Sea Stories – Changing Lives, Saving Lives

Over the past few years there have been several great stories of young people participating in sail training programs and ending up in a real adventures saving lives at sea. A few come to mind:

Sea Scout vessel Argus rescuing a scuba diver left behind

St. George’s School’s Geronimo rescuing a Polish sailor that had fallen off an ocean bound freighter

Sea Education Association’s rescue of some Haitian refugees.

Last week, a group of students from the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy were participating in a educational sailing adventure aboard the three master schooner Denis Sullivan when one of them spotted a flare on the horizon. It turned out to be  from three fisherman in dire need of help.  Riviera students on educational voyage help rescue imperiled boaters (Check out all of the comments) and Youth, school reap rewards for rescue.

In the January issue of Soundings Trade Only, Beth Rosenberg wrote a great article about the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy. At this charter school, nuts plus bolts equals jobs. This is a great program that demonstrates a valuable partnership between the maritime industry and traditional high school education. It helps fill a niche that benefits employers and the youth involved.

For young people, going to sea under sail is truly a life changing experience. The risk of the adventure can be directly correlated to the impact that it will have on the participant’s lives long into the future. Saving human lives in peril is a time honored responsibility and obligation of going to sea and the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy students will never forget their brief experience aboard the Denis Sullivan.

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Nonprofits Using New Media Tools – The Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle, WA

As a strategy and communications consultant I am always interested in learning how organizations use new media tools to engage stakeholders. Many of these tools are free and so easy to use that nonprofits can spread their messages more effectively than ever.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the groundbreaking for the Lake Union Park project in Seattle. (Seattle – A Maritime City)  One of the key players in that initiative,The Center for Wooden Boats, set up a separate website using blogging software to inform the community of The Master Plan for Exhibits and Interpretation at Lake Union Park. Here you can find lots of useful information including several videos introduced by founding director Dick Wagner and narrated by CWB executive director Betsy Davis.

I was surprised that a high profile community project like this did not generate any comments on any of the blog entries but maybe that’s because CWB has done such a good job of informing and including the community in the process. The YouTube videos which were pretty well put together have also not been watched as many times as I would have thought.

In any case, the Center for Wooden Boats use of these new media tools demonstrates their commitment to giving their stakeholders access to information on the organization’s important strategic initiatives. That’s always a good practice.

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Maritime Heritage Tourism Events and Public Safety Costs

The Providence Journal reported earlier this week that the Tall Ships event that will be visiting Rhode Island may not receive any support from the state. (Tall Ships event may set sail in July without state money by Lynn Arditi) It seems that the legislature rejected part of the governor’s budget that would have covered public safety and emergency management expenses.

None of this is very surprising but it is pretty sad. As things go its probably as much about Rhode Island politics as anything else and in the end it will probably all work itself out. However, organizing events like this is incredibly stressful and risky and those who work hard in bringing a valuable, contributing enterprise to the state deserve better.

First of all, the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE will draw hundreds of thousands of visitors from outside the state to experience the spectacle first hand. Each of these visitors will spend significant funds in Newport and throughout the rest of the state. It is safe to say that much of this incremental revenue and the attendant taxes would not be earned without the visit of the tall ships. Continue reading Maritime Heritage Tourism Events and Public Safety Costs

NY Times – Sierra Club cuts Deal with Kansas City Power & Light

windowslivewriternytimessierraclubcutsdealwithkansascityp-e013logo20sc20vert1.jpgIn today’s New York Times, Matthew L. Wald reports that the Sierra Club has negotiated a deal with Kansas City Power and Light, a Midwest electric company, “to take steps to cut carbon dioxide output by the amount that a new plan will produce.” The plan includes buying hundreds of windmills and undertaking a major conservation program.

Following on my recent post BusinessWeek – Hugging the Tree-Huggers, this is another example of the previously unthought of convergence of social sector activists and corporate interests to try to solve some of the planet’s most significant challenges. Continue reading NY Times – Sierra Club cuts Deal with Kansas City Power & Light

Harvard Business Review – Sailing the Seas of Business

Back in January when we launched the Sea-Fever Consulting LLC website I wrote about the influences in choosing our name: 

We believe that the sea is a strong and effective metaphor for business. Both present an ever changing environment and those that don’t adjust can find themselves far off course or worse.

Today more than ever organizations need to find their“star to steer by.”  Sea-Fever will help you “navigate challenges” and “discover opportunities.”

It was exciting to read the From the Editor column in the March 2007 issue of the Harvard Business Review.  Editor and managing director Thomas A. Stewart opens the issue by writing:  

“It’s more complicated than you think.” That could almost be our motto. Most business situations, the kind that come to the attention of the senior decision makers you are, require that leaders get a couple of big things right: the destination, so people know where they’re going, and a pole-star, so they don’t get lost. But the voyage itself is sure to be anything but clear sailing. Success comes to those who read and react to the unobvious but important complications of wind and current, who tack tirelessly in the face of adversity, who exploit every puff in the doldrums, who seize the chance for a long run downwind.

