SSHSA Board of Directors


Mary L. Payne, President, of Wallingford, Pennsylvania, has spent more than 25 years as an experienced consultant for strategic and business planning for health and health-related organizations. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the College of St. Benedict, and her Master’s degrees in Business and Social Work from Temple University’s School of Business and School of Social Administration. She has been a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator since 1978 and is also a part of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. Additionally, she is certified to conduct accreditation reviews for continuing care retirement communities as part of the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission.

Her work has included planning engagements for various services, such as long-term care, ambulatory care, emergency room, medical, surgical, oncology, pediatric, women’s and children’s, child and family welfare, and AIDS and HIV. She has also conducted training programs in long-term care, staff development program, and management and governance retreats all over the country.

Payne was the Senior Manager at the Katz Consulting Group Inc. and Senior Manager at KPMG Peat Marwick’s Northeast Region Management Consulting, Strategic Planning Practice. Currently, she has her own consulting firm, Payne & Associates. She wrote A Guide to Memorandum of Understanding: Negotiation and Development for Long-Term Care Management Agencies, which was picked by the Administration on Aging for national distribution to state units. Along with Gerald Katz, Payne authored “Network Formation: Lessons Learned” which was also published in Ambulatory Outreach, the publication of the Society for Ambulatory Care Professionals in Spring 1997.
Barry W. Eager, Vice President, of Berlin, Massachusetts, is a local historian, musician and retired teacher. He joined SSHSA in 1973 and is now a lifetime member. Barry has served as an SSHSA board member or officer for more than 40 years. He was first elected to the board in 1977 serving until 1985, and served again from 1996 to 2004. Throughout that time, he played multiple roles within the society, and was SSHSA’s secretary from 1989 to 2006. His third stint on the board wrapped up in 2015, however he was appointed back immediately as a Vice President, then elected to the board for another two years in 2016.

Eager was Chairman of the Southern New England Chapter, and has written several articles for Steamboat Bill. He is currently serving as Vice President and is the author of "Heard on the Fantail" in PowerShips magazine. He is active in local activities in the Town of Berlin, Massachusetts, a member of the cemetery commission and historical commission, and specializes in collecting music and songs having to do with steamboats.

Nicholas Langhart, Vice President, grew up in Ohio and has a passion for maritime heritage and historic architecture. He currently serves as library director at The Forbush Memorial Library in Westminster, Massachusetts. He formerly served as the library director at the Boylston (Massachusetts) Public Library for 11 years.

Nick holds a Master's Degree in Historic Preservation from Cornell University. Among his many roles in the community, he is a docent trainer for Preservation Worcester. Nick is also an instructor for the Evolution of New England Architecture at Fitchburg State and has taught the History of Worcester’s Architecture at Clark University and Worcester State University. Prior to serving as a professional library director, he was Property Manager for the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, now better known as Historic New England. His expertise was instrumental in organizing the SSHSA library at the Ship History Center in 2015.

Don Leavitt, Vice President, has a Bachelor’s Degree in American History from the University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. In the early 1980s he worked as a reporter and part-time anchor at WNNE-TV in Vermont, an NBC affiliate. Many of his stories were picked up by CNN and NBC A-News where they were broadcast from stations around the country.

In 1985, Don and his best friend Rick bought an abandoned 60 acre estate in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. They restored the property into a country inn and restaurant. By the time they sold it in 2001, the Red Hill Inn had become one of New England’s premier country inns with 26 rooms, a 100-seat restaurant, and large conference facilities. Don also developed a restoration plan for a local landmark, Kimball’s Castle, and operated the Shaker Inn in Enfield, New Hampshire, from 1998 to 2003.

In 1990, Don and Rick bought a shuttered Art Deco movie theatre in the college town of Plymouth, New Hampshire. They restored and reopened the theatre, successfully operated it until 2002 when they sold it to a chain.

