Trade and Transportation
Trendsetters - Dec. 2006
Arthur R. Savage
A.R. Savage & Son, Tampa
Beyond work: Savage and his wife, Tracy, have four children under age 13.
On the sea: Savage owns a small, personal runabout and also takes the helm when the SS American Victory sails. The World War II-era ship is the American Victory Mariners Memorial and Museum Ship.
Maritime advocate: "It's how we all got here. It's what sustains us. We are the backbone of this country."
Cuba: In recent years, Savage's company began serving as an agent to Cuba as it charters vessels to import feed and fertilizer from Tampa.
Fifth-generation Floridian Arthur Savage is president of the Port of Tampa Maritime Industries Association, holds a master's license from the Coast Guard, serves as Tampa consul for Denmark and Norway, is dean of the consular corps in Tampa and has been knighted by Denmark's queen.
He's also opinionated. On the Cuba trade embargo: "A failed policy." On Florida's port security law: "Ill-conceived ... extremely adverse effects on employment and costs."
Savage, 45, the great-great-grandson of 19th-century Tampa legend Capt. James McKay, became president in 1997 of A.R. Savage & Son, founded at the end of World War II by his grandfather. Savage never had any doubt he would follow in the family trade, though "I had maybe some doubts I would be in the office because I actually started on the ships." Indeed, Savage spent five years sailing tugs, supply boats, crew boats and refrigerated ships in the waters of North and Central America and through the Panama Canal.
As a shipping agency, 26-employee A.R. Savage is tops in Tampa by ship volume and is first in overall tons as a freight forwarder, Savage says. It specializes in phosphate and phosphaterelated exports. The firm also has an intermodal shipping subsidiary.
He is bothered by Florida's port security law, which is touted by state leaders as a progressive measure that allowed Florida to obtain, ahead of less-prepared states, post 9/11 federal grants for security upgrades. Savage says the law's grantgetting benefits have been outweighed by its unwarranted strictures, blindness to differing situations at each port and additional layers of regulation. "We're the only state that has to comply with two different laws. We as an industry view that as our single biggest challenge right now in going out and attaining the opportunities we see."