NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

August 23, 2013

'A very genuine and capable leader'

USCG retired rear admiral takes helm of museum board

Coast Guard personnel are known for executing complex missions such as saving lives and rescuing distressed vessels, but what do you say about an officer who did all this and was in charge of relocating an entire lighthouse?

You might say, please join the board of directors of the Custom House Maritime Museum.

Rear Admiral (ret.) Daniel May joined the board shortly after moving to the city a year ago, and assumed the chairmanship in May when then-chair Mark Griffin stepped down.

The designation seemed appropriate, because there isn’t much that the personable May doesn’t know about the sea or its history.

“I’ve had many commands and carried out numerous missions,” said May, who was one of just 40 admirals in the 40,000-member Coast Guard when he retired. “One unusual one was relocating the Block Island Southeast Light, the first move of a major lighthouse structure within the United States (in the early ‘90s).

“When it came time to retire, my wife, Leslie, and I chose Newburyport. I had commanded this general area toward the end of my career, and we just loved coming here. We’re very pleased it worked out this way.”

May’s ascension to the chairman of the Maritime Museum comes at a time when the organization has entered a period of revitalization.

Membership is surging; the number of annual visitors doubled in 2012 to close to 17,000.

The organization will hold a celebration on Saturday evening, Sept. 7, to mark the completion of its longstanding efforts of exterior preservation of its historic building.

“Dan brings a great deal of knowledge to the board,” said Michael Mroz, executive director the Maritime Museum. “He has broad expertise in operations, and is a very genuine and capable leader. We feel fortunate that he’s joined our organization.”

May, a native of Orlando, graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1979. He’s held leadership positions in numerous ports, including on the North Shore.

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