship limitations on investment in U.S. industries.  He is the author of several leading articles on foreign investment in the domestic transportation industry.  He received his J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his bachelor's degree with distinction from Stanford University.   


Mike Novak - Principal, Novak Marine Consulting LLC.  His firm provides ship and shipyard-operations consulting services, including new ship building, project management, finance development, design supervision, planning, conversions and major refits.  Previous positions included Vice President, Marine Operations, Holland America Line Inc.; President and CEO of American Ship Building Company/Tampa Shipyards, Inc.; President and Founder of Royal Hawaiian Cruise Line Inc.; President, Rader Railcar Inc.; and Senior Vice President of Fleet Operations at Cunard Line Ltd.  He received a BS degree from the United States Naval Academy and an MS in Ocean Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  


Robert Radler - Film and television producer.  Credits include the award-winning  documentary, SS United States: Lady in Waiting produced by Big Ship Films in collaboration with the Conservancy.  He also produced Turn It Up!, a feature-length documentary about the electric guitar.  After attending New York University's Graduate Institute of Film and Television, he began his professional career in New York at Equinox Films where he produced commercials and short films for a range of institutions.  He went on to direct promotional films for Polaroid, The Los Angeles Times, McGraw-Hill, ITEK-Litton, New World Pictures, the City of Baltimore, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, Dodge, Chrysler, Car and Driver Magazine, and others. He directed Jerry Bruckheimer's first TV pilot and series, "Soldier of Fortune". Additional credits include  Pam Anderson's V.I.P., Silk Stalkings, Hercules, Police Academy: The Series,  Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and many others.  He also directed three HBO World Premiere movies: T.N.T. and  The Substitute 3 & 4 with Treat Williams.


    TurnerSS United States Champion William H. Turner Dies; 

Honored with Blue Riband Award  

Bill Turner

With great sadness, the Conservancy announces the passing of William H. Turner on August 27.  Bill was a great friend and a tireless advocate on behalf of the SS United States, and we remain deeply indebted to him for all of his support and enthusiasm.  Bill summoned extraordinary determination, skill, and knowledge in his outreach on behalf of our nation's flagship, and he remains an inspiration to all of us.


We were very fortunate that Bill was able to attend the Conservancy's annual meetings in Long Beach, California, and New York's South Street Seaport Museum, where he delivered a compelling presentation about the prospects for a refurbished SS United States in Miami.  He was convinced that Miami's congenial climate year-round, vibrant cruise industry, and urban redevelopment initiatives offered great potential for the vessel.  Wherever the great ship finally ends up, Bill's spirit will forever remain on board.  


As a small token of our gratitude and appreciation, the SS United States Conservancy has presented Bill with its Blue Riband Award.  We remain humbled that Bill invested some of his formidable talents to help save our "ship of state," and we vow to work even harder to honor Bill's commitment and enduring legacy.


Surviving with his wife, Bonnie, are three sons Erik Turner of North Aurora, Ill., Chad and his wife Amanda Turner of Plainfield, Ill., and Brent and his wife Staci Turner of Plainfield, Illinois; two stepdaughters, Tara Mason and Tawny Culver; one sister, Leslie Gratton and her husband Al, and 7 grandchildren.


Family and close friends will celebrate his life on September 25 in Lafayette, Indiana.  The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill's name to the SS United States Conservancy, PO Box 32115, Washington, D.C. 20007 or  

RadlerRobert Radler Rocks the House with SS United States Speech
at TEDx Conference
TEDxConejo - Robert Radler - The SS United States and G.A.S.

TEDxConejo - Robert Radler - The SS United States and G.A.S.

Robert Radler, producer of the acclaimed and award-winning documentary film, SS United States: Lady in Waiting, delivered a powerful speech about the "Big U" at the TEDx Conejo Conference earlier this year.  The gathering took place at the Scherr Forum at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and Radler succeeded in riveting the crowd with his remarks and video footage.


To view excerpts from Radler's wonderful presentation, click HERE.


TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading."  Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, the annual TED Conference invites the world's "leading thinkers and doers" to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at  The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with simulcast in Palm Springs.  TEDx offers individuals or groups a way to organize local, independent TED-like events around the world.   

 PowerShipsSS United States Featured in PowerShips;
First of Conservancy Member Larry Driscoll's 3-part Series 

SSHSA's PowerShips, Summer 2011The first of a planned three-part article series about the SS United States has been published in the Summer 2011 issue of PowerShips, the quarterly magazine produced by the Steamship Historical Society of America.  Author Larry Driscoll, a longstanding Conservancy friend and supporter, first became a fan of the SS United States at the age of 10 when sailing to and from Europe.  His family lived in France for seven years beginning in 1950 and they traveled back and forth to the US aboard the SS America and the SS United States, as well as flying on the prop liners of Pan Am.  According to Driscoll, the Big U was "great for a kid of that age to explore and enjoy, she made a big impression on me and I have many fond memories."   Now retired, Driscoll spends his time writing about United States Lines ships and the people who built and sailed on them.  Driscoll hopes that the SS United States "can be saved for future generations as she is a major part of our Naval Heritage and has a great story to tell." 

