Rick Sasso has been a popular and well-respected figure in the cruise industry for more than 48 years.
In April 2004, Sasso was appointed President of MSC Cruises USA and was tasked with positioning MSC Cruises for growth in the North American market. In August 2016, Sasso assumed the role of Chairman of MSC Cruises USA, focused on preparing the market for the next stage of MSC Cruises’ growth in the region, including four ships now sailing from North America.
In 1999, Sasso was named “Cruise Industry Executive of the Year” by a leading travel industry trade magazine. In 2011, he received the coveted “Hall of Fame” recognition from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) for his many efforts and accomplishments that have led to significant contributions in the growth of cruise vacations. Over the years, he has also served as Chairman of both CLIA and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) as well as Chairman of CLIA’s Marketing Committee.
After holding key positions at Costa Cruises and Chandris Cruises, Sasso joined the senior management team that launched Celebrity Cruises in 1990, and then served as CEO, playing an instrumental role in establishing it as a top premium cruise line.
In 2012, Sasso published Unselfish World, a book based on his philosophy of encouraging ourselves and others to be the most unselfish individuals we can be.
Sasso lives in Ocean Ridge, Florida, with his wife of 48 years, Carmen. He has two grown children and four grandchildren.
Mr. H. W. (Win) Thurber, III was born in Mobile, Alabama.
Mr. Thurber began his career in the maritime industry in an entry level position with Sea-Land Services in the late 1960’s and held various positions throughout the US and Europe. He rose to the position of Vice President of Marketing/Sales, Europe, for SeaTrain, and in 1975, to Executive Vice President and General Manager in the U.S.
Mr. Thurber’s entry into the agency business began with the establishment of the Thurber Agency in the 70’s and in the early 1980’s he merged this agency into Southern Steamship Agency, which he later acquired. He then formed Southern Steam, Inc. and through these two companies, he introduced the concept of backroom services in the United States, which has been used as a model for liner agency companies around the world.
In 1999, Mr. Thurber, along with a partner, purchased Strachan Shipping Agency s a platform to reenter the general agency business. In 2002, they purchased Norton Lilly International; founded in 1841, making it the oldest shipping agency company in North America, and this purchased expanded their network offshore. Mr. Thurber currently is the Chairman of the board of Directors, of Norton Lilly International, along with his partners Ultramar, which is the largest agency in South America. Norton Lilly is the only US Liner General agency left, and has established itself as a leading agency handling breakbulk, tanker, grain, tanker and RORO vessels. Norton Lilly has also established businesses in transportation, oil and gas, windpower, freight forwarding and logistics.
Mr. Thurber has was been the recipient of many awards over the years; most notably he was inducted in the International Maritime Hall of Fame, and received the highest award presented by the Containerization Institute; the Connie Award.
Mr. Thurber has served on many Board of Directors such as Regions Bank, Port of Mobile Maritime Museum, the Board of Advisers of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Mobile Touchdown Club, and was a member of the American Bureau of Shipping, and the Association of Ship Brokers & Agents (USA). He previously served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wright School and later served on the Board of Directors of UMS-Wright Preparatory School and was a member of the Senior Bowl Committee. Mr. Thurber has been active in many civic organizations such as Wilmer Hall; a home for under privileged children, and the Waterfront Rescue Mission; an organization that serves the needs of the poor, addicted and homeless.
He graduated from University Military School (UMS), and the Schreiner University in Kerrville, TX.