Welcome Aboard!….CMLF Names New Port Captain and Marketing Manager
(Cape May, NJ) Today, Cape May – Lewes Ferry officials announced the promotion of Bryan C. Helm of Ocean City, New Jersey, to serve as Port Captain and the selection of Michael J. Porch of Wildwood, New Jersey as the new Marketing Manager for the Cape May – Lewes Ferry operation. Both individuals began their official duties effective April 26, 2010.
“Mr. Helm and Mr. Porch bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to their respective management positions,” said Heath Gehrke, Director of Ferry Operations. “I am pleased both individuals have accepted the opportunity to lend their talents, leadership abilities and problem solving skills to a make a positive difference at the Cape May – Lewes Ferry. We are fortunate and honored to have them as part of our management team.”
The Port Captain is responsible for ensuring that Delaware River & Bay Authority (DRBA) vessels, including the Cape May – Lewes (CMLF) fleet and the Three Forts Ferry service, are crewed, operated, and maintained in accordance with regulatory requirements, Authority standards, and customer expectations. “I appreciate and value the Authority’s faith in my abilities to oversee and manage what I consider the Best Boat Ride in America,” said Bryan Helm, a 22-year veteran of the Cape May – Lewes Ferry operation. “With the experience and knowledge I bring to the table, I look forward to meeting the challenges and opportunities ahead as we continue to enhance our ferry service for our customers and stakeholders.”
Captain Helm is a 1988 graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation and 3rd Mate Unlimited Tonnage Oceans License. In July 1988, he began his employment at the CMLF as a Temporary Able Bodied Seamen. In 1989 he earned his 1st Class Pilot license for the lower Delaware Bay and in 1991 his Inland Unlimited Tonnage Masters license.
CMLF officials also announced the selection of Michael J. Porch of Wildwood, NJ, to serve as the ferry service’s Marketing Manager. In this management position, Mr. Porch is responsible for increasing public awareness and usage of the Ferry through the execution of a comprehensive marketing, advertising and public relations plan and for maintaining a positive image of the Ferry with DRBA patrons, community organizations, governmental agencies, tourism groups, and local businesses.
“When I was seven years old, my grandfather took me aboard the Cape May – Lewes Ferry for the first time and I was hooked,” said Michael Porch. “That first trip began a lifelong passion for the Ferry and I want other people to experience that same enjoyment.” Porch added that he strongly believes that developing strong tourism, business and community partnerships provide a solid foundation for successful marketing efforts.
Prior to joining the CMLF, Mr. Porch was the Executive Director of Main Street Wildwood, position he held for the past ten years. While leading Main Street Wildwood, he was responsible for the implementation of the four- point Main Street program organization, marketing, design and economic restructuring using a community-wide volunteer base. A graduate of The College of William and Mary with a Bachelor of Arts in 1983, Mr. Porch has also completed the Dale Carnegie Course in Effective Communications and Human Relations. He also has more than ten years of retail managing experience.
The Cape May - Lewes Ferry (CMLF) operates year round and has carried more than thirty-five million passengers since its inception on July 1, 1964. In 2009, the ferry service, which connects Victorian Cape May, New Jersey, and historic Lewes, Delaware, transported approximately 325,000 vehicles and nearly 1 million passengers.
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