Sounds good to us!

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BusinessWeek – Hugging the Tree-Huggers

BusinessWeek logoAnother interesting article about the convergence of interests between corporate executives and environmental activists appeared in the March 12th edition of BusinessWeek.

Hugging the Tree-Huggers by John Carey leads off with a story about the recent mega takeover of Texas utility TXU Corporation and the importance of the public support for the transaction by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The TXU takeover is a sign of a remarkable evolution in the dynamic between corporate executives and activists. Once fractious and antagonistic, it has moved toward accommodation and even mutual dependence. Companies increasingly seek a “green” imprimatur, while enviros view changes in how business operates as key to protecting the planet.

A visit to the homepage of Environmental Defense Fund while writing this post revealed the  congratulatory headline: “Global Warming Victory: We brokered a buyout in Texas that will lead to a cleaner energy future.” (article)

Continue reading BusinessWeek – Hugging the Tree-Huggers

NY Times – Museum Review – USS Monitor Center, Newport News, VA

In today’s New York Times, Edward Rothstein wrote a great review of the recently opened U.S.S. Monitor Center at The Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, VA. (A Celebrity Warship Gets a Hall of Fame to Call Its Own)

Gary C. Knapp for The New York Times

The Mariner Museum and U.S.S. Monitor Center’s website is chockfull of interesting and educational information. Also, be sure to visit the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary website.

According to the article, the museum has only been drawing about 60,000 visitors a year; however, with this significant addition, they will surely draw many more in the future. The Monitor is not only a Civil War “Celebrity Warship”, but she also marks a major turning point in naval history about which Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote:

“All the pomp and splendor of naval warfare are gone by. Henceforth there must come up a race of enginemen and smoke-blackened commoners who will hammer away at their enemies under the direction of a single pair of eyes.”

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Fast Company’s – Fast / Profit Driven Solutions for What Ails the Planet

The March 2007 issue of Fast Company presents the Fast 50, a list of companies that are using innovative technologies and strategies to solve some of our planet’s biggest challenges.

The opening essay was written by Andrew Zolli, a consultant and futurist with Z + Partners and he does a great job in highlighting the evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility. Entitled Business 3.0 – The oblivious capitalist’s days are numbered, Zolli’s essay starts by citing Milton Friedman’s September 13, 1970 New York Times Magazine essay wherein the Nobel Prize winning economist argues that “the one and only social responsibility of business (is) to engage in activities designed to increase it’s profits.” Free-market, laissez faire economics at it’s finest.

Thankfully, today some business leaders see opportunity, competitive advantage and economic benefit in innovative strategies that can help save the planet.  Zolli writes:

Well ahead of slower-moving governments, companies of every size and in every part of the world are now waking up to humanity’s impending and interlocking crises, and the vastly lucrative rewards that solving them might bring

As with the Industrial and Information Revolutions before them, the protagonists in the “Eco-Innovation” Revolution will take the field with new approaches, ideas, and technologies that will upend our notions of production, consumption, wealth, and invention.

Zolli provides some interesting ideas for consideration: waste accountability leading to design for low cost disassembly; the LOHAS (“lifestyles of health and sustainability”) $227 billion market made up of consumers who are willing to spend a 20% premium on “clean, green products over nonsustainable alternatives”; and biomemetic and organic technologies such as Lotusan Paint and BAE Systems’ Synthetic Gecko. Zolli writes:

These products share one trait: They will win in the marketplace. Not because they’re eco-friendly or warm and fuzzy or have a Ben & Jerry’s seal of approval. They’ll win because they deliver better, cheaper, and more profitable results.

Seeking a competitive advantage through green and sustainable strategies is not really at odds with Friedman’s profit maximization model. Integrating social responsibility with corporate strategy can be good for business and for the future of our planet.

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Looking for a Leader with Integrity, Vision and Creativity

Independence Seaport Museum logo

I have recently posted about the challenges at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia that have been reported in the media. (Rough Waters for the Independence Seaport Museum and Independence Maritime Museum and Politics in the News)

The American Association of Museums website has a posting for the vacant president’s position.

This is an opportunity for a proven leader to direct the Museum’s strategic growth, enliven its programs and exhibits, strengthen its financial resources, and increase its visibility and connection to the community it serves.

After a challenging period in its history, the Museum is moving ahead with resolve and optimism. The President will be charged with working closely with Board and staff to fulfill the Museum’s potential for innovative programming, excellence, and community leadership.

The search is being facilitated by Issacson, Miller.

Considering the recent history of the organization, this would be a very interesting and challenging opportunity. But please, only Level 5 leaders need apply!

Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer reports that at least temporarily the museum has met their objective of giving the helm to a “leader with integrity, vision and creativity” not to mention considerable experience with the institution and in the community. Veteran skipper takes museum’s wheel. Its reported that Theodore Newbold, 77, will serve as acting president while the search is undertaken. He was previously president of the Philadelphia Maritime Museum (1983 – 1989) and former executive director of the Betsy Ross House.

Sounds like good news!

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