In business as in life, the one constant we can count on is change. Planning for change underpins success and unexpected changes can often lead to failure. The secret is to influence change with a clear eye toward the future.
Last month, a significant change occurred at the top of the Coast Guard. In a change of command ceremony in Washington, D.C., Adm. Thad Allen was relieved as Coast Guard commandant by Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. Papp became the Coast Guard’s 24th commandant and, like Allen, will serve a four-year term.
But why should mariners and workboat owners and operators be interested in who the Coast Guard’s top man is? The answer is simple. The commandant sets the tone and foments change that is so important to our livelihoods.
I have the utmost respect for Adm. Allen and the job he did in his four years as commandant. He was highly respectful of my industry, the passenger vessel industry, and worked tirelessly to ensure that he and the rest of the Coast Guard were likewise respected by mariners. He communicated well with vessel owners and operators.
Allen personally took the time to meet with workboat industry organizations such as the Passenger Vessel Association on numerous occasions. The result was a useful and productive dialogue. In addition, he dedicated himself to rebuilding the Coast Guard and ensuring that the resources and personnel were in place to get the job done. He recognized the need for more trained marine inspectors and created new billets to satisfy this need.
We shall miss Allen’s leadership, but we welcome Adm. Papp, who will usher in the next chapter of change for the Coast Guard. Papp is a highly experienced Coast Guard officer with broad experience, so I have high expectations for him and look forward to hearing about his vision for the future of the agency.
I am hopeful that he, too, will recognize the importance of “honoring the mariner” and will follow Allen’s lead by continuing to communicate regularly with the maritime industry. I also encourage Papp to engage the industry when planning for the change that will deliver a prosperous and successful future for both the Coast Guard and the marine industry.
With this type of change, progress will always follow.