Marc Bayer was supposed to be a doctor, but a detour on the way to college left that plan dead in the water. Bayer, Vice President of Marine Operations at Marathon Petroleum, said his career has been an adventure he never imagined.
“My mother wanted me to be a doctor, or rather a veterinarian, but on the drive to the University of California, Davis where I had been accepted, my father detoured to the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo,” said Bayer. “He had always wanted to be a merchant mariner since he deployed to Korea as a young Marine on a troop ship from San Francisco. That detour changed the course of my life forever.”
Bayer graduated from the academy in 1982, embarking on a journey that took him from tugs, supply boats and refrigerated ships to leading a full-service shipping organization for Marathon Petroleum’s global marine operations. Through it all, he made sure to give credit to Cal Maritime and help other graduates achieve their goals.
Fast-forward to 2023, Bayer was honored with the Cal Maritime Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the academy and the maritime industry. The academy recognized Bayer at its 18th Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala on March 25 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
“I’m honored to be recognized, but I’m more thankful that I’ve been able to have such an amazing career doing what I love.”
“Marc Bayer is a well-deserved recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award,” said John Schneider, Operations Supervisor with the Marine Organization at Marathon Petroleum, who nominated Bayer for the award. “Marc supports and promotes the California Maritime Academy, and mentors many students and graduates. His professional accomplishments are an excellent example of what success in the maritime industry looks like.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor for an alum from Cal Maritime and is given for significant accomplishments in one’s profession, community affairs and support of the advancement of continued excellence of Cal Maritime. Bayer is a board member of Oil Companies International Marine Forum Executive Committee. He is the past president of the San Francisco Marine Exchange and previously served on the boards of Clean Coastal Waters, Clean Bay and Clean Sound. He played a key role in launching the Cook Inlet Harbor Safety Committee in Alaska.
“The academy is honoring Marc as an individual who has made exemplary contributions at every juncture of his career and to the maritime industry at large,” said Misty Bain, Senior Commercial Marine Operator at Marathon Petroleum, a 2004 graduate of Cal Maritime. “He is a trailblazer who continuously challenges the way things are done to ensure that safety and efficiency is always the order of the day.”
Marine Operations at Marathon Petroleum
In his current position, Bayer’s responsibilities include strategy development and management of Chartering, Commercial Marine Operations, Freight Trading, Demurrage, Marine Technical Operations and Marine Assurance. The team, part of the Clean Products Value Chain organization, manages the company’s Coastal Jones Act vessels, International Foreign Flag vessels, and vessels in the Great Lakes. The team is based in San Antonio with offices in Findlay, Ohio, and Singapore, along with port captains in Alaska, Washington, California, Texas, Louisiana and Florida.
“We are a full-service shipping company,” said Bayer. “Marathon owns ships, charters ships, and manages ships. On any given day, we have 45 to 50 chartered ships on the water and manage the ship/shore interface and risk on the marine side of the business.”
Inspiring and Leading
Bayer has hired several graduates from Cal Maritime, including Chief Engineer Brent Webb, who graduated from the Academy in 2004. Webb also submitted a letter of support for Bayer’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
“In 2014, I was hired into the Marine organization as Port Captain,” said Webb. “Throughout the years I witnessed Marc mentor, lead, support and challenge the organization. Marc doesn’t settle on status quo. He empowers his team, drives for excellence, and has contributed to industry change.”
Bayer hopes to inspire others to consider a career in the maritime industry. “I’ve traveled and been all over the world while sailing and during my time working ashore -- the Americas, Israel, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Mediterranean, northern Europe, Africa and Asia,” said Bayer. “I’ve worked with so many nationalities, which gives you an appreciation for other people and cultures. I have friends all over the world.”
- Mate on supply boats and anchor handling tugs for Jackson Marine – Gulf of Mexico and North Sea
- Second and chief mate for Del Monte Banana Company – refrigerated ships
- Chief mate for Marine Management and Consulting – West Africa
- Deck officer through Master Mariner – tankers and OBOs worldwide
- Various marine technical roles for BP Oil Shipping Company U.S. – Cleveland, Ohio and California
- Manager Marine Assurance, Director Marine Assurance, General Manager Shipping Operations, Director Shipping Operations, Senior Director Shipping Operations and Shipping Operations Director at what is now the Martinez Renewable Fuels facility (previously run by Ultramar Diamond Shamrock, Valero, Tesoro, Andeavor and now Marathon)
- VP Marine Operations for Marathon Petroleum – San Antonio, Texas
- Current board member of Oil Companies International Marine Forum Executive Committee