Alumni News



Chuck Heath ’72

“My Whole Personality Changed Because of MMA”

Chuck Heath ’72 grew up in Laurel, Delaware, as part of a sailing family. His great-grandfather was a shipbuilder of Chesapeake Bay Ram ships. These three-masted ships were about 120 feet long with flat bottoms and a centerboard. His grandfather was owner and captain of the last commercial, three-masted schooner on the East Coast.

At his uncle’s recommendation, Heath applied to Maine Maritime Academy and received a letter stating he was on an alternate list. “At the time,” said Heath, “my dad worked for Delaware Governor Charles Terry who was golf partners with Maine’s Governor Ken Curtis ’52. My dad talked to Governor Terry, who called Governor Curtis, and a week later I had an interview with Captain Irv, MMA’s academic dean at the time. After a fifteen-minute interview, he told me I was accepted, and I started that August.”

After graduation, Heath worked for a series of companies, including Seatrain and Farrell Lines, building experience while looking for an opportunity to be directly involved with shipping. He worked as the New England regional manager for Cruise International in Norfolk, Virginia, a company owned by MMA graduate Richard O’Leary ’54. Heath was hired as the New England sales rep for Greek Line and Carnival Cruise Line. Ferrell Lines hired him to shut down part of their European service. They said that if he closed it within a year, they would find him another job in shipping.

He met this goal and the president of Ferrell introduced him to people at Sealand who were looking for a director of commercial trade development for the brand new port of Jebel Ali in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Heath, his wife, and children moved to Dubai in 1981. In 1985, the port decided to open the Jebel Ali Free Zone on land surrounding the port. Heath became one of the directors, and it is now home to 9,500 companies. In 1986, the family moved back to the U.S. and Heath opened up the first American office for Jebel Ali Port and Free Zone.

In 1998, the Director General of Dubai Commerce and Tourism brought Heath back to Dubai to develop an international cruise hub. When it opened, it was the only cruise terminal between the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia. It was also the first international cruise terminal to receive ISO certification.
“We had all our policies and procedures in place during construction, so Lloyd’s of London certified us before we opened the doors,” said Heath.

The chairman of Jebel Ali Port gave Heath the responsibility to develop free-trade zones on a global basis in countries where they had ports operating, using the same model that was such a success at Jebel Ali. After about ten years, Heath retired in 2011, except for some consulting he did for the World Bank in Africa.

In 2016, the Jebel Ali Port chairman asked him to go to London where they had built the largest logistics port in Europe. But they were having difficulties. Heath assessed the problems, made recommendations, and spent about six months implementing them. In 2017, Heath moved to Dubai as Chief Operating Officer for the International Economic Zone division.

Maine Maritime gave me the self-confidence that I could do anything I put my mind to.

Heath is quick to credit MMA for the success he has achieved. “My whole personality changed because of MMA,” Heath said. “I was extremely introverted growing up. I was very, very shy. I would actually cross the street to avoid having to talk to other students. Maine Maritime Academy gave me the self-confidence that I could do anything I put my mind to.

“Did I enjoy my time at Maine Maritime Academy? Probably not as much as I respect it today. It was a challenge. I was in the first graduating class receiving a certified Bachelor of Science degree. Even if you’re on the midnight to four watch and the noon to four watch in the afternoon, that didn’t get you out of your coursework responsibility. You still had to keep up your academics. You had to learn to manage your time. And time management is directly linked to self-discipline.”

But he is quick to point out the importance of people skills. “If you were to ask any of the people, not only that work for me, but within the organization itself, I’d like to think I have a pretty good reputation. I don’t care if you’re the office boy or if you’re the chairman of the company, I’ll give the same courtesy, attention, and respect.

“I tell it the way it is. If I see a decision is being made that I think is wrong, I have no problem playing devil’s advocate. I can do that because of the self-confidence Maine Maritime gave me. I like pointing out risks because the last thing I want is for the company to make a decision that I know is wrong.”

  • Casco Bay (Portland)Casco Bay Chapter Picture

    The Casco Bay Chapter announced that Mark Winter ’88 will take the reins as president of the largest MMA alumni chapter. Welcome Mark. Special thanks to Pat Zrioka ’87 for his six years of dedicated service to the chapter, which saw a significant boost in activities and events during his term.

    The chapter hosted two Maine Mariner hockey games this winter, a pre-holiday outing December 9, 2022, and a St. Patrick’s Day gala March 17, 2023 (see photo). President Jerry Paul and wife, Kristy, were in attendance, their first hockey game ever!

    Save the date . . . Friday, July 21. The Casco Bay Chapter and Alumni Association will host a barbeque at Hadlock Field, followed by a Sea Dogs baseball game and fireworks. Details to follow.

