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Our Member of the Year is David Berault

The Governors of the Propeller Club, Port of Mobile, Alabama, have selected Captain David M. Berault as its Member of the Year for 2024.

Captain Berault has been an active member of the club for many years. He came most actively into club business as chairman of the club’s annual golf tournament, a very popular event for the Club that funded maritime scholarships, maritime initiatives, and club operations.

In 2017, Captain Berault joined the Board of Governors, and immediately assumed responsibility for the club’s hosting of 2018 Southeast Region Annual Conference. The conference featured a river tour he narrated with a Mobile River historian, a lunch presentation on “America’s Amazon” by the reporter who found America’s last slave-ship, the Clotilda, and great vistas and venues throughout.

Captain Berault was next vaulted into Club leadership in 2018 as club vice-president. He immediately led a club initiative to improve marketing, enhanced social media presence, and outreach to a wider range of businesses connected to the port. Just over a year later, he became Club president with the early transfer of the incumbent Club president. He held that president role for four years, completely unprecedented in Mobile club history, where almost all terms have historically been held for only two years.

As president, Captain Berault led several successful initiatives through challenging Covid shutdowns.
These included:

  • Beginning a new membership renewal program that automated annual renewals and offered ex-officio memberships to key political and community leaders to bring greater attention to the waterfront
  • Promoting club involvement in maritime ministry programs that pioneered seaman Covid vaccination programs and improved ship visit quantity, quality, and program funding
  • Using club investment strategies to grow club resources by better management of club finances
  • Expanding the club’s golf tournament with larger sponsorships, attendance, and net profit for club programs
  • Reorganizing the club’s scholarship offers to improve participation and applications, selection processes
  • Promoting club interest during Covid shutdowns until meetings could safely resume, effectively balancing member expectations and safety
  • Expanding board participation opportunities, recruiting new, dynamic members to the club, and placing them in visible and impactful leadership positions
  • Developing new meeting program ideas, to include extremely well-attended panel discussions. Nearly every club program sold out attendance under Captain Berault’s leadership.
  • Establishing strong connections with Coast Guard and State Port Authority leadership, and obtaining their participation in all club events
  • Collaborating with the Chamber of Commerce for State of the Port and maritime industry programs

As a Mobile Bar Pilot, Captain Berault has been very active in its leadership as well, serving as President, presiding over a memorable 150th anniversary celebration in 2015, and promoting improved safety and professionalism within the Bar Pilots and all along the Mobile waterfront.