Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) honored its best and brightest at a ceremony held in early November. The college formally recognized alumni success and achievement, student academic success, and faculty achievement at its annual Celebration of Achievement on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2006.
Included among those recognized were three outstanding college alumni. All were inducted into the college’s Wall of Honor. Initiated in 1997, the college’s Wall of Honor was created to recognize alumni, who, through achievements in professional and civic life, have brought honor to themselves and to Maine Maritime Academy. Inductees are selected from nominations made at large by alumni and the public. Selection criteria prescribes that candidates be a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy and own, be a president, chief executive officer, or chair of the board of directors of a company; have been elected to the office of mayor, governor, U.S. House of Representatives or Senate; have achieved the rank of flag officer in a branch of the military; have achieved significant prominence or lifetime achievement in a chosen field. Advanced education, professional awards and honors, community service, and voluntary service to Maine Maritime Academy is also considered for selection. The annual selection process is carried out by a committee comprised of members of the Wall of Honor.
The 2006 Maine Maritime Academy Wall of Honor induction ceremony recognized the career accomplishments of Samuel J. Collins of Downington, Pa.: Capt. Deborah Doane Dempsey, of Bellingham, Wash.; and Capt. Stephen W. Dick
Samuel J. Collins, MMA Class of 1971 and the Regional Administrator of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for the Northeast Region (Region I), King of Prussia, Pa., was cited for his outstanding contributions to the management and oversight of nuclear energy. In his position at the NRC, he directs a staff of approximately 255 and a budget of $5.6 million in implementing the NRC’s regional programs at commercial power plants, decommissioning sites, and materials licenses. His responsibilities include inspection and enforcement activities at 26 operating and 7 decommissioning nuclear power plants in the northeastern United States. The Region’s oversight responsibilities also include inspection, licensing, and enforcement at 2,400 materials licensees located in 21 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands, as well as oversight of 14 Agreement State programs.
After graduating from Maine Maritime Academy as a licensed marine engineer, Collins was commissioned as a U.S. Navy Reserve Officer. He then joined Tenneco Corporation at Newport News Shipbuilding as a Navy Nuclear Program Engineer. Collins has held positions of increasing responsibility at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 1980. His positions within the NRC have ranged from Senior Resident Inspector at Yankee Rowe Station, to Deputy Regional Administrator for NRC Region IV in Arlington, Texas; to Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation; to Deputy Executive Director for Reactor Programs.
During his career, Collins has been recognized for exemplary professional service, receiving the Presidential Distinguished Executive Rank Award, the Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Meritorious Service Award. Collins has been a licensed S5W reactor shift test engineer and a U.S. Coast Guard licensed engineer for steam and diesel vessel of unlimited horsepower. He has also been a qualified boiling water reactor and pressurized water reactor NRC inspector, and a qualify incident investigation team leader.
Capt. Deborah Doane Dempsey, MMA Class of 1976 and a Colombia River Bar Pilot, was cited by the college for her distinguished seafaring career and for her pioneering role in the maritime industry as a professionally licensed woman merchant mariner. Dempsey graduated from Maine Maritime Academy as valedictorian of her class and as the first female graduate of any maritime or service academy in the United States. She began her career with Exxon Co. as a Third Mate. She later moved to Lykes Bros. S.S. Co. where she advanced to Master Mariner, becoming the first American woman to achieve the rank and to command a cargo ship on international voyages. She was the first woman to become a regular member of the Council of American Master Mariners. During the Persian Gulf War, she became the only woman among nine ship captains to earn the U.S. Navy’s Meritorious Public Service Award.
Dempsey gained further public and professional praise for her seafaring ability when she successfully completed a daring rescue of a drifting freighter threatening to crash onto North Carolina’s Frying Pan Shoals. As a result of the event, Dempsey earned the United Seaman’s Service AOTOS Honored Seamen Award, The Seamen’s Church Institute Lifesaving Award, and the American Merchant Marine Seamanship Trophy.
As a professional ship pilot on the treacherous Columbia River Bar, Dempsey is responsible for the safe passage of commercial vessels in the area. Dempsey has served as Pilot Commissioner for the Oregon Board of Maritime Pilots and is the Director of the Bellingham Bay Community Boating Center. She is the co-author of the book, “The Captain’s a Woman, Tales of a Merchant Mariner” and was featured in the PBS documentary, “Shipping Out: The Story of American Seafaring Women”.
In addition to her undergraduate degree from MMA, Dempsey holds a B.A. from the University of Vermont. She was also awarded a doctor of science, honoris causa, degree from Maine Maritime Academy in 1994.
Capt. Stephen W. Dick, MMA Class of 1971 and the Executive Vice President of Tidewater, Inc., was recognized for his significant professional contributions to the offshore marine services industry. As a career manager and senior executive for Tidewater, Inc., Dick has served in key positions, both domestically and internationally, contributing to the growth and success of the company.
Dick graduated from Maine Maritime Academy with
a Third Mate’s and received a Naval Reserve Commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. He has worked with Tidewater, Inc. since 1971, rising from Mate, to Master, to Port Captain, to Area Manager, arriving at his current post as Executive Vice President in 2002.
Dick’s distinguished career has spanned the globe, from New Orleans to Ecuador, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Cameroon, Scotland, Egypt, Brazil, and the Gulf of Mexico. In his posts, he has managed regional and international company fleets ranging from 7 vessels to more than 100. Dick was responsible for the coordination of repairs; vessel operations; and administrative oversight, including finances, contract negotiations, and marketing. He has served as Area operations Manager, based in Ravenna, Italy, overseeing all operations of a growing fleet between Gibraltar and the Suez Canal. Under his direction as Area Manager and Vice President, The fleet of Tidex International in Belem, Brazil, realized profitability and an expansion.
For more than 10 years, Dick served as Manager/Vice President of Tidewater, Inc. in Harvey, La. The division consisted of 64 offshore towing vessel and barges, with another 36 working internationally. In 1990, he was elected Corporate Vice President. He began serving as Senior Vice President in 1996, assuming responsibility for all activities of the offshore towing division serving the North Sea and West Africa. In this post he was responsible for more than 200 vessels and a workforce of more than 2,500 employees. Upon returning to corporate headquarters in 2002, he became Executive Vice President. His current executive oversight is substantial, including the North Sea, West Africa, The Caspian Sea, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, the Far East, U.S. domestic operations, new construction, engineering and technical services, and international marketing.
Dick was appointed by the U.S. Department of Transportation to the Towing and Safety Advisory Committee in 1986 and served as a member for 2 years. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Offshore Marine Services Association. He is a member of the American Bureau of Shipping, the Board of Trustees of the United Way, New Orleans, and the Board of Visitors of Maine Maritime Academy.
The 2006 inductees join 48 distinguished alumni honorees with a framed photograph and biographical sketch permanently displayed in the college’s Wall of Honor located
in the Kresge Room of the Harold Alfond Student Center. The display serves to pay tribute to those alumni inductees for their achievement, but also to allow their accomplishments to serve as inspiration to current students and fellow alumni to strive for excellence.