The Seamen's Church Institute (SCI) hosted Inland and Gulf Maritime leadership for its annual Maritime Training Benefit Luncheon on April 20, 2023, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Houston. 

The event, chaired this year by Austin Golding (president and CEO of Golding Barge Line) and Clark Todd (president and CEO of Blessey Marine Services), honored the industry’s Dennis Steger, founder of three major shipyards and a medical clinic in the Houston Area, as well as serving as chairman for the Shipyard Council of America in 1996 and chairman and director of Lone Star Bank from 1992 to 1998.

SCI's president and executive director, the Rev. Mark Nestlehutt, noted how "this luncheon brings this amazing community together to celebrate those working in this crucial industry, while highlighting the importance of mariner training, pastoral care, and crisis response. It was truly an honor to present a legend like Dennis Steger with the Lifetime Achievement Award, given all that he has done for mariners throughout the inland and Gulf regions."

The Maritime Training Benefit Luncheon also featured an endearing mariner reflection by JR Miller, captain of the M/V Sarah Golding of Golding Barge Line, and honoree introductory remarks by Cherrie Felder of Channel Shipyard. The opening benediction was offered by SCI's newest chaplain, based in Houston, the Rev. Christine Brunson. Also, the event featured remarks on "Excellence in Training," by SCI's Center for Maritime Education director, Capt. Stephen Polk, MNI.

This event, held annually every spring in Houston, focuses on SCI's commitment to mariner safety and training. SCI's Center for Maritime Education is designed to offer state-of-the-art simulator training facilities in Paducah, Ky., and Houston, training over 1,800 mariners per year and a robust online learning platform currently serving over 10,000 mariners.

For more than 180 years, SCI has advocated for the personal, professional, and spiritual well-being of merchant mariners, both internationally and domestically, promoting safety, dignity, and improved working conditions for maritime workers.