Industry Lectures

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By George Bolin

Brown Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of Brown and Root Inc., was established in 1941 at the junction of Greens and Buffalo Bayous by Herman and George R. Brown. L.T. Bolin served as Vice-President and General Manager, and his wife and young son, George Bolin participated in many of the 359 ship christenings honoring family members of veterans killed in the war. George will share personal memories along with the history of the company.

George R. Bolin is the son of Brown & Root, Inc.’s Senior Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer, L.T. Bolin. He is also a native Houstonian, and former Chairman of the Texas Real Estate Commission, and Vice Chairman of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission.

With Todd Stewart and Rachel de Cordova

Rachel de Cordova and Todd Stewart discuss the maritime industry and their roles as a maritime attorney

With Scott Birtle and Maria Burns

Scott Birtle and Maria Burns discuss maritime transportation and what is like being a ship broker in the maritime industry, and how their experiences and past jobs have gotten them to where they are today in the maritime industry.

With Shanna Castanie and Amy Arrowood

Shanna Castanie and Amy Arrowood discuss human resources and marine logistics in the maritime industry, and how their previous maritime jobs and experiences have gotten them to where they are today in the maritime industry.

With Steve Nelson and Jason Tieman

Steve Nelson & Jason Tieman discuss what is like in the maritime industry to be a Houston Pilot and Director of Maritime Operations at PortVision, and how their previous maritime jobs and experiences have gotten them to where they are today in the maritime industry.Shanna Castanie and Amy Arrowood discuss human resources and marine logistics in the maritime industry, and how their previous maritime jobs and experiences have gotten them to where they are today in the maritime industry.

With Robb Erikson

The oil and gas industry, over the past 25 years, has moved from shallow-water exploration and production of oil to ever greater depths. Each advance requires new designs to explore and produce hydrocarbon from deep beneath the ocean floor. The marine industry rose to the challenge of lifting, transporting, and delivering the diverse structures from shore-side construction facilities to on-location stations several hundred miles offshore in deep ocean environments. The self-propelled Float On / Float Off “Flo / Flo” or “heavy lift” vessels owned and operated by the Dockwise division of Boskalis are unique vessels that employ a watertight main hull and deck. The vessel can submerge to allow cargo to float over the main deck and be lifted free of the ocean surface as the heavy lift vessel is deballasted. Attend this presentation and enjoy an educational and impressive view of this seldom witnessed vessel type and its achievements.

Robb Erickson is Vice President of Sales Heavy Marine Transport within the Offshore Energy Division at Boskalis. In 2013, Dockwise became part of the Boskalis family, one of the largest Dredging and Marine experts in the world. Erikson has been with the company for 23 years. He has been instrumental in Dockwise’s constant effort to push the envelope of possibilities in the heavy marine transport business.

By Paul Mazzarulli

The presentation will discuss the parallel developments in the commercial oil industry and related chartering models. It begins with the colonization of producer nations (mainly by the British and Dutch) to Independence movements in the Middle East, Africa, and South America. It then follows the corresponding change in oil trading from a strictly term-driven process to a spot market emerging in the early 1970’s to the commoditization of oil in the following decade and beyond. The shipping industry has evolved from a pure supply chain function with major oil company owned tonnage to a primarily time-charter market (thanks to the emergence of Greek and Norwegian independent owners after World War II). It then continued to a spot-driven market and is now back to a contract driven market (thanks to indices such as the FFA market and The Baltic Exchange).

Paul Mazzarulli is 50 years old and is proud to be celebrating his 48th year in the oil and tanker industries. His father, Pat Mazzarulli, founded one of the world’s first independent, integrated energy brokerage firms and Paul has had a front row seat to the evolution and development of the spot market, cargo trading, and the launch of energy futures. His formal career began in the early 1990s as a spot tanker broker, and since then, Paul has been at the forefront of developments across the commodity sector, including deregulation of electricity markets, the emergence of freight derivatives trading, and biofuels and alternative energy. He is currently the manager of the U.S. and Americas regions for The Baltic Exchange.

By Kim Todt

Governments have had a conflicting and complicated relationship with piracy through the centuries. When pirates attacked a rival nation’s merchant or naval fleets, governments turned a blind eye. Diminution of an enemy state’s commerce or navy could only be a positive affair, increased trade opportunities, markets for stolen goods, and a militarily weakened adversary. Yet, when pirates gazed away from enemy states and directed their attentions to the commerce or navy of their own nation, governments cast pirates as “enemies of all mankind” and engaged in naval and legal anti-piracy campaigns. Join Dr. Kim Todt and Dr. Elizabeth Nyman, from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, as they explore government responses to piracy from the Golden Age through today’s arresting headlines.

By Michael Morris

Port Houston is a 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities. With over 200 million tons of product transported annually, it has grown to be one of the world’s busiest ports. The Houston Ship Channel allows ocean-going vessels to travel between the Port and the Gulf of Mexico. Even though the waters are periodically widened, the cozy channel can become a standstill without skillful pilots. Learn from a former Houston Ship Channel pilot and Exxon Mobil tanker captain how thousands of boats navigate these narrow waters every year.

