Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 15, 2014
MMA trustees honor two long-standing employees
by Anne Berleant
Two Maine Maritime Academy employees ended decades of service as the academic year drew to a close.
John Barlow, an Orland resident professor of Marine Science, and Vice President for Academic Affairs, has retired after 44 years as a teacher and administrator at the academy.
“[Barlow] had a profound influence on the academy,” said Chairman of Trustees Robert J. Peacock III.
Barlow follows the departure of Vice President of Operations, Captain Jeff Loustaunau, who retired several weeks ago. Darrell Donahue, Director of Research and Development, has filled that position.
The recent retirements signal “the most significant change in the academy in years,” Peacock said.
Also retiring is Dr. Elaine Potoker, a two-time Fulbright winner and professor in the Loeb-Sullivan School of International Business and Logistics. Potoker has taught at MMA for 17 years.
Trustees voted to confer the honorary degree of emeritus professor on Potoker and emeritus dean on Barlow.
The board also noted departures by members of the MMA community of shorter tenure.
Graduating senior and Castine Fire and Rescue Lieutenant David Wilson wrote a retirement letter to the Town of Castine, from which Peacock read to trustees:
“I will hang up my helmet in the Castine Fire House for the last time. It has been incredible serving on the department…[which was] more like a family than a fire department.”
President Bill Brennan noted the “close relationship” between the town and academy. “Those relationships continue for a lifetime,” he said.
Peacock also thanked student trustee Ryan Armstrong for his service and outspokenness. Trustee Jean Mattimore noted his contributions to the Student Affairs Committee.
Serving as student trustee “is the most unique position” on the board, Armstrong said in a brief interview before the board convened. “Everyone is here for the students…[and] to have the reason sitting right in front of you—well, they listen.”
The “most important” part of serving as student trustee is “not connections…but to be able to help represent the student body and to let the board know what we think. I hope I did.”
Armstrong was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree and is USCG certified as a third assistance engineer of steam and diesel. He is looking for a position in sub-sea engineering or “everything underneath the oil rig,” he said. Armstrong also received a commission as a naval reserve officer.
ABS Center “on track”
Progress on construction of the ABS Center for Engineering, Science and Research was evident to the trustees, who looked out from their board room in the Alfonse Student Center onto the building site below.
“After all the work we’ve done in the past seven years, it’s pretty exciting to see it going up,” said Chairman Peacock.
Nickerson & O’Day of Brewer are contractors for the $14 million project.
Construction, which began last fall, is “on track,” said Vice President of Operations Darrell Donahue, despite currently being “a couple weeks behind.”
“We had a long winter,” he added.