(Article Originally Published in the May/June 2017 Edition)
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
I’m originally from Brooklyn, the son of a son of a sailor, and attended the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. After graduation I started my career shore-side working the docks in New Jersey and gradually moving over to the commercial side of the business. Along the way I earned an MBA from St. John’s University, which opened a lot of doors. Since then I’ve spent most of my career running commercial operations for shipowners. I’ve been to sea, worked cargo on the docks and sat in the corner office. Every step of my professional career has involved shipping and transportation.
DID THAT HELP YOU PREPARE FOR THE RECRUITING BUSINESS?
Oh yes. It’s a big advantage to have “been there, done that.” It helps you better understand the needs of your clients, on the one hand, and the hopes and dreams of candidates on the other. It makes it a whole lot easier to match them up.
TELL US ABOUT THE COMPANY AND ITS RANGE OF SERVICES.
We like to say our services cover everything from seagoing to the C-suite, but we really focus our business on search and recruitment for shore-side positions. I’m very fortunate to have great friends who are excellent business partners. Besides myself, the partners are Craig Johnson, Mick Tansey, Tim Green and Rory McGuire.
I’ve known Mick since we played rugby together back at the Academy, and over the years I’ve developed relationships with each of my other partners.
HOW MANY OFFICES ARE THERE?
We have offices in the U.S., Ireland and the U.K. In each location we’ve built a team of professionals, all dedicated to serving the maritime industry. From the beginning we’ve worked with clients from all over the world. We operate in a global business, and we’ve worked roles on six continents. If you look at our backgrounds you’ll see we have a broad mix of commercial, operational and engineering experience that we can leverage to our clients’ advantage.
WHAT DO PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATES NEED TO DO TO BE SUCCESSFULLY RECRUITED?
There’s a saying that you should dig your well before you’re thirsty. It’s your responsibility to manage your career. Part of that should be developing a relationship with a recruiter. You should be open to an introductory call or initiate one yourself. A professional recruiter will be able to provide some career guidance and benchmarking even if you have no immediate need for his or her services. Think of us like a sports agent or a lawyer. You may hope you won’t need us, but when you do you want the best one on your side.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE RIGHT NOW FOR THE MARITIME INDUSTRY IN ATTRACTING QUALIFIED PERSONNEL?
There’s always a war for talent. If you look at the trends, there’s a predicted shortage of seafarers. Top engineering and business graduates often don’t consider our industry when exploring career options. Across the board our potential talent pool is predicted to decline. Maritime companies are competing not only among themselves but also against other industries for candidates. Collectively, we need to do a better job of marketing the incredible opportunities our industry offers.
AS A KINGS POINT GRADUATE, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CADETS ABOUT TO ENTER THE MARITIME INDUSTRY?
Your formal education may be over, but the learning is just beginning. You’re going to have opportunities to apply your knowledge and learn new skills. Master the tasks you’re presented with, understand why you’re performing them, and take ownership of your actions. The best way to advance your career is to be great at what you do. Find a career path within the industry and stick with it. -MarEx