Alumni News

Spotlight

Honoring MMA Alumni and Inspiring Students

The Alumni Association receives nominations for Wall of Honor, Outstanding Alumni, and the Humanitarian Award. These awards are established to recognize alumni accomplishments to serve as inspiration to students and alumni—current and future—to strive for excellence.

Ed Harmes picture

Ed Harmes, MMA class of 1964, 23-year U.S. Coast Guard career, was awarded the Humanitarian Award for dedicated affiliation with Habitat for Humanity, having participated on the construction of over one hundred homes in the Williamson County, Texas, area and twelve international builds.

Tom Lord

For his commitment to his alma mater, Tom Lord, MMA class of 1987, was awarded Outstanding Alumnus. In his service to MMA, Tom’s contributions are significant and numerous. He initiated the highly successful MMA Career Fair in 2002, which continues today, now twice a year. He is an active participant of the Admissions Department’s Blue and Gold Ambassador Program and represents MMA at student recruitment events in the Philadelphia area. After being named its president in 2020, he rejuvenated the Delaware Valley Alumni Chapter (covering the Pennsylvania and New Jersey alumni) and initiated the annual Mid-Atlantic Golf Tournament (partnering with the D.C. Chapter) to strengthen MMA’s connection in various industry sectors in the area. Tom was also a strong promoter and supporter of the “Mariner Football Challenge” to bring football back to MMA.

Jay Harris picture

Wall of Honor recipient Gerald W. “Jay” Harris, MMA class of 1973, is the president of Komar Distribution Services and chief operating officer of Komar Brands, a global leader in the design, sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution of apparel. Komar Brands manages a diverse portfolio consisting of owned, licensed, and private label brands. His professional journey encompasses pivotal roles at North Sails and Komar Brands, where he drove both companies to a commanding 60 pct. market share. Over the past 40 years, Jay has propelled Komar from a $20 million company to a $1.2 billion dollar powerhouse.

Richard Balzano

Wall of Honor recipient Richard “Dickie” Balzano, MMA class of 1989, served 29 years of dedicated service in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a captain. In 2017, he was appointed by President Donald Trump as Deputy Administrator, Maritime Administration, of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Soon after Balzano’s arrival at MARAD, the Department of Transportation received funding for the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) program, a class of five ships to train mariners and respond to natural and other disasters for the nation. Creating and chairing an Executive Steering Group (ESG) to find savings, Balzano and the ESG worked with Congress, directing MARAD to procure the ships using commercial processes, resulting in a firm, fixed-price, fixed-delivery contract of $323 million per ship, nearly two-thirds less than original government estimates, making the initiative feasible.

Congratulations to all!

  • Panama ChapterPanama Chapter picture

    Juan Molino ’89 reports that the Panama Canal Alumni Chapter’s annual luncheon was held at Maagoos Fish and Tacos in Panama City, Panama, July 26. Molino states, “We are a small, but tight, group of thirteen members, most of us working in the Panama Canal as pilots and tug masters. We try to get together at least once a year. The missing members were either working or traveling abroad that day.” In the picture from left to right: Eusebio Stewart ’90, Gary Watson ’90, Jor-El Vega ’92, Jairo Bryant ’90, Alejandro Fernández ’08, Cesar Achurra ’90, Juan, and Ricardo Cuellar ’17.

  • A Message from Capt. Mark J. Winter ’88, Commandant of Midshipmen

    We are all still stubbing our toes on supply chain problems and there’s no end in sight. One shortage we’re battling in the Regiment is getting the proper uniforms for our Midshipmen. We are unable to purchase the shoulder boards and collar devices we need.

    Mark Winter

    Capt. Mark Winter
    PHOTO BY RHONDA VARNEY

    If you are like me, you probably have few sitting in the backs of closets or the bottoms of drawers. If so, I am asking you to send them back to school so that we can reissue them to students. Please take a look around and mail any you can find to:

    Maine Maritime Academy
    Attn: CWO4 Anne Kowalski
    1 Pleasant St.
    Castine, ME 04420

    Thank you for helping to continue the legacy of MMA by paying it forward to the next generation of Mariners.

