Griffith Honored with Westward Venture Captain’s Bell

Richard Griffith, TOTE’s Vice President of Marine Operations, is giving retirement a second shot.

The career mariner came to the work in the Alaska trade in 1977, accompanying the Westward Venture, a ship he was responsible for designing at Sun Shipbuilding.

Just over four years later, in 1982, Griffith and seven associates formed Totem Resources to purchase the business and its two ships from Sun, turning TOTE in to the thriving start of what is now Saltchuk Resources.

Griffith’s first attempt at retirement was in 1986. He remained active in the industry as a maritime consultant, but when TOTE decided to add a third ship to its fleet in 1993, Griffith was called back to TOTE full time.  He lead the $50 million expansion and refitting of the Northern Lights and stayed to bring another generation of ships, the Orca class vessels, to TOTE’s fleet.

It’s said that if you want to know anything about TOTE’s history, ask Rich Griffith. He was there. And he was there earlier this month when the ship he brought to the Northwest, the Westward Venture, was retired from service.

Griffith’s retirement was celebrated at TOTE’s annual holiday party. Surrounded by long-time customers and employees, TOTE president John Parrott presented Griffith with the Westward Venture’s captain’s bell, engraved with:

“Rich Griffith, Fair Winds and Following Seas,” followed by the names of all the ships he brought to service, “SS Great Land, SS Westward Venture, MV Midnight Sun, MV North Star, SS El Morro, SS El Yunique, SS El Faro, Northern Lights.”