The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) announced this week that Boysie Bollinger and Otto Candies Jr. had received the 2022 Robert J. Alario Distinguished Achievement Award. OMSA also recognized the late John P. Laborde as the 2021 winner.

The awards were celebrated during a private dinner held for current and former OMSA board members.

The annual Robert J. Alario Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes individuals who, through their lifetime of deeds and accomplishments, are indisputable champions of the U.S. maritime industry. The award was created by OMSA in 2020. 

The award is named for its first recipient, the late Robert J. “Bob” Alario, who as the chairman and president of OMSA for two decades established a unified voice of the offshore industry. Alario died in November 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic prevented OMSA from holding the 2021 award ceremony. Thus, this year's dinner honored the 2021 award winner — the late John P. Laborde — and the two 2022 winners, Bollinger and Candies Jr. 

In 1985, Donald T. "Boysie" Bollinger succeeded his father as chief executive officer of Bollinger Shipyards. He oversaw several acquisitions that transformed Bollinger into the largest privately owned shipyard in the U.S. He retired in 2014 and was succeeded by his nephew, Ben Bordelon. During his career, Bollinger was active in many organizations and boards and was the first non-vessel owner to sit on the OMSA board of directors.

Otto Candies Jr. served as a founding member of OMSA and a long-time director and supporter of the Coast Guard Foundation. He started working for his father’s business, Otto Candies LLC, in 1960. Under three generations of family ownership, the company has been a leading marine-transportation firm serving the offshore energy industry since 1942. In 2021, Otto Jr. died at 82. Otto Candies III accepted the award.

After serving in World War II, John Laborde founded Tidewater Inc. in 1956, as a vessel operator serving the emerging offshore oil and gas industry. He remained CEO of Tidewater for 38 years. The company grew from two vessels into the largest oil and gas marine operator, with more than 700 vessels worldwide at the time of his retirement in 1994. During his career, Laborde was a founding member and longtime supporter of OMSA. Currently his grandson, Ashton Laborde, president of Laborde Marine, serves on the OMSA board of directors. John Laborde died in 2021 at 97. 

John P. Laborde’s award was accepted by his sons Cliffe and Peter Laborde.

Throughout my entire life, I never once questioned my father’s integrity, and I think that is why he is receiving this honor today, because everyone knew his word was true,” Cliffe Laborde said in accepting the award for his family.

It was fitting that OMSA members nominated, and the board awarded John Laborde with the first edition of the Robert J. Alario Distinguished Achievement Award because John and Bob shared a multidecade friendship. “My dad and Bob had a special connection, built upon mutual respect,” said Peter Laborde.