In 2001, Don and Rick bought a ship memorabilia business called Nautiques. They converted it from catalog and storefront sales to strictly ecommerce. Shortly after, Rick passed away. Today www.nautiques.net is one of the most trusted nautical antiques sites in the business. Through the internet, Don sells to customers in all 50 states and around the world. Don and his husband Todd live in a restored Vermont village house that was built just a few years after Cunard first sailed across the Atlantic.

CAPT Robert E. Hughes, Treasurer, resides in Warren, Rhode Island, and New Rochelle, New York. He received his Bachelor’s Degree as a government major from Colby College in 1968, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Fordham University in 1976. Hughes served in the U.S. Navy as a Photographer’s Mate, 2nd Class, on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid, providing photo support services during operational deployments, which included a six-month NATO cruise.

After his time in service, Hughes served as a Line Supervisor for the New Haven Railroad from 1968 to 1974, Transportation Planning Analyst for Long Island Railroad from 1974 to 1977, and an Operations Manager for Newsweek (1977-1979), Time magazine and Life magazine. He then became the General Manager of Time Inc. Advertising Center and then Production Director for Worldwide Time International. From 1979 to 1994, Hughes worked for Time Warner Magazine Production Division as the European Director of Production and Distribution for Time Atlantic in London. In the following years, Hughes worked for several publishing companies, such as the Readers Digest Association, The Publishing and Media Group, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, American Media Inc., OK! Magazine and Weekly Reader Publishing. His experience made him a Senior Publishing Production Executive with international and domestic printing experience, as well as experience in manufacturing operations and plant restructuring.

In 2006, Hughes became a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine CAPT, licensed to carry up to six passengers. He spends the summers on the water as Assistant Harbormaster in Barrington, Rhode Island. Bob also owns, maintains and sails a classic 34’ Albin trawler, Coast Daylight, which he, his wife Lynn, and Harry the Dog crew.

CAPT Terry Tilton USN (Ret.), Secretary, grew up on a farm in Iowa, but as a young man he longed for the sea. He attended and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, serving 25 years as a Naval Officer and completing a career qualified to command any ship in the Navy.

He obtained experience in cruiser, destroyer and amphibious assault ships, commanding the USS Peoria in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. CAPT Tilton also has extensive engineering experience in diesel, gas turbine, steam and nuclear powered propulsion plants. He received the Legion of Merit after rewriting the Navy diesel propulsion procedures, which set new standards regarding qualification, operation and maintenance for the entire Pacific Fleet. Following his Navy career, CAPT Tilton enjoyed a business career at national and regional responsibility levels.

He collects unique maritime artifacts, including one of the finest collections of ship builder’s plates anywhere. He is a researcher and author of several feature-length articles in PowerShips, most notably his extensive compilations on companies such as the Ingalls Shipbuilding. He is also an active participant as researcher, author, speaker, and officer in the Southern California Chapter of SSHSA.

CAPT Tilton lives in San Diego with his wife Mary Pat. Along with ships, he likes mechanical technology, transportation history and cars, with a particular fondness for classic Jaguars.

Board Members

CAPT James McNamara of Chatham, New Jersey, is a 1964 graduate of New York State Maritime College, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Maritime Transportation. From 1964 to 1970, McNamara worked for the States Marine Lines, receiving an unlimited Master Oceans license by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1968. He joined the National Cargo Bureau in 1970, and served as the Surveyor at San Francisco, California; Houston and Galveston, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; and Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1987 he became Chief Surveyor, followed by a promotion to Vice President and Chief Surveyor in New York in 1988. From 1993 to March 31, 2010, McNamara served as President.

McNamara and his wife, Connie, have two children, Jamie and Carolyn. He joined SSHSA in 1982 and is a lifetime member.

McNamara has received several distinguished awards for his service, including the U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award and the U.S. Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award. He was inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame at the United Nations in New York in 2007 and served as Chairman of the Marine Section of the National Safety Council from 1987 to 1988. He has been a lecturer at the World Maritime University at Malmo, Sweden, since 1990, and is currently on the U.S. Delegation to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, and a member of the Dangerous Goods Solid Cargoes & Containers Subcommittee.

