VMA Recognizes Leaders in Maritime
Press Release

The Voice of Port Industries



Contact Information:

Jennifer Deason, Marketing Manager

[email protected]



Norfolk, VA

October 5, 2023

Virginia Maritime Association Recognizes Leaders in Maritime

VMA presents awards for Port Champion and Distinguished Service and Celebrates Women in Maritime at the 103rd Annual Maritime Banquet.

NORFOLK, VA | On October 5, 2023, the Virginia Maritime Association’s (VMA) 103rd annual Maritime Banquet returned to celebrate the progress of Virginia’s ports and associated supply chain industries, as well as the contributions of specific individuals.  Before an audience of over 800 industry executives and dignitaries gathered at the Hilton Norfolk | The Main, the VMA presented its 2023 “Port Champion Award” and “Distinguished Service Award,” as well as presented a resolution celebrating Women in Maritime.


Port Champion Award

The title of “Port Champion” is only awarded to individuals who, without having direct business interests, have embraced the maritime community with a spirit of cooperation and whose actions have substantively improved Virginia’s ports and marine transportation system.

CAPT Jennifer Stockwell, Port Champion, 2023

The Virginia Maritime Association proudly announces CAPT Jennifer Stockwell, Commanding Officer of the United States Coast Guard, Sector Virginia, as the recipient of the prestigious Port Champion award for her outstanding contributions to the maritime community and her unwavering commitment to the safe and efficient operations of Sector Virginia.


Under Captain Stockwell's guidance as Commanding Officer since 2022, Virginia's ports have thrived during a period of record growth. Her leadership has played a pivotal role in ensuring the safe and secure operations of these ports, even amidst unprecedented challenges such as simultaneous dredging and construction activities, preparations for increased cruise and offshore wind traffic, and improved coordination between rail and commercial maritime operations.


CAPT Stockwell fostered federal, state, and local partnerships that have strengthened collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders with shared interests in our waterways. These partnerships have facilitated efficient port operations and contributed significantly to the growth of both foreign and domestic commerce within Virginia's ports.


The Virginia Maritime Association hereby expresses its sincere appreciation for CAPT Jennifer Stockwell's service and her unwavering commitment to the maritime industry as a true "Port Champion," promoting, protecting, and encouraging the growth of Virginia's ports.


Distinguished Service Award

The “Distinguished Service” award is bestowed to industry leaders who demonstrate extended involvement and readiness to assist the Maritime Industry in promoting, protecting, and encouraging Virginia’s ports.

Scott Wheeler, Distinguished Service, 2023

The Virginia Maritime Association is privileged to have the service of Scott Wheeler, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bay Diesel, now Bay Power Solutions. Mr. Wheeler founded Bay Diesel in 1982, which specialized in sales, service, and parts for marine application diesel engines and industrial power generation equipment. Under Mr. Wheeler's leadership, Bay Diesel expanded its footprint to encompass four cities, providing specialized services to the maritime industry on a global scale.


Throughout his career, Mr. Wheeler has not only excelled in business but has also taken on significant leadership roles in various organizations. In addition to his contributions to the Virginia Maritime Association, he has played pivotal roles in WHRO Public Television and Radio, Lake Taylor Hospital, Propeller Club Port of Norfolk, Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce Mid-Atlantic Chapter, and the World Affairs Council.


Beyond his professional achievements, Mr. Wheeler is recognized for his personal and corporate philanthropy, which has positively impacted the lives of youth, veterans, and his community. He has led by example and used his influence to champion endeavors that strengthen the maritime industry.


The Virginia Maritime Association honors Mr. Wheeler's exceptional contributions to the maritime industry and his tireless commitment to improving the lives of those in his community with the Distinguished Service Award. VMA extends its sincere appreciation to Mr. Scott Wheeler for his "Distinguished Service" and his unwavering dedication to the maritime industry and community. His readiness to assist in promoting, protecting, and encouraging the growth of Virginia's ports has made a lasting and invaluable impact on the industry.


Women in Maritime


Women in Maritime stood while the Resolution was read.

The Virginia Maritime Association (VMA) proudly honors and celebrates the valuable contributions of women in the maritime and supply chain industries, where women have confronted bias and broken down barriers to obtain access and increase their ranks.


From skilled trades to positions of executive leadership, women have demonstrated that their skills, experiences, perspectives, and ideas benefit their industries and that their contributions play a vital role in our national defense and in making the economy stronger.


The Virginia Maritime Association recognizes that its mission to promote, protect, and facilitate commerce through Virginia's ports and the interests of associated industries and supply chains is more fully met through the increasing participation of women of diverse backgrounds and abilities.


Therefore, the Virginia Maritime Association is resolved to encourage and support the ability of women to participate more fully and in increasing numbers at every level for the continued progress and success of Virginia’s ports.


About the VMA:

The Virginia Maritime Association (VMA) continues to promote, protect, and encourage international and domestic commerce through Virginia's Ports since 1920 through advocacy, industry intelligence distribution, and networking events. With a membership of over 450 companies from maritime and supply chain sectors, employing over 70,000 Virginians, the Virginia Maritime Association is widely recognized as "The Voice of Port Industries," the premier business organization to enhance competitiveness and promote commerce through Virginia's ports. VMA are better connected, better informed, and better represented.

For more information:  VAmaritime.com




Jennifer Deason

Marketing Manager

Virginia Maritime Association


Virginia Maritime Association

236 East Plume Street, Norfolk, VA 23510

757-622-2639 |


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