NEWPORT BEACH— Thomas Hartmann, who for the past four years has served as the District Executive for Portola & Sea Scouts, was recently named the new executive director of the Newport Sea Base.
Hartmann has been involved with the Sea Base for the past 20 years, mentoring young Sea Scouts and members of the community in sailing programs, while also working with the Orange County Council Sea Scout ships. His new position will have him in charge of running the operation and management of all programs, equipment and services.
He replaces Shana Bannert, the former executive director who served about three years in the position. She announced her resignation in April.
“It’s thrilling in some ways to kind of come full circle from that being my first paid job to now running the facility,” he said. “I was telling others it’s really a dream job for me.”
Hartmann started in the Sea Scout program at age 13, following in the footsteps of his two older sisters. He served a summer as a counselor-in-training at the facility, teaching sailing and racing donated keelboats with the scouts. He also helped establish the Newport Sea Base Youth Racing team.
The Orange County Council, which owns and operates four properties in Southern California that include the Sea Base, Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center, Oso Lake and Schoepe Scout Reservation at Lost Valley, searched far and wide for potential candidates. Van Dreese, who was one of the principal decision makers in the process, said candidates as far east as Florida and as far north as Duluth, Minn. drew interest. The search requested someone with an administration background and some marketing experience, as well someone devoted to expanding outreach to those youths in Orange County who are economically challenged—a trait Van Dreese said Hartmann possesses.
“When he was a young boy, he went through the programs so he has that knowledge,” said John Van Dreese, director of outdoor adventures for the Boy Scouts of America Orange County Council. “After considering everything, we thought he is going to be a very good fit for us.”
Hartman said his experience with the Boy Scouts helped him gravitate toward the learning and developmental aspects of the position. He added that, for some time, he waited for a position which fit his passion to open at the Sea Base.
“I think now having spent a number of years with the Boy Scouts, I’m able to bring a different perspective,” Hartmann said. “Being able to know the scout program and the non-scouting side, the sailing side, the racing side, I think I’m able to bring the full perspective and mission of the Sea Base to a higher level.”
The Newport Sea Base sits on 400 feet of waterfront property in Newport Harbor, offering boys and girls of greater Orange County programs built on teamwork, leadership and nautical safety.