Randy Podolsky is a Past Commodore, Ninth District Western Region of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Since joining the Auxiliary in 1991, Randy has served in myriad appointed and elected staff positions at various
levels of the organization. He is a member of Waukegan Flotilla 41-5 and is qualified as a Coxswain, PWC Operator, Vessel Examiner, Instructor and Program Visitor. He is active in surface operations, member training, public education, communications and the vessel safety check and program visitor missions.
During his tenure as an elected leader at various levels, Commodore Podolsky was instrumental in achieving several milestones for his units, including the acquisition of two Waukegan Flotilla dedicated operational surface assets and an updated modern operations and education center (OPCEN) based in Waukegan, IL; revitalizing his Division’s participation in programs; and as District Commodore, leading the District through a complete geographical and administrative reorganization that was enacted to align with Coast Guard Sectorization, and with adopted by unanimous approval of the District Board.
Commodore Podolsky has received several personal awards and commendations, including the Auxiliary Meritorious Service Award, Auxiliary Commendation Medal Award (2), Auxiliary Achievement Award (3), Auxiliary Commandant’s Letter of Commendation (2), Auxiliary Sustained Service Award (11, denoting over 15,000 hours of volunteer service), Coast Guard Presidential Unit Commendation (Hurricane Katrina), DOT Secretary Unit Commendation (3, 1 with Operational Merit), Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation (3), Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation (7), 9/11 Ribbon, and the Auxiliary Flotilla Meritorious Achievement Award. He was also awarded the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for public service by President Barack Obama in 2016, and received the David P. Dobbins Award for Excellence in Search & Rescue by the 9th Coast Guard District in 2018 for his involvement while serving as Coxswain during the lifesaving mission involving two young adults on Lake Michigan.
Independent of his official Auxiliary duties, Randy founded the Waukegan Water Safety Association (“WWSA”), an Illinois 501(c)3 not-for-profit association established to provide financial support for recreational boating safety in and around southern Lake Michigan, with specific emphasis on supporting Auxiliary operations in Waukegan, IL. WWSA has raised over $150,000 to acquire and maintain the dedicated search and rescue vessels and OPCEN noted above.
Born and raised in Chicago, Randy currently resides in Lincolnshire, Illinois with his wife Wendy. In addition to his passion for the CG Auxiliary, he enjoys spending time with his family, being in the Colorado San Juan Mountains, skiing, scuba diving and recreational boating at his home on the lake, Waukegan Harbor. Commodore Podolsky has 3 adult children: Melissa, an entrepreneur at Inspired Organics Children’s Boutique in Highland Park, IL; Ryan, a Silicon Valley tech executive; and Natalie, a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). Wendy and Randy’s canine companion, Buoy, was rescued by them and live happily wherever they do on land or sea.