For information on subscribing to PowerShips, visit:

outreachConservancy Outreach and Events:
From Portland, Maine to Rotterdam

Upcoming Events  


Saturday, September 17 - Susan Caccavale and the Conservancy's New York Chapter will be hosting a gathering beginning at 8 PM at Madison's Martini Bar in East Northport, Long Island to promote the October 13th New York Islanders game.  Festivities will include great food, drink, music and fun and to support the SS United States as well as raffles to give away Islanders' autographed merchandise, t-shirts, free tickets and more!  Because the Conservancy will receive proceeds from tickets sold to the Islanders game, it is important to generate as much support and attendance as possible!  To RSVP for Saturday's gathering, contact the Conservancy's New York chapter at & the New York Islanders


Friday, September 30 - Dan McSweeney will be speaking at the World Ship Society Port of New York Branch at 6 PM.  The event will be held at Community Church Assembly Room, 40 East 35th Street, New York, NY.  He will be showing a 20-minute film about the SS United States Conservancy's efforts and offering an update on the Conservancy's business development prospects.   


Thursday, October 13 - The SS United States Conservancy has been selected as "charity of the Game" by the New York Islanders.  Please come support the SS United States by attending the Islanders face-off against Tampa. Tickets are available for purchase at highly discounted prices. Proceeds of ticket sales go towards the Conservancy's efforts to preserve the SS United States. If you are unable to attend the game but would like to help, purchase a pair of tickets and donate them for a raffle give-away. For more information, contact Sue Caccavale at To purchase tickets, click here.  


Recent Events


Susan Gibbs delivered a presentation to the Propeller Club in Portland, Maine on September 8. She spoke about the SS United States' historical significance, her grandfather William Francis Gibbs' quest to design the perfect and most powerful ship in the world, and the Conservancy's plans to ensure that the vessel is saved for future generations.  


Mario Alvarez-Garcillan, the Conservancy's European Outreach guru, visited the SS Rotterdam and distributed copies of the Conservancy's brochures.  The SS Rotterdam, a Dutch transatlantic liner built in 1959, has been restored as a floating attraction in her homeport of Rotterdam, Holland.  Built as the Dutch equivalent of the SS United States, the vessel's 1950s interiors have tastefully modernized to suit her new role as a floating hotel and convention center.  Mario reported that the vessel was bustling with restaurant diners, wedding receptions and visitors.  If the Dutch can save their national flagship, so can we! 


 Help us Spread the Word! 


The Conservancy is always searching for outreach opportunities: If you know of an organization interested in hosting a Conservancy presentation or film screening, please let us know!  We must continue to spread the word about the urgent need to save our great national flagship!


hiringSS United States Conservancy's Current Position Vacancies

The SS United States Conservancy hopes to fill three part-time positions as soon as possible and we would love your help in identifying great candidates for these important posts. Because of budget and office space constraints, all of these positions are part-time (up to 20 hours per week), and we hope to identify candidates who are able to carry out much of the work from a home-office setting.  (Hopefully one day, we will be able to offer gleaming office space aboard the SS United States to our entire team!)


Click on the job titles below to download a PDF of a more detailed job description and application instructions. The current position vacancies include:

  • Marketing and Membership Associate - responsible for bolstering the Conservancy's marketing, merchandising, and membership initiatives in close partnership with our management and development teams.
  • Curatorial Associate - responsible for detailed planning of the Conservancy's shipboard museum, enhancing our acquisition strategy and ensuring that preservation priorities are honored in the ship's eventual redevelopment.
  • Communications Intern/Newsletter Editor - responsible for creating lively and informative copy for our newsletter and other communications outlets.

    social_mediaFollow the Conservancy with Facebook and Twitter!  

SSUSC on Facebook 

SSUSC on Twitter  


Over the past few months, the Conservancy has completely redeveloped its presence on online social media, giving us new ways to connect with potential supporters of the SS United States. Be sure to join us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in developments from the Conservancy as well as discussions, photos from the ship, photos of Conservancy events, and fun ship related trivia!

For the latest news about the SS United States,
please visit our website,


Please visit our bookstore on 

Please support our efforts to save the SS United States by visiting our store


SS United States Conservancy

P.O. Box 32115

Washington, DC 20007



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