News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, November 15, 2012
MMA trustees quarterly meeting
Brennan announces changes in executive structure at MMA
Douglas Wellington of Castine named new board trustee

by Anne Berleant

The Maine Maritime Academy Board of Trustees held its quarterly meeting on November 9 on campus, welcoming new trustee Douglas Wellington, a Castine resident and associate professor in Husson University’s School of Business and Management. (See related story below.)

“He is part of our solution as we move forward,” said Treasurer John “Dugan” Shipway, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Chairman Robert J. Peacock and Vice-Chairman Robert Somerville, who joined the meeting via teleconferencing.

In addition to Wellington’s appointment, trustee Anne Marie Samway was re-appointed at the same September 5 confirmation hearing.

President Bill Brennan began his report by outlining executive staff changes at the academy since the board met in August.

Former executive director of Planning, Compliance and Administration Operations James Soucie has been named chief financial officer; Jeff Loustaunau has moved from vice president for Enrollment to vice president for Operations; and Adam Potter is the new director of Facilities. Previously, Potter was executive director of facilities for the College of Maryland. A search is under way for a new director of Human Resources and vice president for Enrollment, which Soucie’s and Loustaunau’s appointments left vacant, respectively.

In the past year, the academy has restructured some administrative posts, creating new director positions in the public affairs and facilities departments and searching widely to fill those positions.

In addition, MMA’s executive committee has been eliminated, with a new academy council that will report to the CFO, vice presidents and president in “a new decision coordination process,” said Brennan, although he did not elaborate on the new reporting structure.

Brennan also noted the planned expansion of a mentoring program between academy and Adams School students to elementary schools in Penobscot and Brooksville.

Fundraising update

Two large sums of money have been awarded to the academy this fall. The first is a $500,000 grant for research in hydrokinetic energy awarded by the Maine Technology Institute.

The second is a $500,000 donation by Strategic Maintenance Solutions, Inc. of Gorham, payable over a five-year period, to use toward the ABS Center for Applied Science and Engineering.

To date, $5 million have been raised toward the $14 million cost of the building, reported Vice President for Advancement Ellie Willmann, including a $1 million donation by ABS Engineering Corporation for the new building, with the academy receiving the final $300,000 installment this fiscal year. The total amount of donations to the annual fund equals $482,000, Willman said.

The board unanimously passed a motion to move the $6 million of “stranded” funds withdrawn from the Maine State Public Employees Retirement System in May to a higher interest-bearing account. (Stranded funds are matching retirement benefits for employees who left employment before becoming vested in MPERS.)

Bid documents are 90 percent complete for the construction project, Shipway said, based on a report by the Facilities and Property Committee.

When construction on the ABS building begins has not been decided, but “it will not begin early next year,” Shipway said after the meeting.

“The big news is there’s no news,” said Michael Whetston, director of Public Affairs, in a later comment.