WISTA International Ambassador

Kathy J. Metcalf, President, and CEO, Chamber of Shipping of America


Kathy J. Metcalf graduated with highest honours from the US Merchant Marine Academy in June 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree conferred in Marine Transportation and Nautical Sciences.  Ms Metcalf also received minors in Business Administration, Oceanography, and Organic Chemistry.  Upon graduation in 1978, in the first co-educational Academy class, she sailed for five years as a deck officer on crude oil and product tankers with Gulf Oil Corporation and Sun Company.  During this period, Ms Metcalf also participated in a shipboard/shoreside management development program with both companies, leading to her assignment ashore with Sun Company as the Fleet Safety and Health Coordinator in 1983.

During her seven years in this position, Ms Metcalf was responsible for the design, development, and implementation of a comprehensive safety and health program for fourteen oceangoing ships and twelve coastal tug/barge units.  Also during this period, Ms Metcalf attended the evening division of the Delaware Law School of Widener University leading to the conferring of a Juris Doctorate degree with high honours in 1988.  Ms Metcalf is currently a member of the Pennsylvania (active) and New Jersey (inactive) Bars.

In 1990, Sun Company transferred her from the Marine Operations division to the Corporate Health, Environmental, and Safety Department, first as a managing consultant for regulatory policy analysis and later as a senior consultant for corporate oversight and assessment.  In the former position, Ms Metcalf was responsible for review and impact analysis of all federal and state environmental, safety and health regulations as well as recommending corporate positions and drafting formal comments to the docket on specific initiatives.  In the latter position, she was responsible for the design and implementation of the corporate environmental, safety and health program in diverse business lines including the development of the corporate emergency management program and internal audit programs

Due to her strong relationship with diverse business lines in Sun Company and her extensive experience with regulatory agencies including the provision of formal testimony, in 1993 she was elevated to the position of Manager, State Government Affairs for Sun’s Midwest operations area, including the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas.  In this capacity, she was responsible for the design and implementation of a proactive government relations strategy including interface with state legislatures and regulatory agencies, communications with diverse business lines including refining and marketing, terminals and pipelines and interaction with Sun’s federal government affairs professionals.

In 1997, Ms Metcalf resigned from Sun Company to become the Director of Maritime Affairs for the Chamber of Shipping of America, a maritime trade association representing US-based commercial shipping interests in international, federal and state forums.  Her responsibilities in this position included monitoring and development of positions with regards to legislative and regulatory initiatives and advocacy on issues of impact for the members of the Chamber of Shipping, before various organizations including the International Maritime Organization, the US Congress, and federal and state regulatory agencies.  In this capacity, she has testified before Congressional committees, federal and state regulatory agencies and has attended numerous sessions of the International Maritime Organization previously, as an industry advisor to the US delegation, and currently as a member of the International Chamber of Shipping delegation.

On June 1, 2015, Ms. Metcalf became the President and CEO of the Chamber of Shipping of America.  In addition to the administrative responsibilities attendant on her current position, Ms. Metcalf continues to focus on those responsibilities detailed in the above paragraph, with an emphasis on environmental issues impacting the maritime industry.

Ms. Metcalf also serves as Chairperson of the International Chamber of Shipping’s Environmental Subcommittee and serves on the International Chamber of Shipping’s Maritime Law Committee, Shipping Policy Committee and Marine Committees.

In her spare time, Ms. Metcalf is a woefully inadequate but enthusiastic golfer and enjoys the company of friends and family including her 95-year-old Mother.

We have asked Kathy a few questions about being an Ambassador for WISTA;

What motivated you to accept the nomination to be a WISTA Ambassador?

My tongue in cheek response would be the potential wrath of Jeanne Grasso if I declined.  However, the real response rests in the respect I have for the WISTA organization as a whole and its many committed members.  WISTA has a very strong and much-needed message to the world and with its inclusive approach relative to membership e.g. WISTA sisters and WISTA brothers, success if almost guaranteed on a wide variety of issues which WISTA is addressing.  I am humbled to be asked to be a WISTA ambassador representing the very intelligent, committed and progressive WISTA members.

What role do you think an organization like WISTA plays in today’s world?

In today’s world where angry divisiveness seems to be the order of the day, WISTA is one of the few international organizations which truly promotes collaboration, inclusiveness, respect for all opinions from all sectors with the goal of solving problems rather than creating new ones. WISTA actually walks the talk!

With a fast changing environment and changing demands/expectations from our society, what would be a topic/ theme you would advise WISTA should focus on? (both short term & long term views)

Promotion of the maritime industry at all levels of educational systems globally. WISTA is ideally positioned to address this issue given the number of national WISTA groups making up WISTA International, the expertise of WISTA members in assisting in this program, and the strong gender neutral message that can be sent to the global audience on the attractiveness of the marine transportation industry.

How do you feel you can collaborate and support the role you see for WISTA?

I, like all WISTA members, must be willing to contribute to all WISTA programs including that proposed in the response above with the necessary focus on mentoring the next generation of leaders.


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WISTA has 3,800+ members and 56 National WISTA Associations (NWAs).


WISTA has 3,800+ members and 56 National WISTA Associations (NWAs).

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