    Best regards,
    Capt. Mark J. Winter ’88

BANGOR SEA DOGS
John Burns III ’85
john.burnsiii@vistraenergy.com

BAY STATE
Samuel Rowe ’65
skidrowe42@verizon.net

CASCO BAY
Mark Winter ’88
winter.mark.j@gmail.com

CONNECTICUT
John Gasper ’02
gasperautomotive@gmail.com

DELAWARE VALLEY
Tom Lord ’87
twlord@comcast.net

FLORIDA (TAMPA)
David Knapp ’86
drknapp@tecoenergy.com

FLORIDA (JACKSONVILLE)
TBD

KENNEBEC VALLEY
Steve Roy ’78
roysteve55@gmail.com

NED ANDREWS
Ben Cameron ’93
ben@harbordigitalsystems.com

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Michael Chambers ’80
mcham31153@aol.com

PANAMA CANAL
Juan Molino ’89
jcmolino@gmail.com

PENOBSCOT BAY
Lindsey Pinkham ’04
lindsey@midcoastfirstaid.com

PUGET SOUND
Mark Keene ’12
m.keene92@gmail.com

SEACOAST
DK Horne ’80
dkhorne1@aol.com

SOUTHEAST (GULF)
Ben Van Der Like ’16
benjamin.vanderlike@gmail.com

SOUTHEAST ATLANTIC
Capt. Jay Stewart ’00
sandbarunner@knology.net

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Michael Curtin ’03
michael.p.curtin@gmail.com

TEXAS
Josh Shaw ’12
joshua.shaw1985@gmail.com

TIDEWATER
Michael Ward ’10
michael.t.ward2010@gmail.com

WASHINGTON, DC
Eric Dankewicz ’05
edankewicz@mdpilots.com

INTERNATIONAL
Mason Hall ’13
masonhall33@gmail.com

Cheryl Maloney

Cheryl Maloney with a tray of pecan rolls.
Republished with permission c. 2021 The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Spotlight

The “B” in IBL Means Bakery

Cheryl (Sokol) Maloney ’02 grew up in Chicago and came to MMA to become an oceanographer. After her first semester, she switched to International Business and Logistics. “I decided quickly that I liked oceanography better as a hobby than a profession,” she explained. “I joked with my friends that I didn’t think it would buy me the shoes I wanted.”

Almost immediately, Maloney knew IBL was the place for her.

“It was a very good, very well-rounded business program,” Maloney said. “I loved every minute of it.”

After graduation she worked nights in Louisville, Kentucky, dispatching barges before returning to Chicago to join the Canadian National Railroad. She found herself the only person under forty, and one of the few women who wasn’t a secretary. “My parents were thrilled,” she recalled. “They said railroads are for life and a pension. But I knew there was no way I could commit my whole life to it.”

Her boss had a friend in the transportation department at Constellation Brands, one of the world’s largest premium beer and wine suppliers. He told her she needed to interview for a transportation analyst job open at Constellation. “I think they would love to
have you,” he said. “You’ll be so much happier there.”

Maloney got the Constellation Brands job, and it was a much better fit. She started as a transportation analyst but hit her stride in category strategy and sales data analytics. She switched to wine sales and had an epic year, becoming responsible for wine sales at Whole Foods and Target for the entire country.

She and her husband, Shawn, welcomed their son in 2016 and she stayed home for five years. Just as she was thinking about returning to work, everything was shutting down for Covid. They started to reevaluate where they wanted to be. Her actuary husband received permission to work remotely, and Maloney suggested they move to Iowa where her sister and her mother’s side of the family were. In fall 2020 they bought a house in Solon, between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

Eighty-five years ago, Maloney’s great aunt opened Mary Ann’s Eat Shop in Cedar Rapids and ran it with her five sisters for fourteen years.

“People in my family love to bake,” said Maloney, “myself included.”

Once settled in their new place, Maloney began baking more and sharing with friends. Word of mouth about her delicious rolls created demand, and soon she was selling her baked goods from her home. She quickly developed a following, and as she watched her sales grow, she knew she would hit the $35,000 limit of what could legally be sold from a home kitchen.

“My aunt in Cedar Rapids told me Solon needed a bakery,” said Maloney, “but I wasn’t convinced.” She knew her high-quality ingredients and handwork would require a high price. Her aunt remained confident that people would pay for good food, and Maloney took the plunge, opening The Eat Shop as a high-end, boutique bakery. In some instances, price points were double those of other bakeries. But Maloney’s aunt was right. “We sold over 20,000 cinnamon and pecan rolls the first year, and our second-year sales are up over 20 percent.”

When an opportunity arose recently to bid on a food retail spot on the University of Iowa campus, Maloney was ready.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” she said. “Solon has 3,000 people and there are that many students just in the dorm next door to our location.”

Maloney credits MMA and her corporate experience in Chicago for the skills she’s needed to build a successful business. “I never even knew I wanted to be a business owner,” she said with a laugh. “Now I can’t imagine life any other way.”

