Success story: Maritime credentials send alumni on careers worldwide
Almost three-quarters of the Earth’s surface is water, and in its 50 years, graduates of NMC’s Great Lakes Maritime Academy have been over just about all of it.
As the Academy formally celebrates its golden anniversary with a celebration this weekend, we look back at a graduate from each decade. Collectively, they represent the breadth and diversity of the maritime industry, from Great Lakes freighters to ocean tankers, from commercial shipping to U.S. military, aboard vessels or shoreside.
“There’s a lot to see in the industry. It’s worldly. It’s global,” said 1998 graduate Scott Powell. He spent 11 years sailing the Great Lakes on ore boats, and in 2009 began teaching at the California State Maritime Academy, one of GLMA’s six sister academies. There he was the navigator for eight training cruises, in which the Golden Bear sailed from Vallejo to places such as New Zealand and the Mediterranean Sea.
“That’s halfway across the world,” said Powell, who in 2018 moved back to teach at GLMA. “Now I’m back on the lakes again. I’ve now been around the world now a lot on a ship.”
1970s: Mike Surgalski, 1979: Surgalski has come home, too. He’s currently the captain of GLMA’s training ship, the T/S State of Michigan, and was instrumental in its acquisition from the U.S. Coast Guard. The vessel arrived in Traverse City in 2002 and since then has provided about 60 days of required sea time to not only GLMA cadets, but those from other academies. Most recently the ship has offered internship opportunities to NMC culinary students, who are finding a lucrative niche working as cooks aboard ships.
1980s: Margo Marks, 1983: Former president of the Beaver Island Ferry Co. She joined the company that provides transportation to the island from Charlevoix in 2001. During her tenure, Marks also served her industry as the president of the Passenger Vessel Association, a national association representing owners and operators of dinner cruise vessels, sightseeing and excursion vessels, car and passenger ferries and other vessels that carry more than 200 million passengers per year. Prior to the ferry company, Marks worked as Elk Rapids Harbormaster. Her husband Todd also graduated in 1983 and worked on tankers on the West Coast.
1990s: Scott Powell, 1998, GLMA navigation instructor: Powell’s advice to prospective cadets is “to get as many different experiences as you can,” and the Flint-area native has certainly done so himself. In addition to his years sailing the Great Lakes and teaching at both Cal Maritime and GLMA, Powell is also an author. He contributed to six chapters of the 2017 edition of The American Practical Navigator. The Bible of the maritime industry, the text is kept on every military vessel, commercial vessels and in every maritime school. Powell’s specialty is Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), which is “slowly replacing paper charts” aboard ship, he said. Read more »
Record Giving Tuesday results
Thank you to 78 donors who gave $28,780 to NMC on Giving Tuesday! Donors supported many different funds including The Fund for NMC, NMC Scholarship Fund, Dennos Museum Center, International Affairs Forum and the Student Food Pantry.
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