Captain Michael A. Morris is a retired member and past president of the Houston Pilots. He has been a licensed pilot on the Houston Ship Channel since 1995 and previously worked for Exxon Mobil for 20 years. Captain Morris is a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy and is a double recipient of the institution’s Outstanding Professional Achievement Award. He has served on many boards and councils in the area including the Houston East End Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Houston Port Bureau, and the Houston Maritime Museum. He currently teaches at Lone Star College.

By Marks Hinton

How do street names tell the history of a city? After whom is Brady’s Landing and Barbour’s Cut named? Why was German Street changed to Canal and from where did the name Pasadena come? And why were elephants used to construct Spencer Highway? Houston historian Marks Hinton will share the history of the Houston Ship Channel and Port of Houston by exploring the history of street and location names. In this talk, Hinton will discuss our leaders and heroes, share myths and legends, and describe the humor and tragedies that are part of Houston’s history.

By Lindsay Malen, Titan Salvage

In the following presentation TITAN Salvage’s Director of Business Development, Lindsay Malen, will focus on the technical challenges of wreck removal and the intersection with protection of the environment in the case of the COSTA CONCORDIA. The COSTA CONCORDIA is considered to be the largest most complicated wreck removal in history. We will look at the increased engineering feats that were required to be performed for this mega wreck removal in order to limit environmental damage. We will look at each phase of the COSTA CONCORDIA wreck removal project, parbuckle, refloat and the tow to Genoa and how TITAN Salvage and partner Micoperi removed her in one piece.

By Andrea Hance

The Texas shrimping industry is one of the most regulated, complex, dangerous, and misconstrued industries in the world. It is a fascinating story of pure resilience, hard work, and the sheer will of families who are determined to carry on a Texas tradition. Join us on September 20 to hear Andrea Hance, Executive Director of the Texas Shrimp Association, speak about this important industry and the issues it encounters, from environmental topics to related laws and safety regulations.

Andrea Hance is the Executive Director of Texas Shrimp Association, a non-profit organization formed in 1950 whose primary goal is to protect and grow the Texas Gulf shrimp industry. The organization not only promotes Gulf shrimp, but deals with a broad array of issues related to this industry, including crew safety, environmental topics, gear enhancement, crew training, labeling laws, and import issues.

By Judish Ann Saks

The Bicentennial Project of the Port of Houston by artist Judith-Ann Saks depicts the amazing history of a determined little inland town that wanted to be a port. From a meandering bayou to a first class port, Houston has achieved remarkable accomplishments – a port that is first in the United States in foreign waterborne tonnage, first in US imports and exports, and second in US total tonnage. What an unlikely, but fascinating story, for a overgrown winding bayou on a prairie fifty-two miles inland. Many people with foresight and determination worked to make this possible. The paintings are rich in historic detail and depict the remarkable history of what determined great leaders can do against many odds to make a port, which in turn created a city now fourth largest in the United States.

By John Stiff

The Ups and Downs of Jack-Ups will present some of the history of the jack-up rig, from the early moveable construction barge in the late 19th century, through their early days in the offshore drilling industry to their current place as the prime method for drilling wells in shallow water depths (up to about 500 feet). One jack-up, operated offshore India, became such a national emblem that its image was used on currency and postage stamps. While the talk is primarily the history and different types of jack-ups, it will touch on how the jack-up resists the wind, wave, and current loads that imposed during jacked-up operations – and occasionally fail.

John Stiff has worked in the offshore industry for over 35 years and spent much of that time analyzing jack-ups during their many phases of operation: in-place jacked up; under tow; during dry transportation on barges or self-propelled ships; and salvage when they have collapsed.
In addition to analysis, he has been a marine warranty surveyor on many rig moves all over the world. This field experience has given him an understanding as to what can go wrong during marine operations, so as he has aged, he has managed to transition from actual engineering calculations (way too complicated now) to the softer side of engineering, like risk analysis.


Women in the maritime industry often struggle with the challenges arising from a career in shipping. Founded in 1974, the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) is a global organization that aims to alleviate those struggles by connecting female executives and decision makers from around the world. The organization serves as a connector for its network of more than 3,000 female professionals from all sectors of the maritime industry. Join a distinguished all-female panel of WISTA members who will share their diverse backgrounds and personal career experiences in the maritime industry.

Panel Members

Tricia Clark is an Emergency Response Advisor for Aramco Services Company and manages maritime operational risks and business resilience.

Joy Hall is the Marine Training Director for Conoco Phillips? Polar Tankers and is responsible for the development, implementation, and compliance of a comprehensive marine training program from 350 employees.

Captain Sherri Hickman is a Pilot for the Houston Pilot’s Association and expertly navigates vessels through the Houston Ship Channel.

Samina Sadaf Mahmood serves as the Director of Communications for Vessel Services group of O’Brien’s Response Management and manages marketing, communications and business development matters.

Erin Bertram is M.E.B.A.’s Gulf Coast Vice President and leads operations at the company’s Houston Union hall.

Captain Lindsay Price is a Captain at G&H Towing Company and focuses on crew safety, cargo security, vessel functionality, and exceptional maneuvering and boat handling skills.

Check out our Historical Lectures too!