MARINERS: Stay in Touch
Share what you’ve been doing with your fellow alumni. Tell us about career changes, latest achievements, hobbies and adventures. Photos welcome. Submit Alumni News or Class Notes Now.
Elmer Perkins is proudly sporting his MMA swag as he celebrated his 95th birthday on January 15, 2021. Daughter-in-law Tina reports, “He is healthy, just slowing down, as we all would at that age. We love to hear him talk all about his time there at the Academy.” Among other things, Alumni Relations sent Elmer a 1945 Trick’s End yearbook. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.
D. Bradford Sleeper checked in to say, “I am enjoying my retirement years at 88 years old. I have a very comfortable retirement income because of my education at MMA and good jobs with good retirement savings and investments.”
Chester Tweedie is, “still around, usually splitting my time 50/50 between Bucksport and Palm Harbor, Florida, but this past year due to the virus and my wife’s health, I only spent two months in Florida and the rest in Bucksport. My wife passed away on December 30, 2020.”
The MMA community mourns the loss of Capt. Paul Jacobs ’58 (see Eight Bells). William Mahoney of Southwest Harbor, Maine, states, “I speak as the Class Agent of the class of 1956: We were in the Senior Class when Commander Paul Jacobs entered our MMA Regimental environment and can recall his presence as a fellow Midshipman. We want to express our sincere regrets at the departure of this great leader who, under the most difficult circumstances as Captain of the USS Kirk, rescued many Vietnamese friends, families, and allies in the final days of the war against a Communist regime. Paul exercised command decision in exposing his ship to unexpected hazards that could have received severe criticism from his superiors. I encourage all MMA Alumni and Regimental students to see the film The Lucky Few, showing these extraordinary events and share our pride in this event that brings considerable positive attention on our MMA.”
Edward Cormier has recommended reading: My Life at Kings Point – The Longest Days and The Shortest Years by Gustave Jockers…”great description of sailor factory life in the 1950s and beyond.”
John Hamlet wants to let his classmates know he “had a great time at our 60th reunion. Miss the old place.”
Daniel Schroppe retired from SeaLand Services in 2002 as port engineer. He and Martha live in Lulu, Florida.
Northern Lights Eastern Maine Medical Center Facebook post: “Acta Non Verba! That is Latin for ‘Actions, not words.’”
Whenever we have a volunteer need, no matter the task, we can always count on our February Volunteer of the Month, Larry Wade.
A retired sea captain and a Commodore of the Merchant Marines, he is a true example of someone who lives through their actions, not words. With more than a decade of service and 1,000 hours logged with our Volunteer Services department, Larry has dedicated his time through a variety of roles at the Medical Center… Above and beyond his years of service, Larry has earned our February Volunteer of the Month recognition for being our lead volunteer at all of our community COVID-19 vaccination clinics to date! He has not only helped lead, direct, and supervise our volunteers to ensure top notch efficiency, he has also recruited additional support to grow our volunteer team.”
William Fenton retired from shipping in 1998. He and wife Donna have been married for 54 years, have three children and nine grandchildren, ages 12 to 29. “We are busy following them and their athletic teams.”
Raymond Pickering is retired and lives in Clinton, Maine.
Richard Roscoe worked for Mobil Oil Corporation and the Panama Canal Commission, He retired as Port Engineer in 1999. He married wife Sandra Jill in May 1970, has two grown children, Dr. Jill Delker, MD, and Mark, a construction engineer. Richard and Sandra live in Gainesville, Florida.
William Moss retired after 28 years working for Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station in Philadelphia. He now is a volunteer docent in the port Captain’s Cabin of the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) Museum and Memorial. He invites all to stop by if in the Philly area.
Dave Sulin reports that “Our Class (Agents) are doing a great job getting the word out. Curt Nehring and I had our annual fall get-together lunch along with a mutual old Mass. Maritime friend and shipmate in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We followed COVID-19 rules in effect.”
After shipping the seas to Africa as an engineer opened his eyes and heart to a different way of life, Richard Parsons entered a Benedictine Monastery and pursued the religious life as Brother James. Later, he worked for Union Camp/International Paper for 34 years and presently enjoys retirement, his grandchildren and his writing in Gobles, Michigan. Under the pen name James Benedict, he released a book titled Choices through the SEA of Life, an autobiography that focuses on his journey through life and sharing valuable lessons.
