By Jonah Grinkewitz

Old Dominion University will host its Maritime Conference on April 12, bringing together faculty, students and industry members to network and discuss maritime efforts and opportunities in the Hampton Roads region and beyond.

The conference will take place from 2:30 to 6 p.m. in the Darden Education Building’s multipurpose room 1106 on Hampton Boulevard. The event is free and open to the public and attendees are asked to  RSVP by April 8. Building on ODU’s leadership and investment in maritime studies, the conference will focus on “The Future of the Maritime Industry: Workforce, Resiliency and Technology.”

“We are a part of an incredible maritime ecosystem here in Hampton Roads,” said Elspeth McMahon, vice president for maritime initiatives at ODU. “This conference will give students and faculty a chance to learn more about the maritime industry, allow students to connect with companies for internship and employment opportunities and provide a platform to highlight ODU’s maritime-related programming and research, including the new school of Supply Chain, Logistics and Maritime Operations.”

The conference will feature a keynote address at 3:30 p.m. from retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Ann C. Phillips, who is the administrator for the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.

Panel discussions on coastal resilience, offshore wind, autonomous technologies and maritime workforce opportunities will feature ODU faculty members and industry partners.

In addition, ODU students will display posters on their maritime-related research, and representatives from the Hampton High School Maritime Academy and Youth Sailing Virginia will share information about their programs.

“Involving the next generation in the maritime industry is imperative to grow and strengthen our maritime ecosystem,” McMahon said. “It is important to make them aware of the exciting and rewarding careers that are right here in our own backyard.”

A post-conference reception with refreshments and live entertainment will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Barry Art Museum for the opening of the exhibition “Message in a Bottle: Picturing Maritime Culture in Hampton Roads.”

 The conference is sponsored by ODU’s  Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR), the Coastal Virginia Adaptation and Resilience Consortium and Honor Builders.

Here is the full agenda for the conference:

  • 2:30 p.m. Registration; student posters and industry tables open.
  • 2:45 p.m. Opening remarks by Elspeth McMahon, AVP for Maritime Initiatives, followed by updates from ODU Faculty.
  • 3:30 p.m. Keynote: Rear Admiral Ann C. Phillips, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Administrator, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • 4 p.m. Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR) introduction by Carol Considine followed by Pump Station Resilience Study by Rob Martz, manager, hydraulic analysis, Hampton Roads Sanitation Disposal Commission.
  • 4:30 p.m. Presentation on “Observations and Products that Support Adaptive & Resilient Ports,” by W. Brad Kearse, deputy director, National Geodetic Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • 4:40 p.m. Presentation on “Maritime Workforce Opportunities and Challenges,” by Shawn Avery, president and CEO of Hampton Roads Workforce Council (HRWC).
  • 4:50 p.m. Presentation on “Increasing Ship and Shoreside Opportunities,” by Ira Breskin, senior lecturer, State University of New York Maritime College.
  • 5:00 p.m. Presentation on “Autonomous Shipping Technology: European Perspective,” by CAPT Pieter Maes, Researcher, Antwerp Maritime Academy.
  • 5:10 p.m. Presentation on “Offshore Wind Opportunities, Challenges, and Technology,” by Women in Offshore Wind.
  • 5:40 p.m. Presentation on “How to Succeed in the Maritime Industry,” by WISTA Hampton Roads.