Massachusetts Maritime Academy was the site of a special ribbon-cutting ceremony, signifying the opening of Clean Harbors’ new Emergency Operations Training Center on the college’s campus.
The ceremony took place on Thursday, September 9, and included state and local officials. Among those attending were Lieutenant Governor Karyn L. Polito, Mass Maritime president Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, and Clean Harbors Chief Executive Officer Alan S. McKim.
The center is a three-room facility built to conduct training and educational exercises. A wide variety of public safety, public health, and disaster scenarios can be simulated, with a focus on coastal environments.
The training center was funded through a 2019 $1 million grant from the Seaport Economic Council, $1 million from Mass Maritime, and a $1 million contribution to the academy’s need-based scholarship endowment from Clean Harbors.
Lt. Gov. Polito serves as chair of the Seaport Economic Council. Ms. Polito said the training center will be an asset to MMA cadets studying emergency management on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It will also allow coastal communities to test disaster plans, identify vulnerabilities, and work on ways to minimize the impacts of long-term damage, she said.
“The importance of planning cannot be overstated,” Ms. Polito said, “and this training facility comes with the tools and sophistication to take emergency management to the next level.”
Adm. McDonald said the center will provide cadets with crucial “real-world emergency situations and simulations while responding using the latest technologies.”
“The work we’ve done with local municipalities, FEMA and MEMA in running simulations and response activities is truly preparing our cadets for what they will face in their careers after graduation,” the admiral said.
State Representative David T. Vieira (R-Falmouth) said the operations center will offer a unique training environment that will “further prepare cadets to take critical leadership and management roles during difficult disaster and emergency incidents.”
State Senator Susan Moran (D-Falmouth) said the monetary investment to construct the new training center is an investment in maritime education that contributes to the blue economy and a cleaner environment.
“The Clean Harbors Emergency Operations Training Center allows students to develop skills in a realistic environment by integrating modern day technologies,” Ms. Moran said.
Mr. McKim noted the 30-year relationship that Clean Harbors has had with Mass Maritime. He said that many of the organization’s employees, including its executive leaders, graduated from the academy.
“The school does a terrific job of fostering a practical, hands-on approach to education,” Mr. McKim said. “The new [training center] will only further that legacy and strengthen our partnership with Mass Maritime in the years ahead.”