Since 1999, McNamara has been Chairman of the Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler, New York. He is currently on several boards, including the Board of Trustees for the National Maritime Historical Society since 2001, the Board of Trustees for the Seaman’s Church Institute since 2001, and the Board of Directors for the International Shipholding Group. In 2003, McNamara received the American Institute of Marine Underwriters’ Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Laurence Miller Dr. Laurence Miller served 25 years as Director of Libraries, Florida International University, before retiring in 2005. Prior to his role at FIU, he began his career as library director at Inter American University of Puerto Rico after studying at Florida State University.

He began amassing his vast maritime collection of vintage ocean liner and cruise ship memorabilia as a young man back in the 1950s. In 2009 he donated this extensive ephemera collection of brochures, menus, and deck plans to the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum.

Larry spends much time cataloging the thousands of archived works now housed within the “Laurence Miller Collection” at the Wolf. Larry is a world traveler and published author. He and his wife reside in Miami, Florida, and look forward to many more cruises.

Paul O'Pecko of Westerly, Rhode Island, is the Vice President for Research Collections, and the Director of the G.W Blunt White Library at Mystic Seaport. He is a graduate of Penn State and Drexel Universities and has been at Mystic Seaport since 1984. His major interest has been making the collections at the Museum more accessible to researchers and the general population, especially through digital means. He is also the current editor of the electronic journal CORIOLIS: the Interdisciplinary Journal of Maritime Studies.

CAPT David Pickering of Warwick, Rhode Island, is the founder of Seamanship and Leadership Training for Youths (S.A.L.T.Y.), a non-profit organization organized in 2014. S.A.L.T.Y. provides sailing adventures aboard traditional sailing ships for Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts and other youth organizations including Gold Star Teens, the sons and daughters of a military parent who gave their life defending our freedoms. The organization maintains a small office within the SSHSA Ship History Center, as their mission complements SSHSA’s.

Dave has been active in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) throughout his life, having started as a Cub Scout at the age of 8. He earned his Eagle Scout rank, the highest recognition in scouting, in 1972. As an adult, he has remained an active scouter to this day, focusing on the BSA Sea Scouts. He was a scoutmaster for Troop 56 Plymouth, New Hampshire, was the Skipper of Sea Scout Ship 1909 in East Greenwich Rhode Island, and currently sits as the Ship's Committee Chairman.

In 1984, Dave founded Preventure Corporate Wellness, located in Rhode Island. He and his partners have grown the company from a startup to a multi-million dollar business. Dave retired from Preventure in 2014, and joined the SSHSA Board in 2016. He's a licensed USCG Merchant Marine Officer and an SSHSA CAPTs’ Circle member since 2013.

David L. Powers Jr. of Seattle, Washington, is a 1983 honors graduate of Colby College with a Bachelor’s Degree in history. In January of 1983 he undertook independent study in the Soviet Union, and was awarded the Thomas J. Watson Fellow Grant the following year to spend one year studying and documenting the history and development of ocean liners in England, Scotland, France, Italy and the Netherlands. From 1984 to 1998, Powers held several positions within Cunard Line Ltd., such as Passenger Service Representative, Customer Representative for the World Cruise Department, Senior Passenger Service Representative, Senior Project Assistant, Inventory Controller and Reservation Manager, to name a few.

From 1998 to 1999 he worked with American Express Travel Related Services Company Ltd. as the Membership Rewards Coordinator. In 2000 to 2004 he worked for Festival/First European Class Cruises and was Director for Voyager Club Programs, Virtuoso. From 2004 to present, Powers has been the Director of Cruise Programs, Virtuoso.

In 2002, Powers became a Certified Travel Associate from the Travel Institute. He has made several presentations, including a Cunard Historical Overview in 2006, A History of Ship Breaking for the World Ship Society in 1999, and another Cunard Historical Overview in 1998. His professional memberships include a member of the Board of Directors and Curatorial Chairman for SSHSA, Executive Board Member of the World Ship Society and Chairman of the Port of New York division. Powers’ many interests include history, collecting ship memorabilia, traveling abroad, music, photography and volunteer work.

