Shortage of Qualified Professionals Plagues International Maritime Industries


Today’s Lloyd’s List (subscription required – free 7 day trial offer available) published an article entitled “Diving into the Skills Gap.”(via Royal Dutch Shell

…(A) massive skills shortage spans the world, and industry is having to roll up its sleeves and sharpen its recruiting. IMCA, the International Marine Contractors Association, with 365 member companies in 47 countries, is juggling with this ‘hot potato’ for all the oil patches, not just the North Sea.

It is spurring action far and wide, and publicising, as it did during the massive recent OTC exhibition in Houston, and spreading the word about the steps it is taking to address the supply of personnel.

Nor is it merely master mariners and chief engineers who are in demand, but all marine construction crew, and support teams in the offices as well as people afloat. Drilling companies, and oil companies from upstream to downstream are all in the chorus.

Within the contracting and oil industry, the average age is 50 to 52, and the bell curve is leaning to the right. On average, companies need to recruit 10% more staff this year, ‘and that is just to stand still, because 10% will retire’, says IMCA chief executive Hugh Williams. Continue reading Shortage of Qualified Professionals Plagues International Maritime Industries – Tony Soprano: Leadership Consultant

tony soprano Students of leadership and fans of the HBO Series The Sopranos will enjoy Matthew Kirdhay’s article Tony Soprano: Leadership Consultant on

Make sure you check out the slide show, too.

If you dare to be a Soprano-like leader, you might want to read Leadership Sopranos Style: How to Become a More Effective Boss or Tony Soprano on Management: Leadership Lessons Inspired By America’s Favorite Mobster

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Center for Leader Development

Two weeks ago I had the great fortune of participating in a weeklong program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government called The Art and Practice of Leadership Development: A Master Class for Professional Trainers, Educators and Consultants. I wrote about it briefly here and intend to write more in the future, but right now I am still processing the learning from this incredible experience.

Scott J. Allen, Ph.D. was one of my fellow APLers. He is a visiting assistant professor at John Carroll University where he teaches strategic management, organizational behavior, business communication, management development and human resources. In addition, he served as a Presidential Fellow at Case Western Reserve University where he taught Leadership: Theory and Practice.


Scott maintains the Center for Leader Development blog and has some very interesting recent posts on the APL experience. There is a lot of other very interesting and useful information there and on a wiki that he has also created.

If you want to expand your learning about leadership, check out Scott’s blog regularly.

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Northeast Maritime Institute Dedicates Lemley Hall

06 05 07 NMI Lemley Hall ceremony 

While Norm Lemley is well known in some circles of the maritime industry, his influence and good works have impacted many, many more who may not recognize his name. Norm had a very successful 36 year career in the United States Coast Guard rising to the position of senior civilian officer and has probably influenced nearly every signifcant piece of domestic and international maritime safety legislation in the past 25 years. I had the great fortune of being introduced to Norm by Eric Dawicki, president of Northeast Maritime Institute and working with him as a board member of the American Sail Training Association. (See Norm’s ASTA bio).

Yesterday Norm’s friends and family were in attendance as Northeast Maritime Institute opened a new educational facility called Lemley Hall. NMI’s motto is “Honor the Mariner” which is really the hallmark of Norm’s life’s work. Congratulations to NMI on a spectacular new building and to Norm for the well deserved recognition!

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Help, I’ve Been Shanghaied by CBS’s Pirate Master

Embarrassingly, I am a reality TV junkie. Well, that may overstate things a bit since I am particular in my viewing habits. I love the Amazing Race and Deadliest Catch and enjoy the Apprentice. Once in a while I’ll watch Survivor, Big Brother and, shamefully, The Real World, too. Now, CBS has got me with their new show Pirate Master.

This is probably not too much of a surprise to people who regularly read the Sea-Fever blog or who know me personally. I do have a THING for what I call maritime culture. It all started back with childhood visits to the New Bedford Whaling Museum where there is a half scale model of a tall ship absolutely perfect for grade school adventures. A little later in life I had the good fortune to sail on the “pirate-like” tall ship Tabor Boy throughout my high school years and this experience is currently being chronicled over at The Tabor Boy Project. For the last 6 years, I have been the executive director of the American Sail Training Association which is an international nonprofit with 200 tall ships and sail training vessels from all over the world. The Barque Picton Castle, the ship used in the Pirate Master was one of the more visible vessels in the ASTA fleet. Today, through Sea-Changes Foundation and Sea-Fever Consulting LLC I create maritime experiential education and maritime cultural initiatives for youth of all ages.  Continue reading Help, I’ve Been Shanghaied by CBS’s Pirate Master

The Art and Practice of Leadership Development

Starting today I am participating in a week log executive education program at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government called The Art and Practice of Leadership Development. This is the final component of my Rhode Island Foundation Fellowship. My previous experiences included The Leadership Journey – Creating and Developing Your Leadership at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the Executive Seminar at the Aspen Institute and a chance to travel to England to meet with management “guru” Charles Handy to discuss leadership.  From the first afternoon and evening, I can tell that this program will be a great finale to amazing 18 months that were made possible by the Rhode Island Foundation.

