American Pilots’ Association names Clay Diamond executive director, general counsel

(WASHINGTON) — The American Pilots’ Association (APA) has announced that Clayton “Clay” Diamond will assume the duties of executive director and general counsel, effective Jan. 1.

Diamond succeeds Paul Kirchner, who has been APA executive director-general counsel since 1992. Prior to that, Kirchner had been in private law practice since 1978, where his clients included individual pilot groups and the APA. Kirchner will continue with APA as senior counsel focusing on issues and projects related to state pilotage and international matters.

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Clayton “Clay” Diamond

Diamond, who has been APA’s deputy director-associate general counsel since 2008, is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He also earned a master’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a juris doctor from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and was a fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies. Prior to joining APA, Diamond had a 20-year Coast Guard career, during which he served aboard several cutters, culminating in command afloat; and in numerous legal positions, including regional counsel for all Coast Guard operations in the eight Great Lakes states, special adviser to the Department of Defense general counsel, Coast Guard liaison to the State Department, and Coast Guard legislative counsel.

“I appreciate and respect Paul Kirchner’s long, effective service and am pleased he will continue with us in this new capacity,” said APA President Capt. Jorge Viso. “His past leadership and legal skills were instrumental in helping to make APA one of the most respected trade associations in Washington, D.C.”

“Clay Diamond is also an outstanding attorney and leader. He is truly committed to the APA and our mission of strengthening pilotage and promoting navigation safety and environmental protection,” Viso said. “After 31 years of experience with the Coast Guard and the maritime industry, including 13 years as deputy director and associate counsel, he is ideally suited to help lead APA as we face the challenges and opportunities a new decade will certainly bring.”

The APA, one of the country’s oldest trade associations, is the national association for the piloting profession. It was established in 1884 to protect and improve the state pilotage system, to maintain the highest possible professional standards for licensed pilots in the United States, and to promote navigation safety. Virtually all of the more than 1,200 state-licensed pilots working in the 24 U.S. coastal states, as well as all of the U.S.-registered pilots operating in the Great Lakes system under authorization by the Coast Guard, belong to APA member pilot groups. These pilots handle well over 90 percent of large oceangoing vessels moving in international trade in U.S. waterways. The role and official responsibility of these pilots is to protect the safety of navigation and the marine environment in the waters for which they are licensed.

– American Pilots’ Association

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