Page 34: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Q1 2014)
The Energy Edition: Exploration, Production & Transportation
C rowley Maritime was founded in 1892 by Thom- as Crowley in San Francisco. Its fl eet: A single
Whitehall rowboat purchased for $80, used to ferry people and supplies from shore to ships anchored in the Bay. From these humble beginnings has grown one of the strongest and recognizable maritime franchises in U.S. history. A diverse, privately held $2B plus per year U.S.-based transport and logistics organization with a fl eet of more than 200 U.S.-fl agged vessels, a company which is still held pri- vately by the Crowley family, run today and for the past 20 years by Thomas B. Crowley, Jr., Chairman and CEO.
The Best Laid Plans
From an early age Tom Crowley, Jr. knew that the family business that bore his name would indeed be his destiny, too. “I don’t know when it was exactly that I knew I wanted to work here, but with our last name attached to it, I felt that I would have something to do with the business,” said Crow- ley. During his high school and college years, Crowley would work at the company in a variety of jobs.
A self-described “operations guy,” he saw the diversity of the business and the operations, and saw ample opportunity for himself. Soon after joining the company upon graduating college, though, fate entered the picture, as Tom’s father be- came ill, and the line of succession – which he had envisioned would take 10 to 15 years – was compressed to three years when his father passed away and Tom took the helm of the $1B per year company.
At the age of 26. “I didn’t have a lot of time to plan and think ahead of what was going to happen,” Crowley said. “And there were many days when I sat there and thought ‘is this even possible.’ But
I knew that if I didn’t at least give it a try that 20 years later I would feel bad.
So I was running the company and my dad was dying at the same time, and the pressures were huge. My day-to-day strat- egy was ‘one day at a time.’ If I can get through this day, there will be a fresh day tomorrow,” Crowley said. “Early in my ca- reer, it wasn’t about ‘where am I going to take this company,’ or ‘what type of leader do I want to be,’ it was more about putting out fi res and just trying to keep my head about me.”
And keep his head about him he did. At the time of Crowley,
Jr. taking the helm, the company was a $1B per year company with about 5,000 employees. Today the company is just about 5,300 employees, but it has doubled to more than $2B per year.
Today’s Crowley Maritime is signifi cantly changed from the
CROWLEY MARITIME CORPORATION “We embarked on a newbuild program with our ATBs to replace the single hull tonnage that was being phased out, and we felt that we were an early mover into the ATB space, building out a fl eet of 17 vessels” Crowley said. Pictured is construction of Legacy. 34 Maritime Professional 1Q 2014
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