Douglas Schweers spent last winter skiing out west in Driggs, Idaho, at Grand Targhee Resort with wife Judy and MMA classmate Dana Grant. Maynard Russell ‘71 missed out on the annual skiing adventure while recovering from a skiing injury with his grandchildren. They plan to get the OLD Sugarloaf crowd back out west next year.
William Worth is “happily retired, living as far from salt water as I could find in the United States, halfway between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, on an airpark 10 miles from the Mexican Border. Nowadays, I fly my airplane, helicopter, and hot air balloon for fun.”
Peter Sederquist has made residence in Alton, New Hampshire.
John Webster is gold mining in Costa Rica. As reported via email: “I’m in Chino, CA this week, dismantling a 1500 x 1500mm filter press for the (gold) mine in Costa Rica. Hopefully we can stuff it in two 45’ shipping containers. We have 1,000 acres at the mine. We’re just starting a two-year, $10 million expansion. One of my companies has the supervision contract for the construction. The expansion is self-funded, meaning we have no debt.’’
Mark Marcellus is retired and lives in Bluffton, South Carolina.
Capt. Deborah Doane Dempsey ‘76, along with Lindsay Smith ‘00, Danielle Randolph ’05, and Crystal Parker Maass ’06 were featured in the 2019 special women’s highlights issue of Proceedings, the US Coast Guard journal for safety and security at sea. Themed “Pioneers & Prodigies,” it features the contributions of women in the US maritime industry.
James Kahler is Ship Berthing Specialist for the Maritime Administration. He and Jaqueline live in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.
Raymond Minchak: “I hope all my class of ’80 is well and we get to see each other sometime in 2020 to celebrate 40 years!”
We received an update on the Geissler brothers: After 38 years of taking oil tankers around the world (Getty Oil, Crest Tankers, ARCO Marine, and ConocoPhillips/Polar Tankers), Raymond Geissler rang up FWE and retired. “Wonderful career and enjoyed it immensely, well most of it. Currently enjoying life splitting my time between Little Sebago Lake, Maine, and Wellington, Florida, with my wife Nina.” Still staying in touch with many MMA alumni in the areas. Our mom Shirley passed away in July 2020, who was married to our Dad, Edward J. Geissler, who was a longtime professor at MMA from 1969-1986. (Photo, L-R) Ray, father Edward, Greg, and Peter shortly after the boys received their Coast Guard licenses Summer 1983.
Ken Belcher is the President and CEO for Northern Maine Independent System Administrator (NMISA), a non-profit entity responsible for the administration of the northern Maine transmission system and electric power markets in Aroostook and Washington counties, with a load of approximately 130 MW. He lives in Winterport, Maine.
For the last 25 years, Gregory Geissler has been working in the offshore industry on various FPSO vessels in the North Sea and West Africa. Still resides in the north of England for the past 35 years with his wife Sylvia.
Peter Geissler writes: “After three years on merchant vessels, I turned to shore side power plant management and engineering. Currently VP of O&M for Jera Americas, supporting their fleet of 2,900 MW of gas-fired power plants and splitting my time between Austin, Texas and Brownfield, Maine. Very active in the grandparent business with my wife Kathleen and participating in the El Faro Salute memorial initiative.“
Stacy Fitts (left) and Michael Cianchette joined a hearty holiday email exchange among classmates. Stacey’s message: “Santa says Merry Christmas to you all. The years have added a bit of silver to the beard, it seems…I wish you all well and look forward to the next time we are able to be together again. All my best for a better 2021 for all!”
The classmates’ extensive thread covered everything from a Hallmark moment to the B-52’s. Great stuff, ’84!
Capt. Skip Strong added, “Merry Christmas boys and girls! I’m masked up and socially distant, but look forward to our next reunion. Stay healthy and safe.”
Dave Hopkins hopes all are off to a Happy New Year in Castine and sent us this photo. Capt. Ben Gonya ‘85E (left) and Capt. Dave Hopkins ‘84E (right), are having coffee together aboard a FedEx 777F over Shemya Island in the North Pacific Ocean, January 16, 2021. Dave notes, “Ben and I have both been flying for FedEx for 25 years and this is the first time we were able to work together in the same cockpit.”
