The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) Board of Directors has elected David H. Welch as chairman and John Gellert as vice chairman for the upcoming 2017-2018 term. Welch and Gellert assumed their positions at the NOIA Annual Meeting April 6 in Washington, D.C.


David Welch

Welch, who is president and CEO of Stone Energy Corporation, becomes the first producer to serve as NOIA chairman. Welch joined Stone Energy, an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company, in 2004 and has previously served on NOIA’s board of directors.

“As a longtime member of NOIA, I am truly honored by the opportunity to serve as chairman,” Welch said in a NOIA statement announcing the election results. “With recovering commodity prices and a more energy-aware administration in Washington, D.C., NOIA and its members can now work better with Washington to help forge common-sense policies that allow for the safe development of all offshore energy resources.”

John Gellert has led Seacor Marine Holdings as president since 2014. Seacor Marine is a provider of offshore marine support vessels, serving the offshore oil and gas exploration and production industry. Gellert also serves as a co-chief operating officer for Seacor Holdings.

“It is a great privilege to serve NOIA in this new role,” Gellert said. “I am looking forward to working with Dave, Randall [Luthi, NOIA’s president], and the NOIA membership in this exciting time. We will continue NOIA’s mission to promote the safe development of offshore energy for the continued growth and security of the United States.”

NOIA president Luthi said “Dave and John assume NOIA leadership during a pivotal time for the offshore industry. Commodity prices are stubbornly creeping up and, after eight years, we finally have an administration that understands the benefits of  ‘all of the above’ energy. As we enter what should be a brighter year, we have a true opportunity to make the case for offshore energy, both in the short and long-term. President Trump is looking for ways to kick start the American economy and generate federal revenue. Our industry offers a way to achieve both.”

Among its priorities, NOIA is looking to the Trump administration to begin a process reversing the Obama administration’s actions to keep sections of the outer continental shelf off the Atlantic states and Alaska closed to exploration for years to come.

“NOIA will continue our push to increase access to our offshore resources and establish a fair and reliable regulatory environment for our industry. Our industry has a proven track record of providing well-paying jobs, affordable domestic energy for our nation and vital revenue streams for federal, state and local governments. In return, past Federal policies have closed over 94% of the outer continental shelf to oil and natural gas exploration.  It is time to reverse that trend and discover the full energy potential of the US offshore.”

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.