Mark Knoy’s first personal encounter with Seamen’s Church Institute occurred over twenty years ago. He had just experienced “his first river fatality as a boss and didn’t know what to do.” Having been aware of SCI because of their training capabilities, Mark contacted Seamen's Church immediately for consult on the tragedy. He was profoundly impressed by the chaplains’ ability to jump into the front lines with nuanced precision, and facilitate the healing process for the mariner’s family, crew and his company.
And so began a decades-long association between champion of the river mariner, Mark Knoy, and champion of the river mariner organization, SCI. “There will always be a special place in my heart for the pastoral care team at Seamen’s Church. None of us would have jobs if it wasn’t for the deck hand, and SCI chaplains care for the mariners on the river in a way that no one else can.”
SCI President & Executive Director, the Reverend Mark Nestlehutt, observed that “Mark Knoy’s initial introduction to the work and ministry of SCI eventually shaped his leadership commitments as an SCI board member. Mark spearheaded our fundraising initiatives to increase the number of full-time river chaplains, as well as expand their geographic presence along the river system, in order to meet the critical pastoral care needs and practical support of mariners. His enthusiasm, leadership, and generosity as a trustee will be greatly missed.”
Although Mark Knoy’s expressed milestones for his tenure at SCI focused on fundraising and chaplaincy support, his Board peers held a more expansive view of his contributions. As Mark steps away from his roles as SCI Board of Trustees Vice Chairman, River Bell Luncheon Chair, and Chair of the Development Committee, he leaves a far-reaching legacy of character and vision for the organization.
“Mark provided unique insight into the nature of the river business and its people,” says former SCI Board Chair and current Board member Rich du Moulin. “His inspiring leadership and generosity, his tireless and creative approach to problem solving, and the genuine passion and willingness to take on difficult projects that made him successful in business, served him well on the Board. His commitment to safety and to the mariner set a standard for the industry.”
“Mark was the quintessential Vice Chair,” says current SCI Board Chair Bruce Paulsen. “In both strategic and practical matters, Mark was an enormous support to me. His help in managing SCI’s leadership transition last year, and in taking the lead in fundraising were exceptional.”
2019 Year of the Mariner
Attendees of SCI’s 2019 River Bell Awards Luncheon witnessed first-hand Mark’s impact at the grassroots level. Early in 2019, Mark introduced the novel idea of presenting the River Bell Distinguished Service Award to All Mariners. He launched a search among marine transportation companies for a mariner to accept the award on all of their behalf. The resulting acceptance speeches by the two chosen mariners at the event provided one of the highlights of the year, and perfectly illustrated the mission of SCI along with Mark’s advocacy efforts for mariners.
In an internal email to staff and colleagues at ACBL, Mark conveyed his confidence in ACBL’s new ownership group, and his plans for continued onsite support through the end of the year.
“My 45-year career in the industry has been incredibly rewarding for me and my family, and I wish the new leadership team at ACBL the best,” says Mark. “This is a good time for self-reflection. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds!”