After graduating in 1987, Kurt Breitfeller went to work with Maersk as an able seaman, worked his way up and in 2001, received his first command as master of a 950’ containership, the MV John UD Page. He remained on the Page as Master until she was scrapped in 2015. In late 2017, he joined the Crowley team building the 2 Commitment Class vessels, El Coqui and Taino. He and his wife make their home in Clermont, Florida. (Photo) MMA well represented aboard Crowley’s new CONRO Commitment Class vessel the MV EL Coqui. Left to right: Deck Cadet Justin Jordan ‘21, Chief Engineer Jim Brown ‘83 (seated), Capt. Kurt J. Breitfeller ‘87
Peter Lavelle wrote to us: “Your recent article on the Comfort was excellent!”
“I sailed aboard a San Clemente class tanker (Texaco) August, 1978 from Anacortes, Washington to the Persian Gulf for two R/t voyages. The vessel I sailed was the SS Beaver State, and it’s sister ship SS Rose City. These vessels were built at NASSCO (San Diego) under the Maritime Act 1970 (Nixon Admin.) with Title 11 ship financing at only 10% down. The owner was Schnitzer Steel (Portland, Oregon), a large, west coast scrap metal recycler. It was a great moneymaking enterprise for Schnitzer Steel. Low cost financing, and they sold the ships back to the U.S. to convert to the hospital ships Mercy and Comfort. Not sure if the MMSI # is the same from tanker to hospital ship. It was a great adventure for this, then, young man.”
Michael Nagem is the President of Anchor Consulting, LLC, for new vessel construction, conversion, overhaul and repair, systems testing, sea-trials, and regulatory compliance. He lives in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Tarquennis Payne is retired from the US Army and lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Eric Smith is President and CEO of Plimsoll Maritime Partners, which began in 2020 “with the vision to be a creator of job opportunities and career paths for the US Maritime Industry. PMP is dedicated to this vision via our focused mission to provide strategic planning, organizational restructuring, operation performance, business development initiatives, and government affairs guidance. Eric and Pam are now empty nesters as Alexis, Madison and Peyton are out of college and pursuing their careers and Jensen is in college at UNF.
David Thoenen is sailing as Master for A2B-Online aboard the A2B Comfort, making runs between Rotterdam and the UK. David has been living in the Netherlands since 1992 and has a grown son, Jonathan
R. Russell Smith of Arlington, Virginia has been nominated for US Navy Rear Admiral (lower half), a “one star” (07). The nomination must be confirmed by the US Senate.
Nathan Gandy and wife Tracy have been working to bring back to life an old farm in Brooksville, Maine, the About Thyme Farm, with the goal of incorporating programs for veterans to assist them in the transition from military service to the civilian sector. This endeavor has reached the point that demands more of his focus and attention, which has led Nate to the decision to step away from his role at MMA.
Robert Burger is a partner at the law firm of Thompson Hine LLP in the firm’s Admiralty & Maritime practice group. He is a US Coast Guard licensed deck officer and focuses his practice on a wide range of maritime matters including both litigation and transactions. He is also is general counsel for the Lake Carriers Association, President of the Great Lakes Single Handed Society, an organization established for the perpetuation of the sport of solo sailing, and past President and Treasurer of the Propeller Club Port of Cleveland.
Steve Pellegrino, St. Lawrence Seaway Pilot, and Mike Tolley, Columbia River Bar Pilot, were joined by Chuck Zenter ’96, Key West Bar Pilot, in Augusta in February for an afternoon of fellowship and reminiscing.
Brian Kirk retired from the US Navy in 2013. He continues to work with the maritime industry as the Oil Spill Prevention Manager for the Washington State Department of Ecology.
Capt. Steven Tukey is the President of B & L Marine, LLC, a marine service company he started in southern Maine. His company does dock installation/removal, diving services, boating consultations/instruction, marine personnel services, and whatever else customers may need. He also works a an independent contractor captain for Paradigm Marine in Kodiak, Alaska. Steven and his family live in Gorham, Maine.
Seamus Haley recently moved to Noble Drilling as a Chief Engineer in Guyana. Seamus and family live in Gray, Maine.
Jeff Ivory and Brian Coxson, Class Agents, hosted a Holiday Happy Hour in December. A small but mighty presence included (upper left) Chuck Schaff, Jeff Ivory, Marcel Muise, Matt Gammon, (row 2, left) Garth Pulkkinen, Todd Crane, Paul Manzo, and Brian Coxson.
