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The maritime industry, like the rest of the nation, has many challenges ahead of it, one of the most important being education and training. Speaking to the MTD’s executive board in Orlando, Rear Admiral Wendi Carpenter stressed, “Creative and innovative approaches are needed for the future.”

Now president of the State University of New York Maritime College, Carpenter is no stranger to meeting challenges. She was one of the nation’s first female naval aviators.

“I believe it’s all about jobs and how we innovate for the future,” she said, noting that the maritime industry can be a source of good jobs, the kind that we need to keep America competitive.  Graduates from SUNY-Maritime can be founded in a variety of positions and industries.  They are, she noted, “Great leaders for a global industry.”

She is particularly concerned that regulations are unnecessarily increasing the cost of education and stifling the kind of innovative approaches that are needed if maritime and America as a whole are to continue to flourish. Even so, SUNY-Maritime and the industry are continuing to meet this challenge, as evidenced by the way that all segments of the business have worked together to adapt to new STCW standards.

Carpenter believes that the industry is being harmed by continuing problems in K-12 education.  Most worrisome is that “math and science are down.” These, of course, are the essential building blocks for a more productive and competitive future.     

She is a great advocate in securing the right kind of technology. She added the country shouldn’t be penny wise and pound foolish in recycling obsolete equipment when investing in our future can reap substantial returns.

Looking at everyone in the room, she issued a challenge: “Maybe some of you would like to consider whether or not you’d like to partner with us,” she asked.  

“I don’t need to have everyone on campus,” she stressed. Together, we can work together to improve maritime education, and, in the process, improve America’s competitiveness and the basic quality of life.