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The Jamie Ann, Sarah Avrick, and Leisa Florence are in service in ports along the California coast with the Rachael Allen on the way, their virtual christening a first for Saltchuk Marine

More than a year after the delivery of Saltchuk Marine’s first ASD-90 tug, three of the four tugs – the Jamie Ann, the Sarah Avrick, the Leisa Florence – are servicing ports along the California coast. The Rachael Allen’s delivery is anticipated later next month. Their deliveries – made roughly three months apart throughout a year of global economic upheaval due to the ever-looming COVID-19 pandemic – highlight the business unit’s commitment to the environment and its California operating companies, Foss and AmNav. The celebratory culmination of the years-long process is also a bright spot for the four Saltchuk shareholders for whom the tugs are named.

Saltchuk on the water

“The Jamie Ann is an amazing vessel and has been working consistently since the christening,” said Saltchuk Marine President and CEO Jason Childs. “All of the new boats have performed well and continue to shine in their respective regions. The crews love to work them, and customers love to see them pull up to do the work. Having vessels of that caliber instills confidence in everyone involved, and it’s wonderful to be a part of.”

Three of the four tugs were christened remotely, and all were named for current Saltchuk shareholders.

“The virtual christening may be the first of its kind…it was certainly a first for us,” Childs continued. “And while it was challenging, it was also empowering; many more people were able to participate than would normally be invited to an in-person event.  And it stood as a stark contrast to the pandemic – we were able to safely celebrate the achievement and share the optimism for our collective future.

“In the maritime industry, it’s a tribute when you ask someone to lend their name to a vessel. Saltchuk is primarily owned by the daughters of its founders. It was important to us to honor our female shareholders in this way.”

The Jamie Ann

Foss Maritime christened the Jamie Ann on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, and the tug arrived in San Francisco the following month to join Foss Maritime’s Harbor Services fleet. Her sponsor, Jamie Goldberg, is a company shareholder. Jamie’s father, Fred Goldberg, is a founder.

“My father got involved in the maritime industry back in 1982, the year I graduated from high school, so in many ways, I’ve grown up and grown old with Saltchuk,” she said. “Our company president and fearless leader Mark Tabbutt and I have known one another since we were kids in grade school, so I almost feel as if the company will forever twist its way into my earlier memories as well.”

Jamie discovered she was soon to be a tug’s namesake during a shareholder meeting.

“I stepped out of a meeting to take a call from my dog’s vet,” she laughed. “When I came back to the boardroom, there was a conversation about ‘naming,’ and I thought, “My goodness – is someone having a baby?’ No one was having a baby – I was getting a tug named after me.”

Jamie said she feels honored to see her name on the tug, like she’s forever connected to the company her dad helped start.

“My hopes and dreams for my vessel would be for everyone onboard to get from Point A to Point B safely and in good health, and for my tug and the crew to make the waters safe for all vessels. It’s a big dream, but the Jamie Ann can handle it!”

The Sarah Avrick is shown docked in a harbor.

The Sarah Avrick

Sarah Tauer’s father, the late Leonard Shapiro, helped found Saltchuk before she was born, so the company has always been a part of her life.

“Growing up, I didn’t spend much time around the business, but I’ve always been so proud that my family is part of Saltchuk’s history, and I’m excited for the future.”

Sarah was “shocked” when she discovered a tug was to be named for her.

“I hadn’t been aware of the company’s naming traditions, so it was an unexpected honor,” she said. “I can truly say that I never for a second thought there would ever be a tug named after me. First and foremost, I hope for the safety of its crew. I hope the vessel serves them well and that it plays its part in advancing the company’s goal of providing reliable and dependable service to its customers.”

The Leisa Florence is shown pulling from the stern of a cargo ship.

The Leisa Florence

The Leisa Florence joined Foss’s California fleet in December. She was named for Leisa Goldberg, Paul Goldberg’s wife. Paul is Fred Goldberg’s son and sits on Saltchuk’s Board of Directors. Leisa and Jamie are sisters-in-law.

“I’ve been around Saltchuck for the past 25 years,” she said. “I think one of my best memories is when we all went to San Diego together to celebrate the christening of one of our new cargo ships a little less than 18 years ago now. All of the owners were there, and our daughter was a newborn baby. It was so touching to see how the company celebrates everyone who works to build these amazing ships and the people who will ultimately be on the ships to work.”

Leisa said she’s incredibly honored to have a tug named after her.

“It’s something no one ever imagines will happen in their lifetimes,” she said. “It gives me such an incredible feeling of pride that the Leisa Florence is out there simply to help and assist crews and ships. I just love that. Growing up in landlocked Ohio, I never dreamed that I would have so much of a connection to the ocean and to an organization that helps to deliver goods all over the world.”

Leisa said she hopes her namesake can be out on the waters working for as long as she can, helping to assist and bring ships and crews home to port safely. 

“I sincerely cannot wait to visit the Leisa Florence in person someday soon and to meet the crew who gets to work with her every day. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.”

Rachael and Sarah smile, posing close together for a photo.
Sisters Rachael Sterrett, left, and Sarah Tauer.

The Rachael Allen

Rachael Sterrett said she was both surprised and honored when she was notified regarding the naming. While she and her sister (Sarah) didn’t have a lot of interaction with the Saltchuk growing up, Rachael remembers those she did meet at company social events were always very kind.

“Thank you so much to all the professionals in every capacity that have worked so hard to build and maintain these operations and businesses at every level. They deserve all the recognition and celebration of this success.” 

Meet the woman behind the tugs! Catch up with naval architect and ASD-90 Project Manager Janic Trepanier.

Hilary Reeves

Hilary Reeves spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining the Saltchuk family of companies as a consultant. Since People of Saltchuk launched in 2014, Reeves has interviewed more than 200 Saltchuk employees from operating companies all over the world. Born in Tacoma, Washington, Reeves is a former president of both the collegiate and local professional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists, a graduate of the Society’s Ted Scripps Leadership Institute, and a Toastmaster. When she’s not writing, she loves to read, ski, and practice the piano. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two young daughters.