MMA Captain Michael Burns Address Workforce Development
Captain R. Michael Burns Jr., executive director of the Maritime Center for Responsible Energy at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, a top-ranked public university with undergraduate degree programs focusing on science, engineering, technology, math, and business that blend academics and experiential learning, was a featured speaker during the January 19-20 annual OSW O& M/Health & Safety Summit held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The two-day summit, hosted by The Business Network for Offshore Wind, focused on how the offshore wind industry can ensure that safety remains a high-level priority as the industry develops and grows.
Captain Burns, one of several speakers at the summit, contributed to the discussion that focused on “Strengthening Local Communities: Workforce Development Needs in O & M” (Operations and Maintenance), which highlighted how public officials, developers, supply chain companies, and unions can prepare their communities for the opportunities offshore wind brings. He was joined by Dr. Tamika Jacques, director of workforce development and supply chain at Avangrid, and Lori LeBlanc, principal consultant at ERM/Southeast LA Economic Council. Ben Etherton, strategic advisor for Arcon Training Center, moderated the discussion.
Additionally, Mauricio Guzman, business development manager – renewables for RelyOn Nutec, the Academy’s partner for offshore wind, was one of several market entrepreneurs who talked about how to meet the challenges associated with quickly training tens of thousands of new workers.
The summit also featured several Academy alumni, including Will Kenyon (2007), head of QHSE, Development, and EPC – Americas for Ørsted, who spoke on “The Need for Transparency: Data-Sharing to Improve Health and Safety”; and Dustin Varnell (2003, MS2018), U.S. country manager for Osbit, and Julie Shebroe (2012), account manager and business development, Northstar Marine, Inc., who both spoke about “Safety on the Sea: A Look at Vessel Operational Safety in Construction and O&M.”
“It was a privilege to have the opportunity to speak at this important summit and be among so many leaders in the growing offshore wind industry,” said Captain Burns, noting that the operations and maintenance of offshore wind farms is poised to be a significant economic driver for many coastal communities.
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