  • Delaware Valley

    Chapter President Tom Lord ’87 and the DelValley folks were very busy this spring and fall. On May 1, they played host to MMA President Jerry Paul and dignitaries at the actual keel laying of the new NSMV State of Maine being constructed at Philly Shipyard. On May 17, while the current training ship was in Philly on its first port visit of Summer Cruise 2023, a ceremonial keel laying was witnessed by students, ship’s crew, and alumni. They also planned shipyard and NSMV tours and hosted a reception. On October 18, the chapter, in partnership with the D.C. Chapter, hosted a golf tournament at the Navy League course to raise money for the DelValley Chapter Scholarship.

  • Casco Bay

    The Casco Bay Chapter hosted its maritime flea market at a one-day open house at Portland Yacht Services. A big scholarship fundraiser in the past, the chapter is considering additional fundraising options.

    Thank you to over one hundred alumni and friends who braved the wet elements at Hadlock Field July 21 to attend the pre-game barbeque and baseball game. The game was suspended in the ninth and fireworks were canceled. The Sea Dogs did win the next day.

Save the Date

Maine Mariners Hockey
Dec. 29 | Cross Arena, Portland, ME

Pickleball Tournament
Feb. 3| The Woodlands, Falmouth, ME

Maine Mariners Hockey
March 15 | Cross Arena, Portland, ME

Senior Banquet
March 20 | Cross Center, Bangor, ME

Night by the Bay
April 27 | Sheraton Sable Oaks, So. Portland, ME

Class of 1965 Summer Reunion
July 8-10 | Castine, ME

Class of 1984 SUmmer Reunion
July 15-17 | Castine, ME

Class of 1964 SUmmer Reunion
July 17-20 | Castine, ME

MMA Alumni Association Golf Classic
July 26 | Rocky Knoll Golf Course, Orrington, ME

For these event details and more: https://mainemaritime.edu/alumni/events/

Spotlight

It’s a Small World

You never know when or where you’ll run into an MMA alum. For Dr. Paul Wlodkowski, MMA Professor of Engineering, it was Commencement Day in the emergency room at Maine General Medical Center in Augusta.

Wlodkowski was on his way to campus when he got a text from his sister reporting that their father, John, had been hospitalized. She assured him things were okay. She told Wlodkowski to stay at commencement since he was part of the awards ceremony and to head to Augusta afterward.

Dr. Paul Wlodkowski and Dr. Stephen Clark

“My thoughts were all over the place,” recalled Wlodkowski. “I was worried about my dad but tried to stay in the moment.”

As faculty were lining up in their regalia, Wlodkowski saw Dr. Alaina (Hanlon) Adams ’03, a student from twenty years ago who is now an MMA trustee. “Seeing her reminded me how time has flown by. Her classmate, Stephen Clark ’04, came to mind, and I wished I knew where he ended up, though I recalled he went into medicine.”

As soon as commencement concluded, Wlodkowski headed to the hospital. Soon after he arrived in his father’s room, a surgeon walked in. He checked John over, asking a lot of questions. As Wlodkowski watched the doctor, he kept thinking he looked familiar. Then he saw his nametag: Stephen Clark, MD.

“Could it be,” he wondered, “my engineering student from twenty years ago?”

Wlodkowski asked, “Excuse me, Dr. Clark. Would you by chance have graduated from Maine Maritime Academy?” Dr. Clark looked at Wlodkowski and gave him a big bear hug. “Professor Wlodkowski!” he exclaimed. “When I saw ‘Wlodkowski,’ on the chart, I wondered if it could be the same family.” It was a happy reunion, made better by John not needing surgery.

For Wlodkowski, the serendipity of meeting his former engineering student on the same day he wondered about his whereabouts leaves him shaking his head. But he sees this engineer-turned-surgeon story as an example of what is special about MMA.

“We talk about our campus, our laboratories, the ship, not just as classrooms,” said Wlodkowski, “but as platforms that prepare students for absolutely anything. Dr. Clark is a perfect example. Students come here and they can go and do absolutely anything. This is a specialized place, but that doesn’t mean a graduate can’t become an orthopedic surgeon, or a professor of engineering, or an admiralty attorney, or anything else. That’s truly what makes this a wonderful institution place.”

  • Class of ’72 Annual Honor Scholarships
    Class of 72 reunion

    The Class of 1972 gather for their MMA 50th reunion.