After I get through this program I will begin writing what I learned from these incredible experiences as well as what I hope to do with all of this exciting, new knowledge.

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Tall Ship Tales – Old and New

The natural order of things calls for change and renewal from time to time. The old is replaced by the new but tradition still carries on. At least that is the case with sail training and tall ships. Over the past few days there have been several interesting stories in the media about the rich history and the promising future of sail training.

First on Saturday there will be an auction of a collection belonging to Captain Arthur Kimberly, former owner and “skipper” of the storied Brigantine Romance. You can read the Monroe News article about the auction here.

There is an interesting website devoted to the Romance which you should check out. On it there is a 1996 letter from Captain and Mrs. Kimberly about the demise of the vessel in Hurricane Luis in 1995 in which they write:

Romance was our only home from 1966 to 1989. Together we sailed extensively through the South Pacific, and twice around the world. She carried stuns’ls –the extra wings of the clipper ship era, as she does in the photo above–for 26 straight days crossing the South Atlantic in 1977, a modern record which may never be broken. Her Caribbean cruises gave thousands a chance, if they wished, to “pull braces” before the mast in square rig. She made boys into men; Masters and Mates of many of today’s sailing vessels. They are her finest legacy.

Check out the guest / crew list where you’ll find a number of industry leaders like Captain Dan Moreland of the Barque Picton Castle, Bert Rogers, executive director of Ocean Classroom Foundation and other who continue the tradition of changing lives at sea under sail.

Over the past few days there have also been a number of articles in the Charleston Post & Courier about the new sail training vessel Spirit of South Carolina. This has been a very exciting project to watch, especially over the past few years with the arrival of the dynamic team of Brad and Meaghan Van Liew. You may recognize Brad as a past winner of the Around Alone Race. The Van Liews have energized a project by raising much needed funds, finishing construction of a beautiful vessel, assembling a strong team of professional sailors and educators, and communicating a compelling vision to their community. The Palmetto state is lucky to have a finest kind vessel with world class leadership.

Finally, I launched The Tabor Boy Project a little over a week ago with very little promotion and no real expectations. Well, it is developing into a very interesting website. There are a few stories and some great photos and I am sure that more are on the way. One of the most interesting things is that The Tabor Boy Project currently has members from the Class of 1962 to the Class of 2008! That nearly half a century of life changing sail training experiences! As the site develops and additional stories are told, we’ll learn more about Tabor Boy, sail training and maybe even ourselves.

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The Tabor Boy Project – Storytelling and Living History

The Tabor Boy Project

I just launched a new website called The Tabor Boy Project. 

Part storytelling project, part social network, all experiment!

As long as humankind has gone to sea, incredible stories have been told upon a ship’s return to port.

A community is an accumulation of stories told. In keeping with this long maritime tradition, The Tabor Boy Project is an online community that invites you to tell your sea stories, photos and videos.

Please visit and join in the conversation. If you have EVER sailed aboard the schooner Tabor Boy in any capacity (student, crew, parent, guest, Sea Ranger, etc.) you MUST tell your story. 

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"Green is the New Red, White and Blue"

On January 6, 2006, Thomas L. Friedman wrote a New York Times editorial about the lack of national leadership regarding environmental and climate change issues. (You can read a copy here thanks to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s website) 

In yesterday’s New York Times Magazine’s cover essay “The Greening of Geopolitics: The Power of Green” Friedman built on his earlier editorial.  

The essay’s subtitle reveals his premise: “What does America need to regain its global stature? Environmental Leadership”

It’s an interesting, and simple piece, that presents his theories on petrodollars and democracy, the “China price” of energy, green patriotism and the incredible scale of the challenge to create an emissions-free energy infrastructure for the future.

Friedman writes,

The only thing as powerful as Mother Nature is Father Greed. To a degree, the market is already at work on this project – because some venture capitalists and companies understand that clean-tech is going to be the next great global industry.

This follows pretty closely what I have recently written about here, here, here and here

While in the past thinking and acting Green may have been considered a fad or trend, that is no longer the case. There are no simple solutions to the challenges that we face; however, smart business people are thinking and working hard at trying to capitalize on these new opportunities. Ultimately this can be a win / win / win situation for the economy, environment, and our children and grandchildren.

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