Editor’s note: This week, Georgene Brazer finishes her profile of Sean Register, the former chairman of the Development Authority of Bryan County.
My last column on August 26th, was about Sean Register, titled ‘Meet Sean Register, a Man Who Never Stops Giving.’ Part way through writing, I realized additional stories about this man, a man dedicated to service here and beyond, deserved an additional article. And so, that next article, that story, is being told here.
Captain Will Donaldson held an unlimited masters license with an endorsement for supertankers and is a mechanical engineer in the energy business. He has professional senior management level expertise for designing, constructing and start up of large LNG (liquified natural gas) facilities globally. Captain Donaldson is the holder of two silver medals and a Savannah native. He told me of Sean’s involvement in the maritime world, starting his career in Savannah working for a bulk facility. Sean moved through many different areas of the maritime industry and shipping business and held the second license issued by the US government for trade with Cuba when trade began in 2002. “ Knowing him and his accomplishments, the majority of everything he’s done in his life has been, in some way, to promote or assist others in being better.”
And, so, with that statement in mind, Let Me Introduce You to the expanded story, begun in my last column, about this extremely important, un-ordinary, quite frankly, extraordinary, man.
It was starting to be another, hot, humid day as I drove up to the development of the Port Fuel Center, set to open in October, on the corner of Augusta Road and Grange Road in Port Wentworth, quite literally around the corner from the port.
I wanted to get there early, before meeting Sean for a tour, to get a sense of the where and the why for the project he envisioned and was building on the site.
Sitting in the parking lot of the fuel center, within 20 minutes I counted 50 trucks going down Grange Road to the port. I drove down Grange Road which goes to the port (gate 8), then took a few turns to get to other gates. As I drove, it became clear that there were no facilities for truckers, no fuel stops, food, toilets, rest facilities nor places to wait their turn to off load or pick up their cargo containers.
Until now. The perfect stop for food, fuel and clean restrooms 24/7, PFC, Port Fuel Center.
Sean created this center with a big vision in mind, to be a first class fuel and food facility for interstate and port trucks, but also an ideal place for family rest and service.
For the truckers, there’s a shuttle from their truck to the store keeping pedestrian traffic safe in the parking lot, as well as onsite truck repair and a real time monitor for GA Port Authority gates to help truckers determine gate traffic for ports.
There’s also overnight reserved parking, a laundry, showers, even an outdoor hand wash station for truckers with instant biodegradable towels to keep the area clean and tidy.
As Captain Donaldson said to me, in every way, “this man is a phenomenal Port ambassador.”
Darien Schulte is the VP of membership of NATSO, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, a nonprofit that represents the truck stop and travel center industry, advancing the success of truck stop and travel centers through education and public policy. Mr. Schulte said Sean is always positive, challenges always in a charismatic and positive way, and is never a deal breaker.
Schulte said Sean makes work a fun journey. ”Sean had no set beliefs in the project or outcomes of what it needed to look like, approached it with no idea of what he was doing.” Schulte said. “He was willing to change his ideas, adapt, research, with no set expectations, be flexible and open-minded to fulfill and develop his vision. He is always looking at long term future viability to enhance and help provide for the community he loves. He has a unique quality to reach out and learn from all.
This is a man who truly listens, a special person, a visionary who found out what the port needed and what the drivers needed to create a winning idea and operation.” Sean is a long-time figure in the ocean shipping industry and a well known operator of vessels that transport a vast array of products to the Caribbean and Central America region.
His shipping company, Register International, is headquartered in Richmond Hill. Sean is a founding member of the Georgia- Cuba Trade Association. He has delivered over 750,000 tons of food to Cuba with a concern for the “incredible people in Cuba, our friends.
Politics is one thing but the people down there need to be served. They’re dying for American products,” he said. Georgia is now the third largest state shipping to Cuba. Always giving, always thinking. “If the embargo was lifted or eased Georgia would be well over a billion dollars in dealing with Cuba. Think of how wonderful for our economy. As of now, all cargo moving from the US to Cuba must be agricultural, telecommunication, humanitarian or medical.
When I’m allowed, I’d love to take a group of Bryan County businesses down there because there is going to be a definite need for all we have to offer in goods and services.”
A man always thinking of success for others. Robert Agbede was introduced to Sean over 10 years ago. His company, Chester Group, Inc. wanted to get gas, LNG as a source of energy power to the Caribbean The big concern was how to get it there.
Sean, known in every port there, “was a good citizen of the region, a good promoter. I believed in him, he carried the LNG for me.”
As Robert Agbede talked to me about his relationship with Sean, a word came to mind, quest.
Sean is always on a quest.
Then I thought of the song from Man of La Mancha, “The Impossible Dream,” but thought of it in positives because Sean is always on a quest, and the Impossible Dream, from feeding the people of Cuba, to creating an incredible travel center to satisfy truckers, travelers, the local community, people who work at the port and its ancillary facilities, is made into a reality that benefits so many.
To “reach the unreachable star,” Sean follows that star and has reached it and then some. Thank you Sean for being you and always giving to others, always on a quest, always after the next great adventure.
Georgene Brazer is chairwoman of the Richmond Hill Downtown Development Authority and a Ford resident. She can be reached at email@example.com.