In November, Marine Log held its second New and Next Generation (NNG) award ceremony during the annual FERRIES conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where we recognized two exemplary maritime employees for their outstanding contributions to the passenger vessel industry.
As an industry, the maritime world knows that it’s the people who determine the success of any marine enterprise, and with an aging leadership, it’s the new and next generation that will face the ever-changing challenges and regulations of the industry.
Each of the award winners was nominated by someone in the industry for their vision, leadership, dedication and significant contributions to the maritime trade.
We would like to take this time to introduce you to the winners as they outline their careers and answer some of the industry’s toughest questions, including the challenges we face, how to attract talented maritime professionals, what they have learned so far in their roles, and more.
Edward Schwarz, president of sales for ABB Marine & Ports in North America, leads the development of business strategy for hybrid and electric solutions for a variety of segments.
He graduated from the renowned United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), with a Bachelor of Science in marine engineering and shipyard management. He has more than 19 years of experience in many aspects of the maritime industry.
His experience includes project and program management, as well as the development of targeted sales and marketing strategies for new and existing applications. He is experienced in creating and implementing programs to decentralize service business creating global localized Centers of Competency around the world.
Schwarz also served in the U.S. Navy. As a lieutenant of the Navy, he received the Merchant Marine Expeditionary Medal for participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Marine Log (ML): Please tell our readers about your involvement and/or highlights in the maritime industry.
Ed Schwarz (ES): I have a tremendous amount of gratitude to be a member of the maritime industry. This industry has provided me with a world-class education from the USMMA followed by an extremely rewarding career, first sailing as a shipboard engineer and later working for global maritime propulsion companies like Voith and ZF.
Currently, I am extremely happy to be with ABB, where I’m responsible for new build project sales for the Americas. I have a passion to make this industry stronger by improving the maritime industry’s environmental impact and thereby securing its viability for many more generations.
A highlight of my career is being part of the new all-electric Maid of the Mist vessels. This is truly an American story of passion and commitment for the future.
Maid of the Mist is leading the way with first all-electric vessels built in the United States. It makes perfect sense for Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls to be a world leader with the implementation of this green electric technology, since Tesla and Westinghouse installed the first generators at Niagara Falls to create the first modern power station in 1891.
Now these new vessels will carry visitors from all over the world to the base of Niagara Falls, one of the world’s largest sources of clean hydroelectric power. Chris Glynn, owner of Maid of the Mist, is a shinning example for the rest of the industry to acknowledge.
Passenger Vessel Challenges
ML: What are some of the biggest challenges for the next and new generation in the ferry and passenger vessel industry, and how have you responded to them?
ES: The biggest challenge for the next and new generations members of the ferry passenger vessel industry is our effect on the environment. Compared to other modes of transportation, marine transportation has always been known to be more environmentally friendly, but things are shifting and we have a duty to do better. Because most ferries and passenger vessels operate in highly dense urban areas, the effect is dramatic.
As other urban forms of public transportation, such as trains and buses, shift to electric and alternative fuels, the fuels and engines used on our vessels are far behind the curve.
The U.S. EPA has documented that burning fossil fuels (including diesel) releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere and the buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases like methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are causing the Earth’s atmosphere to warm, resulting in changes to the climate that we are already starting to see.
Additionally, there is a direct link that pollution from engines in urban areas is increasing cases of asthma and cancer. This is a call for next and new generations to drive the introduction of new technologies to be implemented right away.
ML: How should the maritime industry be recruiting new and talented professionals?
ES: Technology is quickly changing all aspects of our lives, including the maritime industry. When I graduated from Kings Point in 2000, I spent the first few years sailing as a 3rd and 2nd assistant engineer on steam ships.
Nineteen years later, I spend much of my time learning and discussing automation and energy storage systems with lithium batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. In less than 20 years, the U.S. maritime industry has covered many generations of technology. This is not going to slow down; it will only speed up exponentially.
If the maritime industry does not change its training and recruiting methods, there will be a huge misalignment of available technology and the ability to support it. I am very impressed with those maritime organizations and schools that embrace new studies in electrical engineering, digital studies and automation programming but I believe it is incumbent on everyone in the industry to be open to continuous learning to meet the speed of change.
Are Changes Coming?
ML: What are some things you would like to see change in the maritime industry?
ES: At ABB, we believe that vessels will be electric, digital and connected as the industry moves towards new energy sources and autonomous ship operations. I believe that future-proof ships will be built on the foundation of electricity. The electrical backbone, integrated with automation and control systems, is already transforming the industry to truly collaborative and automated operations.
It is my passion to drive this transformation and equip the marine industry with electric, digital and connected solutions that maximize the full potential of vessels and enable safe, efficient and sustainable ship operations. As the maritime industry moves towards new energy sources and autonomous operations, new technologies are redefining the future, bringing new levels of reliability, efficiency and sustainability to vessel operations.
ML: What is the most valuable piece off knowledge you have learned from your experiences so far?
ES: During the British industrial revolution, an uprising began in 1811 when Nottinghamshire weavers attacked the new automated looms. They burned down mills in the name of a mythical character called Ludd. More than 200 years after the Luddites won the battle, they lost the war against progress of technology. With the speed of change in technology, it’s understandable that not everyone will be at the same comfort level when it comes to actually using it.
When you decide to invest in new technology to improve your operation and reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll want to ensure a smooth transition for all team members from the old way to the new. From what I learned when I entered the industry in 1995 until now is to be open to new ideas and technology.
There seems to be gravitation toward historic solutions and status quo, which will not help the U.S. ferry industry evolve and keep pace with the rest of the world. I look forward to pointing to U.S.-flag vessels as references for the rest of the world to take note. For too long, U.S. vessels have fallen behind the technology curve. This must change if we want to be proud of our legacy in this great industry. Let’s agree to leave the industry stronger for being part of it.