The Texas Maritime Academy at TAMUG -- in partnership with U.S. Maritime Administration -- hosts national Women on the Water Conference

November 7, 2010

The Texas Maritime Academy at Texas A&M University at Galveston, working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, hosted the 4th Annual Women on the Water Conference at TAMUG’s Mitchell Campus on Pelican Island Nov. 4 – 6.

The purpose of the staging of this national conference was to provide a forum where midshipmen and cadets representing the ever-increasing numbers of women enrolled at the nation’s seven maritime academies could network and interact with professional women who have risen to positions of leadership in the maritime industry.

Students from the academies eyeing the potential for successful maritime industry careers came for the conference’s excellent opportunities to discuss exciting jobs open to them -- as well as current trends and issues -- with influential women at top levels of today’s marine and maritime professions.

“We were delighted to host the 4th Annual WOW,” said TMA Assistant Superintendent Tammy Lobaugh. “Cadets from all of the state maritime academies and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy gathered in Galveston with a host of outstanding women professionals -- from all sectors of the maritime industry -- for the exchanges of knowledge and the sharing of experiences the conference presented.

“We assembled a program for the conference specifically designed to enrich the learning experiences of the students as they prepare for careers that will lead them to become the next wave of professional mariners,” Lobaugh said.

“In our efforts, we were able to draw upon outstanding representatives from all aspects of the industry,” she added.

Lobaugh also noted that because a number of the professional participants were “living legends” who have become “firsts” in their respective fields -- meeting them provided invaluable connections for the cadets “that reinforce the importance of always striving for excellence.

According to Women on the Water Conference Chair Dr. Donna Lang, TAMUG’s associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Educational Outreach, the event offered programs covering multiple levels of the marine and maritime industries. Attendees included representatives from maritime associations; ship owners and operators; seafarer and trade union representatives; maritime lawyers; and industry representatives.

“Overall, the WOW Conference presented excellent opportunities to build relationships with each other and with maritime industry colleagues to both student attendees and established professionals,” Lang said.

Guest speakers included: Rear Admiral Mary E. Landry, commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District and Rear Admiral Mark H. Buzby, commander of Military Sealift Command.

Landry is responsible for U.S. Coast Guard operations covering 26 states, more than 1,200 miles of coastline and 10,300 miles of inland waterways from Florida to Mexico and including the entire navigable lengths of the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Tennessee River systems.

Buzby represented the largest employer of civilian mariners. He oversees approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

Other notable attendees included:

 *  K. Denise Krepp, Chief Counsel for the United States Marine Administration.

 *  Capt. Deborah Dempsey, a 1976 graduate of the Maine Maritime Academy and the first woman to graduate from a U.S. maritime academy. She also is The first American woman to be licensed as a master mariner and to command a cargo ship on international voyages; the first woman to become a regular member of the Council of American Master Mariners; the only woman among nine ship captains to earn the U.S. Navy's Meritorious Public Service Award during the Persian Gulf War and the only woman Columbia River Bar Pilot.

 *  Captain Ann Sanborn, the first woman to serve as unlimited master of a training vessel -- notably the original Texas Maritime Academy training vessel -- the Texas Clipper. She is an associate professor and former assistant dean for Support Programs at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

 *  Jeanne M. Grasso, president of Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA).

WOW Conference sponsors included the Houston Pilots, American Maritime Officers, the Port of Galveston, Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA), Ocean Shipholdings, Inc., and The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command.

Programs of the Maritime Administration promote the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced United States merchant marine, sufficient to carry the Nation's domestic waterborne commerce and a substantial portion of its waterborne foreign commerce, and capable of service as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency. This includes ensuring sufficient mariners are available to meet both the economic and national security needs of the nation.

The Maritime Administration also seeks to ensure that the United States maintains adequate shipbuilding and repair services, efficient ports, effective intermodal water and land transportation systems, and reserve shipping capacity for use in time of national emergency.