Capt. Gregory Baker recently assumed command of the USS America (LHA 6) during Change of Command ceremony on March 12. Baker enlisted in the Navy in 1983 and received his commission through the Enlisted Commissioning Program, graduating from MMA with a bachelor’s degree in Ocean Studies. He received his master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in 2007. A surface warfare officer, he served aboard USS Anchorage (LSD 36), USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), as the executive officer aboard USS San Antonio (LPD 17), and as the commanding officer of USS Arlington (LPD 24) and USS Wasp (LHD 1).
Eric Otenti is a consultant engineer at FM Global and lives in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.
After 20 dedicated years with GE, Ken Buttery is now Chief Revenue Officer at ProcessBarron, a company specializing in the design, manufacturing, installation, maintenance, repair of air, gas and material handling equipment. Ken was quoted extensively in a February 2021 article about ProcessBarron in BOSS Magazine (thebossmagazine.com). In March 2021, Forbes Business Development Council recently recognized Ken as an outstanding leader and a new member to the Council. This is an invitation-only organization for senior sales and business development executives.
Megan Swaney is a Cargo Safety Advisor for Blue Water Marine and lives in Port Angeles, Washington with daughter Rachel.
John Gasper of Bolton, Connecticut married Lydia Johnson of on September 26, 2020. John owns and operates Gasper’s Automotive Restoration in Manchester, Connecticut. Lydia owns and operates Lydia Johnson Ceramics, Manchester, Connecticut.
Maersk Line, Ltd. has honored Keith Turcotte, Chief Engineer onboard the MAERSK Durban, as its 2020 Safety Mariner of the Year. The award is bestowed upon a mariner in the fleet that distinguishes themselves by exceeding the already high-level of safety practices employed by MLL officers and crew. The honor is even more impressive given the additional challenges thrust upon mariners during the pandemic, especially those affecting crews aboard shuttle service vessels.
Besides going above-and-beyond to establish a safe working environment, Chief Turcotte was lauded as a consummate professional and credited as a stabilizing force onboard ship during the darkest days of the pandemic. M.E.B.A. Atlantic Coast Vice President Jason Callahan enthusiastically endorsed the selection and pointed out Chief Turcotte’s expertise and professionalism. He noted, “Keith demonstrated an outstanding ability to keep morale up even when ship voyages and mariner job assignments were prolonged due to COVID-19.” Turcotte has been part of the M.E.B.A. since 2002 following his graduation from MMA. He has spent the last six years with MLL.
Maersk Line, Ltd. Labor Relations Vice President Ed Hanley said Chief Turcotte is “very well deserving of the award and his great contributions to safety, engineering and leadership onboard is what really counts.” Congratulations Keith!
Colleen Peters graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Master of Oceanography, Master of Business Administration, and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing. While attending URI, Colleen worked at the Inner Space Center, located on the Graduate School of Oceanography campus, which provides live streaming for ocean exploration vessels. A new job was recently created for her at the same facility. She is now the Operations Manager at the ISC, where she helps manage the facility as well as projects to support telepresence-enabled offshore expeditions. Colleen also sails as a seafloor mapping specialist/coordinator to keep her sea legs! She is currently working on the integration of IT and Science equipment on the new OceanX vessel, OceanXplorer1, being refit in Schiedam, Netherlands.
Chris Oelschlegel works at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and wife Amanda works as a supply chain consultant. They live in Kennebunk with their two children, Oliver and Audrey.
James Jeffcoat joined the firm of Whiteford Taylor and Preston in Baltimore. His practice focuses on civil litigation in federal and state courts, including commercial litigation, insurance coverage and defense, admiralty and maritime disputes, and intellectual property litigation. He has experience with patent infringement actions before the International Trade Commission. Prior to practicing law, James spent five years on US flag merchant ships on coastwise and foreign voyages. He currently holds a 1600 ton Master’s License.
Michael Stutevoss is a harbor pilot for the Tampa Bay Pilots Association and lives in Tampa, Florida.
Dave Cebulski received his MS degree in Maritime Management and is a Marine Transportation Specialist in the Training and Assessment Division at the USCG National Maritime Center in Martinsburg, WV. He served four years, two months active duty in the US Navy before fulfilling a career as a licensed Merchant Mariner in various shipboard positions including Master. His most recent occupation prior to joining the NMC was Assistant Professor in the Marine Transportation Department at SUNY Maritime College where he received his undergraduate degree. He and wife Susan have two adult daughters and live in in Shepherdstown, WV.
