Campus Currents
“The Man” Retires

The Master of the Pentagoet leaves the helm with pride.

THE SLACK IN PENTAGOET'S bow dock line is not to Capt. Harry Stevens’s liking. He unwinds it from the bollard in an efficient whirl of motion, pulls it snug and secures it. He walks to the deck exit, crosses onto the dock and steps away from Pentagoet, which he has used to teach vessel handling to thousands of students. It is July 31, and after 27 years with MMA he has retired.

Stevens is a revered figure (aka The Man) on the waterfront, known for his high standards of instruction and meticulous care for the 39-year-old tug.

“A lot of people have said it’s the finest boat they’ve ever seen for its age,” says Stevens.

He first worked for MMA part-time as an AB on State of Maine training cruises, but hopped aboard Pentagoet as Chief Engineer in 1992, later becoming Captain. Since then he has taught (or co-taught) three programs that have helped launch many careers: ship handling, tug and barge operations, and workboat operations. Stevens typically taught 100-plus students per 14-week semester.

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HC260 Sustainable Energy & Society was developed as part of the Environmental Sustainability Minor. In the course, students learn about current energy use, the history, policies and technologies that led to our present state of energy supply and consumption, and the relationship between environmental and energy issues. Here are sample quiz questions:

1. In 2018, the U.S. net imports (imports minus exports) of petroleum were:
  1. 234 million barrels per day
  2. 23.4 million barrels per day
  3. 2.34 million barrels per day
  4. None of the above; the US was a net exporter
2. What country was the top source of U.S. petroleum imports in 2018?
  1. Canada
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. Mexico
  4. Venezuela
  5. Iraq
3. What percentage of 2018 total energy consumption in the U.S. was supplied by renewable energy (hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind)?
  1. 6%
  2. 11%
  3. 16%
  4. 21%
Wind Turbines

Answers: 1. c) Imports were about 9.93 million barrels per day (MMb/d) from about 86 countries, and exports were about 7.59 MMb/d to 190 countries and four U.S. territories. Resulting net imports were about 2.34 MMb/d. 2. a) Canada 3. b) 11%. Total energy consumption was 101 quadrillion Btus (quads); about 11.5 quads from renewable sources; 8% from nuclear; and 81% from fossil fuels. (Statistics:US DOE EIA website (

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