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UH Law Center alum McKamie ’86 appointed to port oversight committee

Capt. Reginald E. McKamie ‘86

Capt. Reginald E. McKamie ‘86

Dec. 5, 2019 — Capt. Reginald E. McKamie, a 1986 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, was recently confirmed as a member of the Board of Pilot Commissioners for Harris County Ports by Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Houston City Council.

“I am humbled and honored to be given the privilege to serve our region as a Pilot Board Commissioner,” McKamie said. “I was a merchant marine ship’s officer when I came to Houston to attend the University of Houston Law Center with the simple dream of becoming a lawyer. 

“I must admit as a young law student I really did not truly appreciate the vast opportunities the Law Center provides its graduates.  I now realize the University of Houston Law Center provides great opportunities to its graduates because of its great faculty and staff and because of it being situated in such a dynamic city.”

The pilot board has exclusive jurisdiction over the piloting of vessels in Harris County Ports, including intermediate stops and landing places for vessels on navigable streams wholly or partially located in the board's jurisdiction.

Harris County Ports include the 52-mile long Houston Ship Channel, the largest port on the Gulf coast. The economic value to the Gulf coast region is valued at $118 Billion.  More than 212 million tons of cargo move through the ship channel annually.

“The Ship Channel is one of the main drivers that make our dynamic city and our area such an economic force for our region,” McKamie said. “This appointment will allow me to use the maritime skills I learned at the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy and legal skills learned at the Law Center to give back to the city and region that has allowed me to live my dream of being both a lawyer and a mariner.”

Since 1989, McKamie has owned the Law Office of Reginald E. McKamie, Sr. P.C. in Houston. His primary areas of practice are maritime law and cases that involve collisions and personal injury. He said his favorite part of being an attorney is trial work.

"It's a challenge to see whether I can advocate my client's position," McKamie said. "Whether it's a maritime case, commercial case or criminal case. Trying to get the story across about what happened and my client's perspective on it."

Prior to attending law school and earning an MBA from the University of Southern California, McKamie completed his undergraduate education at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1975. He returned to sea after earning his J.D. as captain of the S/S Exxon North Slope, S/S/ Exxon Philadelphia and the S/S Exxon Bencia. The ships he commanded carried more than 1 million barrels of oil from Alaska to the lower 48 states and Panama. The ships were more than 900 feet long, 135 feet wide, and when fully loaded sat 58 feet deep in the water. McKamie also served in the U. S. Navy as a commanding officer of active duty and reserve units and retired as a captain from the U. S. Navy.

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