Maritime industry professionals visit local middle


Contact: Dave Sessums, Chair, Education Committee, Propeller Club-Port of Tampa,

(813) 247-1118 Email:

Date: November 25, 2014

Maritime industry professionals visit local middle schools for the Great American Teach-In

Tampa, Fla. – Professionals from various careers in the Port of Tampa’s maritime industry – members of the world’s largest Propeller Club, located in the Port of Tampa; along with members from the Tampa Bay Mariners Club, Inc., visited middle schools in Hillsborough County Public Schools for the Great American Teach-In on November 20, 2014. These volunteers spent a total of twenty-five class periods in various Hillsborough County middle schools describing their careers, the maritime industry in general, and how students could develop pathways to a lucrative careers in the maritime industry.

Participants included Pete Brown, Marine Surveyor; Pamela Fay of Lightning Bay; Patrick Garrison of Bluewater Diver & Salvage Co.; Ginger Hayes, Commercial Marine Insurance Underwriter at TCA, Inc.; Christopher Koehler, Esq. of Fowler Rodriguez LLP; David Pope, Esq. of Banker Lopez Gassler, P.A.; Kaitlyn Roseman of International Ship Repair & Marine Services, Inc.; Dorothy Schrage, Senior Ocean Marine Underwriter at International Marine Underwriters; and Richard Tager, President of Gulf Coast Bulk Equipment, Inc.

Although perhaps not well-known, there is an enormous breadth of educational paths and maritime-related career choices available. Students learned they can pursue these in Hillsborough County Public Schools, college, graduate school and beyond, or in local technical schools. In particular, the students were interested to know that many maritime-industry careers with excellent salaries are land-based, in addition to seagoing careers which are commonly known to pay well.

Students also learned that for every seagoing career – from able-bodied seamen, to officers with advanced degrees – there are exponentially more supporting land-based personnel in very diverse careers, a large number of which require education ranging from college and graduate degrees and beyond, to high school and technical school diplomas.


Even in the current difficult economic climate, students discovered that for the foreseeable future, maritime industry jobs will grow at 15% rate over the next ten years. In short, students found that there is an education level and maritime industry career available for almost anyone, here in the Port of Tampa and elsewhere.

“Students were genuinely interested in learning about the Maritime Transportation Industry and what part it plays in the Tampa Bay area,” said Mr. Tager. “Students were very active during the classes, and asked excellent questions about various aspects of the maritime industry,” he said. Mr. Tager advised students that career paths in the maritime industry include land-based or seagoing careers which provide substantial and reliable salaries — whether developed in college and graduate school, with commensurate income in the marketplace that can easily reach six figures – or in more traditional, but well-paying and plentiful technical vocations.

“Like most, I was hesitant to take the time to participate given my heavy workload; however, after my experience the only thing I regret was that I did not sign up for the Great American Teach In sooner,” said Ms. Schrage.

Perhaps most importantly, the visiting professionals also brought news to students about Hillsborough County Public Schools’ maritime education programs, which were developed in close collaboration with the Propeller Club – Port of Tampa: the new Magnet Maritime and Marine Environmental Science Honors Academy at Tampa’s Jefferson High School, and the maritime education program at Blake High School. Students in these programs are exposed to a wide spectrum of maritime-industry career paths, including: information technology specialists, marine surveyors, trade/businesspeople, engineers, logistics specialists, naval architects, terminal operations personnel, admiralty lawyers, ship workers/officers, port operations personnel; as well as ship-building/repair career paths, including skilled iron-workers, electricians, machinists, and technicians; and many more. Many graduates of these programs can expect to go to colleges and universities, then on to very rewarding maritime industry careers; but some have the option to immediately begin reliable and profitable work in highly-skilled blue-collar jobs, whether seagoing or ashore.

The application period for 2015/2016 closes on December 17, 2014. Applications for Jefferson’s Magnet Maritime Honors Academy are available at All Blake students who want to be admitted to its maritime education program should apply directly to the school.

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Lightning Bay Honors Our Veterans

On Veterans Day, Lightning Bay Companies would like to thank all who have served in our great country and pay tribute to our own crew who have done the same. We are proud to share the brave efforts of the following:

Erik Buechner

Erik Buechner served in the United States Army for seven years. His home base was out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, which is known to be one of the largest military bases in the Eastern part of the U.S. Buechner has experienced a lot during his time and Lightning Bay is proud to honor his military accomplishments.

