Secretary Ray LaHood
Merchant Marine Academy - James Helis Phone Call
Monday, June 25, 2012
As all of you know, the Merchant Marine Academy is one of my top priorities at DOT.
I am deeply committed to providing the Academy with the necessary resources to train students and prepare them for a career in the maritime industry.
A strong merchant marine industry is not a luxury—it’s a necessity—for our country’s national and economic security.
Since I’ve taken office, we have worked hard to restore the Academy as one of our nation’s greatest institutions.
There’s no question that our students, faculty, and families are second to none, but there is other work that remains to be done.
Today, I’m happy to announce a new partner who will help us tackle that work and ensure a strong future for Kings Point.
Today, I’m appointing retired Colonel James Helis (HEL-is) as the next Superintendent of the Merchant Marine Academy.
Now, Colonel Helis is going to speak to all of you in a few minutes. Before he does that, I would like to share a little of his background.
Colonel Helis has extensive leadership experience, with both a military and academic background that will complement the Academy’s goal of training and educating its students.
He served our country for 30 years in the U.S. Army. He has worked with military and civilian officials here in the U.S. and abroad.
And since 2004, Colonel Helis has served as the Chair for the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College.
He is a West Point graduate and holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Colonel Helis will be a strong addition to the Academy, and I am so pleased to appoint him as the next Superintendent.
I’m holding this call today because I wanted you all to know right away that we had found a new Superintendent for this school.
But I want you all to know that you will get a chance to meet Colonel Helis in person when he joins the Academy next month and we hold an official welcoming event for him then.
With that, I would like to turn it over to Colonel Helis. Colonel, welcome aboard.