    AT THE FIRST ZOOM MEETING after our reunion, we started to discuss what we could do to help students currently attending MMA. Our classmates remembered the challenges that they faced when we were at MMA. Many were quick to say that, without the scholarship support they received, they would not have been able to graduate. We started looking at establishing an annual scholarship fund. We presented some options to our classmates at our quarterly Zoom meeting. By December 2022 we had a draft to submit to Chris Haley for approval. At our April 2023 Zoom reunion meeting we had our eight bells ceremony recognizing classmates that had passed. One was Mike Findlan, who had attended our 50th reunion but passed away the following March. A classmate asked if we could honor Mike with one of our annual scholarships. Everyone agreed it was a great idea. We revised our annual scholarship name to the “Class of ’72 Annual Honor Scholarship.” Going forward, scholarships will be awarded in honor of classmates who have passed during each calendar year. The Class of ’72 Annual Honor Scholarship will collect donations from classmates during the calendar year, and award it in the first quarter of the next year. The MMA office of Financial Aid will attend the first quarter Zoom meeting and announce the students awarded Class of ’72 Honor Scholarships. The class will assemble an honor scholarship package for each student. This will include a message from the class, a profile or obituary of the honored classmate, remembrances of the honored classmate, and our scholarship award certificate. The Annual Honor Scholarship fund was over $6,800 at the end of July 2023. That amount will support five scholarships. We expect this amount to increase by the end of this tax year. Our classmates’ support with ideas and donations has made this program a success.

    —The Class of ’72

  • Conn. and R.I.

    John Gasper ’02 and the alumni of southern New England have met a few times over the course of the summer. “Thanks to everyone that came to the beer palooza (May) in Norwich! We had a couple new faces from the class of ’84 and ’20, too.” On August 19, alumni had executive suite seats to see the Hartford Yard Goats (Yankees AA) defeat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The game was followed by a fireworks display.

homecoming collage
Spotlight

Homecoming ’23

Pictures include Members of the Class of ’88 gather at the homecoming picnic and The Class of 1978 posed for a photo. Left to right: Steve Garland, Steven Beaulieu, Glen Brewer, Scott Porter, Randy Powers, Mike Marzolf, Steve Stilphen, Emilio Andoniades, George Lay, Doug Gilbert, Ed Gagnon, Tom Burrill, John Robinson, Steve Foster, Russ Hall, Mike Gagnon, Dick Eaton, Hunter Friend, Tim Higgins, Brian Bickford.

  • Eastern Maine Summer Solstice

    Seventy-five alumni and friends were in Bar Harbor for a beautiful Summer Solstice Sunset Cruise. Special thanks to the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company and Capt. Matt Ketchen ’01 for helping arrange the event.

  • On-Campus Summer Reunions

    The classes of 1958, 1965, 1968, and 1973 visited the MMA campus this summer for their class reunions. Each class wandered campus, reminisced, cruised the waters of Penobscot Bay, learned of campus programs, facility upgrades, and future plans, while conducting Eight Bells in remembrance of their classmates who have passed. Class of ’64 is scheduled for July 17–20, 2024, Class of ’65 for July 8–10, 2024, and Class of ’84 for July 15–17, 2024. Contact Alumni Relations if your class desires an on-campus summer reunion.

Spotlight

Your Gift to MMA Can Have Lasting Importance and Recognition

HAVE YOU EVER wanted to honor a favorite faculty member, a mentor, or a loved one? Have you ever thought about having a favorite spot on campus carry your name?

Now it’s easy to do just that. The Advancement Office has put together a list of naming opportunities throughout our Castine and Bucksport facilities. Donors who have done this will tell you it’s rewarding to give a lasting tribute to a person who means so much, while also helping fund campus improvements. Your visible generosity will inspire other alumni to consider their own named gift. These giving opportunities range from $750 to $5 million and be made outright or as a pledge payable over five years.

Your visible generosity will inspire other alumni to consider their own named gift.

Another opportunity is to name a position around campus. These can include coaches, faculty, regimental staff, ship’s crew, and others. For these endowed positions, donors make either a one-time gift or a pledge not to exceed five years and name the position. The gift is placed in MMA’s endowment and the Academy uses the earned interest to fund that position’s salary and benefits in perpetuity. Naming rights for endowed positions range from $1 million to $4 million. An endowed position is the highest academic award that MMA can confer, and lives on as long as the Academy endures. It is both an honor to be the named holder of the appointment and an enduring tribute to the donor who establishes it.

For more information on naming opportunities in Castine and Bucksport or endowing a position, please contact Christopher Haley, VP for Advancement, at 207-326-2232 or chris.haley@mma.edu.

  • PenBay (Maine)

    In June, the PenBay Chapter hosted a potluck dinner at the Sail, Power, and Steam Museum in Rockland. Lindsey Pinkham ’04 was delighted with the turnout, reporting a much larger attendance than usual. Chris Haley, MMA’s VP for Advancement, was on hand to give updates about campus activities, program changes, facility upgrades, new ship news, and also took questions.