David Fay

Lightning Bay Companies’ Vice President, David Fay was also part of the armed forces. Fay is a proud veteran who served in the United States Air Force for four years and worked as an Aircraft Hydraulic Mechanic. Fay was active during the Gulf War in Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia and was stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. Fay is among the many that has a deep appreciation for our country and for those who served.

Richard McLoone

Richard McLoone was an E6 Army Staff Sargent during part of his 11 ½ year military career. From countries such as Bosnia to Poland, McLoone’s time served allowed him to experience many places all around the world. McLoone left decorated with numerous awards and medals for honorable service including a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Other noble achievements include a Korean Peninsula Defense Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Operation Iraqi Freedom Medal, National Defense Service Medal, an Expeditionary Medal as well as various accommodation, achievement and good conduct medals.

Mark Renaud

Mark Renaud was a Sargent in the Marine Corps. During his four-year journey, Renaud worked as an Aircraft Hydraulic Mechanic as well as a Prisoner Escort. As an exceptional student, Renaud graduated at the top of his class in Aircraft Hydraulic School and second in the Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy. Renaud also received a Good Conduct Medal.

Lightning Bay grows despite economy

Lightning Bay grows despite economy

Mark Holan, Staff Writer – Tampa Bay Business Journal
Jun 1, 2012, 6:00am EDT Updated: Aug 29, 2013, 7:11am EDT

TIndustry struggles to train, keep talented employees

AMPA — Lightning Bay Pneu-draulics has found a path to growth from Tampa’s waterfront docks through the phosphate mines of Polk County and the amusement rides at Disney.

The eight-year-old company has weathered the worst of the recession and continues to face workforce challenges.

Now Lightning Bay is building its own headquarters after years of leasing industrial shop space. The company expects to top $2 million annual revenue for the first time.

“We recognize when things are happening and we change our business dynamics to fit what is going on,” said company PresidentPamela Fay.

“We’ve watched other companies crumble and we watched what they did wrong. We are not going to complain about the state of the economy.”fiannce_1

Pamela and David Fay started the company in 2004 with their own money. He was an experienced hydraulic field services technician. She was a Blake High School biology teacher and Green Iguanabartender.

She did the books. He made the repairs. They both made sales calls.

The business grew from a pickup truck to it recent purchase of a $50,000 honing machine. A lot of work has come from the Port of Tampa, where the company services cranes, winches and steering systems, and from the phosphate mining industry, where it works on drag lines and processing plant equipment.

Along the way, Lightning Bay has grown to 15 employees.

But finding and retaining skilled workers is one of the company’s biggest challenges, Pamela Fay said.

“This is not the same as working on a car,” she said.

“If you make a mistake you can kill somebody. This generation in their 20s and 30s are just not doing it. I don’t think they know there is money in it.”

Skilled pneumatic and hydraulic workers can earn from about $80,000 into the six figures with good benefits, Fay said.

The lack of skilled laborers is not just a Tampa problem. “It’s a challenge all over the U.S.,” said Donna Pollander, executive director of the International Fluid Power Society.

“Kids with an opportunity for [higher] education don’t want a trade,” she said. “They want a cool, comfortable office and not get their fingernails dirty.”

And the problem isn’t confined to pneumatic and hydraulic workers.

Skills gap surveys conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers “consistently underscore how a vast majority of American manufacturers are facing a serious shortage of qualified employees, taking an increasingly negative toll on America’s ability to be innovative and productive.”

NAM attributes the broadening skills gap to several factors, including retiring baby boomers, advanced technology that require new skills, and increased global job competition.

Fay said Lightning Bay puts a premium on providing good employee benefits. “We want them to know we appreciate them,” she said.

The company is building its headquarters on a 5-acre lot at 1221 S. 82nd St. south of Palm River Road in East Tampa.

Fay said the company made the purchase in cash but will recoup some of the investment through its $1.1 million construction loan from Great Florida Bank. Lightning Bay Industrial, spun off from Lightning Bay Pneu-draulics to handle general contracting work, will do most of the construction on the nearly 15,000-square-foot building.

That’s about double the space it is currently renting for at its current location.

INFOBUSINESS:Lightning Bay Pneu-draulics
ADDRESS: 4302 E. 10th Ave., Tampa
Fluid power system installation, maintenance and repair