Thomas Ragan of Miami, Florida, is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and after a career in international corporate finance as a partner in major U.S. law firms he currently is a partner in his own firm, Ragan & Freeman LLP, based in Lakeville, Connecticut. He is a lifelong lover of ocean travel, having sailed back and forth to Brazil as a child on the Moore-McCormack liners when his father was Chief of the U.S. Naval Mission there. During his military service and legal career, he frequently lived abroad and traveled extensively, which gave him the opportunity to visit in port and sail on many of the classic liners. Over the years he has built up an extensive collection of books on merchant shipping. He maintains homes in Lakeville and Miami Beach. He joined the SSHSA Board in 2013, and has been an active participant, leader and supporter ever since.

James Shuttleworth of Rowland Heights, California, joined SSHSA in 1973. He has a strong interest in maritime history and maritime art, and has collected maritime paintings, prints, signal flag systems and house flags books that he enjoys studying. Mr. Shuttleworth received his Bachelor’s Degree in geology in 1969 from the California State University, Los Angeles. He became the Head of the Geology Section of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, retiring in 2009. During this time he also served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. Additionally, he has been a Reader at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, since the mid-1990s, where he still volunteers and is currently working on cataloging their collection of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company’s corporate records for the years 1848 to 1942. Occasionally, he will consult about maritime art with the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and several other institutions.

Mr. Shuttleworth has also written articles for various maritime publications, his favorite subject being ship paintings. He maintains memberships in many other maritime organizations, such as the National Maritime Historical Society, the Mystic Seaport Museum, the Channel Islands Maritime Museum, the Puget Sound Historical Society, Maine Maritime Museum, and the Maritime Museum of San Diego. He helped found the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in the mid-1970s.

CAPT Eric Takakjian resides in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and is a professional mariner who has been sailing ships and oceangoing tugboats to various corners of the world since 1978. He is currently employed by The Vane Brothers Company aboard an oceangoing tugboat based in New York Harbor. He and his wife Lori both served in the U.S. Coast Guard and formerly owned and operated the research vessel QUEST, conducting oceanographic and shipwreck research in the North East United States and outer continental shelf waters. They currently are resurrecting a large sailboat that had been damaged in Hurricane Sandy.

CAPT Takakjian has conducted extensive historical research on New England shipwrecks, resulting in the location and exploration more than 70 previously undiscovered shipwrecks in the waters around New England and outer continental shelf waters. A diver since 1972 and an avid shipwreck diver since 1975, he has been a fellow of the Explorers Club since 1997, a member of the Steamship Historical Society of America for over two decades, and is an associate member of the Boston Sea Rovers.

He has been a volunteer at the Ship History Center since 2010, mainly documenting and compiling a comprehensive database of all SSHSA’s ship plans. The process has thus far organized around 3,000 plans through more than 750 volunteer hours in house and on the computer.

CAPT Eric T. Wiberg is an historian and lecturer living in Westport, Connecticut. He grew up in Nassau, Bahamas, to parents from Sweden and the U.S. From age 13, he attended New England boarding schools and then Boston College before skippering a 68-foot sailing yacht from the Galapagos to New Zealand at age 23. By 25, he was a licensed 100-ton CAPT and relocated to Singapore where he operated tankers for three years.

On return to Newport, Rhode Island, he founded a yacht delivery agency, Echo, providing work for 75 mariners globally. He personally sailed more than 75,000 nautical miles on over 100 vessels in some 60 countries since 1987. After obtaining a JD in maritime law and a Master’s in Marine Affairs degree, he and his wife relocated to the Stamford, Connecticut, area where he was an executive recruiter to the shipping industry for three years. He published four books in 2009, including a thesis and a sailing memoir. For four years, he sold Tradewinds, a Norwegian shipping weekly, before moving to McAllister Towing, a 150-year-old tugboat firm in Manhattan, as Marketing Manager. In 2016 his book U-Boats in the Bahamas was published. U-Boats off Bermuda and U-Boats in New England are under contract to follow, and other maritime history books and blogs are in development. His home page is ericwiberg.com.


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