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Marine industry internship program helps Coast Guard stay in tune with industry

Written by Lt. Cmdr. John Downing, Office of Waterways Management, Policies and Activities Division

An adaptive and mission ready workforce is critical in today’s dynamic and increasingly complex Marine Transportation System. To ensure its ability to safeguard and facilitate lawful trade on the MTS, the Coast Guard and maritime industry organizations concluded the 71st round of Marine Industry Training Program (MIT) internships in February 2020.

The MIT, first launched in 1948, is an executive-level training program that allows select Coast Guard members the opportunity to participate in high-level internships with maritime industry organizations and associations. Selectees choose their internship focus from five sub-groups:

The MIT Program gives participants the chance to step outside of their roles in the Coast Guard and shadow industry or inter-agency partners. Industry trainees typically spend between six months to a year immersed in their internship and work directly with public and private sector stakeholders to improve the Coast Guard’s ability to stay in step with the needs of industry.

Rear Adm. Richard Timme, assistant commandant for prevention policy, and Mr. Mike Emerson, director of Marine Transportation Systems, welcomed the most recent group of marine industry trainees to Coast Guard Headquarters Feb. 4, 2020, to give capstone presentations on the results of their internships and highlight the value they bring to maritime industry and the Coast Guard.

“There must be a deliberate and focused investment in industry training and collaboration in emerging fields such as automation, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and cybersecurity,” said Timme. “The Marine Industry Training program encourages innovation, cultivates divergent viewpoints, and fosters unconventional ideas and solutions that will benefit the entire Marine Transportation System. We extend our thanks to the industry participants who opened their doors to our Coast Guard interns.”

A summary of each capstone follows.

Lt. Kelley Edwards, Port Safety and Security Industry Training

Edwards completed an internship with the Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS), which is located at DOT/Maritime Administration. Edwards was part of the CMTS Resilience Integrated Action Team, which analyzed the resiliency of the MTS following the 2017 hurricane season. She also spent time with the National Institute of Standards & Technology – Cybersecurity Applied Cybersecurity Division, New Jersey Cybersecurity Communications & Integration Cell, Maryland Port Administration – Office of Security, and American Petroleum Institute where she focused on maritime facility cyber risk assessments.

Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Parker, Investigations Industry Training

Parker interned with the National Transportation Safety Board and with Seamen’s Church Institute to learn more about SCI’s mission to train towing vessel operators who operate throughout the Western Rivers. Parker identified how crucial the Coast Guard interaction with industry truly is, noting how many industry partners have found it difficult to obtain Coast Guard information. His work informed enhancement of Coast Guard investigation practices as well as streamlining of information distribution. 

Lt. Jen Sheehy, Waterways Management Industry Training

Sheehy presented on her internship with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Massachusetts Port Authority where she focused on personnel and mission readiness during storm surges as well as collaboration among industry partners for ongoing projects throughout New England. She also had an active role in the Business Network for Offshore Wind International Planning Forum where she influenced the latest guidance in offshore renewable energy and marine planning to inform both the public as well as regulatory authorities. 

Petty Officer 1st Class Nolan Ammons, Waterways Management Industry Training

Ammons, a marine science technician, spent his internship with 10 different port partners including Sprague Oil Terminal, Maine State Ferry Service, New Hampshire Port Authority, Quoddy Pilots, and others to gain a broader perspective and awareness of the expansiveness of the Marine Transportation System throughout New England. 

Chief Petty Officer Jae Ramirez, Waterways Management Industry Training

Ramirez, also a marine science technician, interned with Autonomous Marine Systems, a manufacturer and operator of autonomous vessels in Boston, as well as 28 other maritime entities. Her work is informing future policy being implemented in port modernization practices throughout the United States. 

Lt. Cmdr. Josh Williams, Waterways Management Industry Training

Williams’s internship with Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division led to the discovery of communication gaps between the Coast Guard and industry, for which he created a solution to remedy these shortcomings and further strengthen the MTS.

Lt. Krista Welch, Lt. Richard Quintana, and Lt. Amy Gayman, Merchant Marine Industry Training

Welch’s, Quintana’s and Gayman’s internships with American Bureau of Shipping, Matson Navigation, Disney Cruise Lines and others, focused on regulatory challenges industry faces as they modernize their business operations to incorporate innovations, such as the use of liquid natural gas as fuel. Lt. Ben Aaronson, Merchant Marine Industry Training program manager, presented the capstone on behalf of the trainees.

For information on hosting a Coast Guard intern, please contact the following program managers:

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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