  • Conn. & R.I.Conn. & R.I. chapter picture

    John Gasper ’02 thanks everyone who came to Battleship Cove, Fall River, Massachusetts, in October 2022. He reports, “Everyone had a great time and really enjoyed the tour we got from Mike Williams, USMC retired, who splits his time between the battleship Massachusetts in the summers and the aircraft carrier Midway in San Diego in the winters. The ship’s history was really interesting, too, including the fact that the Massachusetts fired the first and the last 16-inch round in WWII.”

    In addition to a pizza social at the Pizza Barn in Groton in January 2023 with Steve Morris ’78, Pete St. John ’83, Bob Sundman ’65, Joseph “Jodi” Samuell ’83, John Gasper, Todd Theil ’92, Jon Carr ’87, Steve Mitchell ’02, and Doug Vines ’81, this active group also rooted for the Hartford Wolfpack hockey team from the Director’s Suite on March 24th. From left to right, Todd Thiel, Dave Bergeron ’88, John Lancaster ’67, Scott Hendrickson ’05, Doug Vines, Kevin Green ’84, John Gasper and Troy Nevells ’99.

John Burns III ’85

Samuel Rowe ’65

Mark Winter ’88

John Gasper ’02

Tom Lord ’87

David Knapp ’86


Steve Roy ’78

Ben Cameron ’93

Michael Chambers ’80

Juan Molino ’89

Lindsey Pinkham ’04

Mark Keene ’12

DK Horne ’80

Ben Van Der Like ’16

Capt. Jay Stewart ’00

Michael Curtin ’03

Josh Shaw ’12

Michael Ward ’10

Eric Dankewicz ’05

Mason Hall ’13

Frank N. Famulari picture


Supporting MMA through Planned Giving

by Frank N. Famulari ’67

ABOUT FIVE YEARS AGO Angela and I decided to include Maine Maritime Academy in our trust and will to ensure that at our passing our intentions would be clear to our administrator. The concept of including MMA in our estate came from a classmate. Some years ago, he was featured in the Alumni News explaining why he and his wife decided to include MMA in their estate plans. At that time, I didn’t give it too much thought, but as the years went by and our portfolio increased, we became more aware of the need to specify how our portfolio was to be distributed at the time of our passing.

During our discussions, I realized that, had it not been for graduating from MMA, I doubted we would be in the financial position we are. We determined that the bulk of our estate would be directed to MMA.

As with many of the MMA alumni, I have routinely contributed to the yearly and specific fundraising requests. Through our planned giving, we will ensure our continuing support for MMA long after our passing.

This is a positive way to help sustain Maine Maritime Academy in the future long after we are gone.

Creating your Legacy

When you include Maine Maritime Academy in your estate plans, you make a permanent and lasting difference to MMA, its students, faculty, and staff. By making a planned gift, you ensure MMA will be producing top-notch graduates long into the future.

There are many ways you can provide for MMA, now and in the future:

  • Include a bequest to Maine Maritime Academy in your will, either a specific bequest or a percentage.
  • Name MMA as a beneficiary of your retirement account.
  • Name MMA as a beneficiary of your life insurance.
  • Leave your house or property to MMA.

Contact Christopher Haley, VP for Advancement for more information: email or call 207-326-2232.

  • PenBay

    Lindsay Pinkham reports a small but dedicated group of alumni met over dinner October 18, 2022. The chapter is discussing plans to host a cookout for MMA students who live in Maine’s midcoast region.

  • Ned Andrews

    Ben Cameron ’93 and the Ned Andrews chapter hosted an event at the Sea Dog Brewing Company, located on the Androscoggin River in Topsham on November 3, 2022. Prior to the gathering, the MMA Alumni Association used the venue for their quarterly board meeting. President Bill Full ’76 was on hand to meet and greet visiting alumni, including Dr. Barkley Shepard ’46.

Save the Date

Summer Solstice Cruise
June 21 | Bar Harbor, ME

Class of 1976 Reunion

Maine Mariner Golf Classic
June 26 | Brunswick Country Club, Brunswick, ME

Class of 1965 Reunion
July 10-12 | Castine, ME

Class of 1973 Reunion
July 19-21 | Castine, ME

Class of 1958 Reunion
July 24-26 | Castine, ME

Class of 1968 Reunion
Aug. 7-9 | Castine, ME

Homecoming Weekend
Sept. 30 | Castine, ME

Admiral’s Dinner
Oct. 12 | Houston, TX

Delaware Valley Chapter Golf Classic
Oct. 16 | Philadelphia, PA

For these event details and more:

  • Seacoast (N.H.)

    The Seacoast Chapter and DK Horne ’80 hosted an annual holiday gathering at the Axel Johnson Conference Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on December 8, 2022. Along with a potluck feeding, alumni and guests donated stuffed animals to be given to the area’s less fortunate during the Christmas season.

