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Blog Get To Know Sea Machines’ New Advisory Board

January 26, 2022

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Sea Machines has announced a new strategic advisory board made up of internationally recognized industry leaders who will bring vast experience and valued guidance to the company. Sea Machines will rely on this board as it develops new products and establishes high-value partnerships that are firmly establishing the company as the leading developer of autonomous and advanced perception systems for workboats, ships and vessels.

This new advisory board is made up of the following innovative and respected leaders:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][dt_team_carousel order=”asc” posts_offset=”0″ img_border_radius=”0px” post_title_bottom_margin=”0px” soc_icon_border_width=”0px” arrow_bg_width=”36x” arrow_border_width=”0px” r_arrow_icon_paddings=”0px 0px 0px 0px” r_arrow_v_offset=”0px” l_arrow_icon_paddings=”0px 0px 0px 0px” l_arrow_v_offset=”0px” category=”189″][vc_empty_space][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]


Please provide an overview of your backgrounds.

Buzby: I began my career in a sea-going role for the USMMA. I have commercial roots and training. I went on to the U.S. Navy, where I rose to the ranks of captain and rear admiral. I retired as the administrator of MARAD in 2020.

Haines: I have a finance background in the shipping industry and was one of the first female CFOs in a publicly listed tanker company. I’ve since migrated to the dry-bulk space and I support several not-for-profit organizations.

Kurtulus: I have 15 years in Rolls-Royce, first on the service side of the business and since 2018 responsible for marine. Throughout my career, customer service and business development were major drivers and part of my passion. Since 2020, I have been driving proactively the marine ecosystem into more sustainable technologies using innovation, where possible, to move the industry towards a better future in shipping. In May 2021, Rolls-Royce brought all the industry together in a virtual platform, that included Sea Machines, in order to exchange on the future of the ecosystem with partners, designers, end customers, politicians and scientists.

Landry: I spent the first 30 years of my career as a marine safety professional in the U.S. Coast Guard, working with all facets of the maritime industry in matters related to safety, security, environmental compliance and response, including leadership roles during 9/11, Superstorm Sandy and the BP oil spill. I now work in corporate governance, including serving on the board of a cruise-ship company.

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How did you become affiliated with Sea Machines?

Buzby: Serving for MARAD, I entered into a 2019 project to demonstrate remotely controlled vessels for oil-spill response. Our industry had experienced fatalities in the past on these types of projects, so we wanted to demonstrate the technology’s capability in removing crew from toxic or harmful environments. I was very impressed with the tech.

Haines: I am involved in the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) organization and knew a member who was a recruiter and seeking leadership for a new advisory board at Sea Machines. I was recommended for it. At the time, I wasn’t aware of Sea Machines, but I became fascinated by it. It definitely has taken me outside of my comfort zone but I think what the company is doing is very important.

Kurtulus: Rolls-Royce signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Sea Machines in September to be the exclusive sales channel for the yachting market and an additional one for the commercial segment for Sea Machines products. Based on the connection, [CEO Michael G. Johnson] asked me to be part of the advisory board of the company.

Landry: A colleague from WISTA, who happens to be an expert in maritime shipping and recruitment reached out to me about an exciting maritime technology company.  She was hired by Sea Machines to assist in finding the right people for an advisory board, and thought I might be a good fit. I then interviewed with Michael Johnson, and got very interested in the technology and capabilities, and what it can bring to the maritime sector.

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Why did you choose to become a member of the advisory board? What potential do you see in the company?

Buzby: I chose to participate in this board because I have a long-standing interest in fostering and improving the maritime industry in ways that make it safer and more efficient for our seafarers and more able to serve our nation. It seemed like a logical continuation of my quest to make life at sea safer and more efficient. We now have the great opportunity to introduce new technologies that will fulfill these requirements. Sea Machines’ technology can take over jobs that are boring, dirty or dangerous and remove mariners in a way that makes them more effective, in a way that elevates them. Sea Machines is leading the way and I want to be a part of it.

Haines: I chose to be a member because it is exciting to be on the forefront of an industry that has been slow to change. We are at the cusp of it now and technology like Sea Machines’ is starting to be embraced. If I can help them initiate change, that’s a big plus. Being on the advisory board, I know I can make a difference. Everyone on this board brings different experience and I am happy to share mine.

Kurtulus: Because we are partnering up so strategically and long-term at Rolls-Royce, we also wanted to support Sea Machines’ entire organization to be successful. I totally believe in the product, the value and the sustainability of Sea Machines for the entire industry and future. I am happy if I can support the team on the journey.

Landry: I am very excited to see leading-edge capabilities that can bring a higher level of safety, efficiency and resilience to the maritime sector.  We need more cutting-edge technologies and innovation to meet the demands that are here now and ahead of us.  Just look at the criticality of the supply chain, the energy sector and various activities taking place in the maritime commons.

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Why is advancing our industry with modern technology important?

Buzby: There are wide-ranging potential applications for Sea Machines’ products that can impact our industry, both commercially and in the government space.  From safety to greatly improving efficiency of current ships and newbuilds, to gaining big savings through the reduction of fuel consumption. Technological advancement is really important as our country competes on the world stage. Our industry is one of the last to get on board with automated technology. We’ve stayed in our ways, but we must now bring it in where it makes sense.

Haines: As an industry, we must lower our carbon footprint, attract talent and make jobs better and safer for mariners. For these challenges we are facing, if we can meet them with technology, I will encourage that.

Kurtulus: Because the safety and sustainability of the marine industry is key to our future business model, we need to find a way to combine the targets for the environment with the profitability of businesses. Sea Machines will be a key to lower accidents, environmental pollution and the emission of CO2 in the long run. Technology is mandatory to add to the human experience and learn from that by adding AI.

Landry: Sea Machines is ready to add tremendous value and capabilities to fill a gap that exists in areas such as human factors, engineering, fuel efficiency, waterways management and safety.  We know we are woefully behind in our land-side infrastructure modernization in the United States and other parts of the world. I would proffer that we are also behind in waterways infrastructure to support safe, efficient and environmentally sound navigation and this comes at a cost. For a nominal investment, companies can leverage Sea Machines capabilities to improve safety, efficiency, profitability and resilience.

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What are the biggest priorities of our industry? Does advanced perception and autonomous technology play a role in any of these?

Buzby: I see the most important priorities of our industry being safety; efficiency, in terms of performing on-water missions better; and keeping our industry competitive.

Haines: As I mentioned above, it’s important for our industry to embrace challenges head on, which includes lowering our carbon imprint, attracting the best and brightest talent, and making our industry safer. Companies are looking to reduce fuel usage in the short term. Autonomous technologies can support this by providing the best routes based on weather. It also can help solve the crisis of the mariner shortage in our industry.

Kurtulus: It is a generational effort to move the marine industry into a more sustainable future based on technologies. Autonomous technology will play an important role in that based on data and perception technologies. This will add to propulsion and other automation solutions on board and increase the safety and operational efficiency in shipping.

Landry: The biggest priority for the maritime industry should be modernization and leveraging technologies, such as AI and machine learning, to optimize safety, fuel efficiency and facilitation of commerce.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]