  • Tidewater (VA.)

    A small number of MMA alumni took advantage of prime reserved seating at the world’s largest naval airshow at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va. There were acres of planes and vendors to roam, and many thousands of people were on hand to watch the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, among other performers.

  • Seacoast (N.H.)

    The Seacoast Chapter hosted a highly successful golf tournament in September that drew a maximum number of players and raised funds for their scholarships and sustained their fundraising activities. They will be hosting a holiday event in December and collect donations of toys for area disadvantaged youth.

then and now picture

Then and now, Ed Rosenberg (left) and Larry Brown (right).

spotlight

Class of ’72 Gives Back

Class of ’72 Annual endowed Scholarships

IN AUGUST OF 2020 we started the endowed scholarship effort. We contacted Chris Haley, MMA VP of Advancement, to start on the endowed scholarship agreement. To better understand the process, we looked at how other colleges and universities were structuring their agreements and how they were raising funds for their scholarships. We found an easy, tax-efficient way of making donations called Qualified Charitable Distributions. QCDs allow you to make direct transfers from your IRA to a charitable organization without taxes, as long as you are at least 70-1/2 years old. Since most of our classmates were over 70, or would be turning 70, this looked perfect. We discussed this donation method at a Zoom meeting, along with a draft of the endowed scholarship agreement, information on what a QCD is, and instructions on how to make a QCD. Our agreement was approved by eight of our classmates and we submitted that to the MMA Board for approval. We received our first donation in December 2020. The agreement allowed us five years to reach the endowed fund level of $25,000, but our goal was to reach that level by our reunion on Sept 17, 2022. By the time the reunion was held we had donations of over $41,000. We currently have over $48,000. We have had great support from our classmates with most classmates making multiple donations.

—Ed Rosenberg and Larry Brown

How to Make a Gift Using a Qualified Charitable Distribution

  • You do not receive a tax deduction for a QCD from a regular IRA. However, the transfer is not recognized as taxable income. Because a QCD reduces income and is not an itemized deduction, the gift benefits even those donors who do not itemize.
  • The withdrawal may not exceed $100,000 annually per individual for all such gifts. A married couple with separate IRAs may each transfer as much as $100,000 annually.
  • Contact your IRA administrator to request a QCD or call the MMA Advancement Office at 207-326-2232.
  • Homecoming Award Recipients

    MMA honored distinguished alumni athletes at ceremonies this Homecoming 2023 by welcoming them into the William J. Mottola Athletics Hall of Fame. Created in 2004, the Hall of Fame honors exceptional athletes, coaches, administrators, and friends in Mariner athletic history. The Hall of Fame ’23 inductees are: Ed Lynch ’71 (football), Ryan Reed ’96 (men’s soccer), Rosita Rivera ’02 (women’s cross country), Amy Young ’10 (volleyball), and the 2004–2005 women’s basketball team.

  • So. Calif. Lobster Feed

    Ralph Staples ’71 and MMA played host on July 22, along with family and friends of the Southern California Chapter as they celebrated their 43rd annual “Lobster Fest” picnic on Pacific Beach in San Diego at the ZLAC Rowing Club. Approximately fifty attendees enjoyed the event. In addition to MMA, there were alumni from Mass., SUNY, Cal., and King’s Point. The chapter team that made the picnic a real success included Peter Betti ’10, Michael Curtin ’04, Wade Mondoux ’11, Jeff Pollock ’15, Alex Waller ’15, Fred Jackson, Jason Johnson ’08 and Staples.

    Special guest was Jeff Hutchins, son of the late Carlton Hutchins, MMA class of ’43-2, who was a founding member of the SoCal Alumni Chapter. Jeff provided a birthday cake for all to enjoy in memory of his dad, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday.

    The chapter also conducted a raffle for a ship model of the USS Susquehanna that was hand-crafted by MMA alumnus Frank Tepedino ’58. Besides being a talented model maker, Frank is an accomplished lawyer, businessman, engineer, U.S. Navy officer, and member of the MMA Wall of Honor.

    “And yes, the live Maine lobsters flown in for the ‘Lobster Fest’ were delicious.”

MARINERS: Stay in Touch

Share what you’re doing with fellow alumni. Tell us about your life, your latest achievements. Photos welcome. Submit Alumni News or Class Notes Now.

Photos: (blue angels) Larry Zhou/adobe stock; (golf) StefanoT/adobe stock; (Megaphone) valdis torms/adobe stock; (lobster) Stephen Coburn/adobe stock