  • Bangor Sea DogsBangor chapter picture

    The Maine Savings Amphitheater played host to a Sea Dogs Chapter social gathering on November 17, 2022, at their site on the Bangor waterfront. Following a brief history and tour of the beautiful concert venue, which is currently being renovated, alumni gathered for eats, beverages, and an update on the new training ship from Captain Gordon MacArthur ’00. Special thanks to Ryan Armstrong ’14 for organizing the event.

  • Southeast (Gulf)Southeast Chapter Picture

    MMA returned to the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans this year, after a brief hiatus due to the pandemic, offering a booth to provide attendees information about MMA’s educational opportunities and professional development courses. Highlights of the three-day conference include Professor Sadie Alley Ferreira ’03 participating on the ABS offshore wind panel November 29th, John MacDonald ’93, chief operating officer of ABS, announcing the launch of Wavesight™ which is a new maritime software company that combines two of the industry’s most powerful software products, on the floor of the convention center November 30th, and introducing Ben Van Der Like ’16 from Pensacola, Florida, as the new contact for the Southeast alumni group at a reception at the Embassy Suites on December 1st. About thirty-five alumni and friends attended to meet Van Der Like and hear COO Craig Johnson ’91 give an MMA update. Pictured manning the booth are Van Der Like ’16 and Capt. Tim Leach ’05, ’10.

  • FloridaFlorida Chapter picture

    Many thanks to David Knapp ’86 who has hosted a couple of alumni gatherings in the Tampa area. Dave recently retired from Florida Power and Light, took a relaxing trip “down under,” and is assisting the MMA Alumni Association in planning a golf tournament in Florida—stay tuned.

    President Jerry Paul and COO Craig Johnson hosted a very successful event at the Lauderdale Yacht Club, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, in January 2023. Over eighty alumni and maritime professionals attended to hear President Paul outline the opportunities and challenges on campus and his vision for MMA.

    The Jacksonville group gathered to attend a Jax Icemen ECHL hockey game January 2023, viewing the activity from the comfort of the suite seats. Enjoying the camaraderie and activities are (left to right) Bill Doherty ’83, John Salvador ’86, Tom McCarthy ’81, Dan Schroppe ’62, Barry Joy ’75, Richard Walther ’92 (front) and Jeff Eldred ’73.

  • Puget SoundPuget Sound group

    Puget Sound and new chapter contact Mark Keene ’12 welcomed Jeff Wright for a holiday gathering on December 17, 2022, at the Skip Rock Distillers in Snohomish, Washington. In attendance were: (left to right) Eric King ’90, Wright, Keene, Minh Harriman ’90 (front), Chris Baril ’87, John Settles ’89, John Jacoby ’76, David Hopkins ’84, and Bill Bartlett ’83. After pleasantries and sea stories, Wright shared an MMA update with the group, assisted by Settles, a Seattle area resident, who served as MMA sailing coach for fall 2022.

  • International

    Mason Hall ’13 is a Coast Guard officer attached to CG Activities Europe, currently living in Maastricht, the Netherlands, as an international liaison officer. He works primarily with U.S. embassies and governments in Africa and the Middle East to improve port security governance and implementation. Directly prior to this assignment, he received instruction in French and regional studies at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. He will be there for about another three years. He contacted the MMA Alumni Association to ascertain the existence of an overseas alumni chapter but found there isn’t one. If there’s interest amongst alumni living in Europe, he’d be happy to host a gathering somewhere in the Netherlands, whether in Maastricht or in a somewhat more central location like Amsterdam or The Hague. Contact

  • Senior BanquetSenior Banquet picture

    Our alumni welcomed its newest members to MMA Alumni Association at the fifty-fourth annual Alumni Senior Banquet, held March 15th at the Cross Center in Bangor. The Class of 2023 members were treated to a delicious meal, cold beverages, and an overview of the Alumni Association. Bill Full ’76, president of the Association, was the master of ceremonies and Craig Johnson ’91, COO of MMA, provided welcoming remarks. The seniors were very appreciative of the event and felt sincerely welcomed into the Association. Thank you to all alumni who sponsored student meals—we couldn’t do it without you!

    thank you sponsors
  • Texasholiday gathering of the Texas Alumni Chapter

    Training Ship State of Maine chief engineer Clifford “Sandy” Cameron ’84 was guest speaker at the holiday gathering of the Texas Alumni Chapter at the Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company in Houston on December 8, 2022 (above). A great crowd heard Cameron give an update on the new training ship and preparations to receive it. Following the meeting, chapter president Josh Shaw ’12 announced Gabrielle Wells ’16, a chemical marine advisor for ExxonMobil, as vice president of the group, who is anxious to build on area alumni programming.

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