Nathan Olehowski is working at General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works and lives in Bath, Maine.
Brandon Goodrich is a Financial Advisor for Prudential Financial in So. Portland, Maine and lives in Saco.
Matthew Patnaude is currently working as Master of towing and federal pilot in Boston Harbor in association with Boston Towing, where he started on a harbor tug on his first co-op in 2005. He reports, “We have several MMA alumni working at Boston Towing as well, the best represented maritime academy.” Matt’s home is in Beverly, Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife and three children.
MacKenzie (Poirier) Langley says, “It never ceases to amaze me how being an MMA alum opens doors of possibility.
I’ve recently been promoted to the Director of Business Development and Sales for New England at iES MACH.
The road I took to get here went from co-oping at power plants for GE to turbine design, manufacturing and field services for Siemens to commercial and industrial HVAC and power generation at Trane and now energy demand, management software and indoor air quality monitoring at iES MACH.
I feel I can accomplish anything with the competencies fostered by MMA. I’m making a difference in this chaotic pandemic world by helping business owners and property management companies combine energy efficiency and safe indoor air quality so we can all work towards a new “normal.”
Matthew Stephens and Lori (Berggren) Stephens ’10 check in to share, “After the last nine years of both working shoreside in Houston, we are going out to sea as a family. Matt re-activated his 2nd Mates license out of continuity and will be using it to serve onboard the M/V Logos Hope, which is a non-profit Christian vessel that visits ports around the world. We will be onboard for the next 18 months.”
Jason Endsley is an electric field operations supervisor at Eversource Energy in New Hampshire, and reports, “There are a lot of MMA alumni in supervisory positions.” Jason has been with Eversource since 2017, after four years with Seadrill.
Ryan Armstrong is currently serving on active duty orders for the US Navy Reserve as the Strategic Sealift Officer at MMA’s NROTC unit. He is a 2 A/E with Crowley, has worked on five different ships, and through six ship yards. Between shipping, training courses, and Navy Reserve duty, he travels across the country regularly. Ashore, Ryan is working on his real estate goals and says, “Why climb the ladder when you can own it?”
Benjamin King is a mate with Stasinos Marine and lives in Medford, Maine.
Scott Murray and wife Christine welcomed baby boy, Sawyer Lincoln Murray, into the world on Feburary 18, 2020. They are currently residing in Chardon, Ohio, where Scott is a Pilot/Mate with Inland Lakes Management on the Great Lakes and Christine is a nurse at University Hospitals.
Patrick Graham received his Bachelor’s in Marine Science from MMA in 2016 and his Master’s in Systems Engineering from Penn State in 2020. He is a Radar System Engineer with Lockheed Martin and lives in Bath, Maine.
Anthony Scenna is working for Vicinity Energy as plant operator. He, wife Amanda, and Aiden, born on October 30, 2020, live in Exeter, New Hampshire.
Sydney Adams is a graduate student at University of New Hampshire.
Caiden Shea, who, as a student, introduced MMA to drone video, is a Power Plant Operator at Lake Road Generating Facility in Killingly, Connecticut. Lake Road is a three-unit, 1-on-1 combined cycle power plant providing power to Connecticut and Rhode Island within the ISO-NE grid.
Shortly after graduation, Kaitlyn Shute moved to Reston, Virginia, and will finish her Master’s degree in International Logistics Management in August 2021. She is pursuing her “dream of becoming a Foreign Service Officer for the United States Department of State.
“A basic day on the job for me consists of providing logistical support to move supplies and equipment to overseas posts as well as anything else the day throws at me.”
After Mary Shea’s first hitch as a third Assistant engineer on the drillship Discoverer Inspiration, she was offered a job with Subcom, the company where she cadet shipped. She is on the cable ship CS Durable (photo).
John Staples, retired chief of staff of the Academy and former editor of the Mariner, is the author of Seeking Freemasonry: Academia and the Ancient Craft, describing the growing number of university-affiliated Masonic groups in the US and UK. Staples has been honored for his work as a writer and editor by Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, the Navy League, and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. John lives in Leesburg, Florida.
Share what you’ve been doing with your fellow alumni. Tell us about career changes, latest achievements, hobbies and adventures. Photos welcome. Submit Alumni News or Class Notes Now.