Join us for the Blue & You Speaker Series!
“The Blue & You” summer speaker series will take place at Innovate Newport on Thursday mornings throughout the summer. (8:30-10 a.m.) Each session will include a presentation, Q & A, and networking. They are free and open to the public. Register through Eventbrite.
On August 3rd, the topic is Offshore Wind; A Local Opportunity
Offshore wind construction in New England has begun! This year project construction starts with many projects expected to follow along the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf of Mexico over the coming decade. Join us at Innovate Newport with industry experts to discuss an in-depth look at projects, technology, and industry participation opportunities.
Panelists: (names, titles, organizations, brief bios)
Dustin Varnell; U.S. country Manager; Osbit / Advisor IMCA U.S. Renewables
Dustin Varnell is the U.S. country manager for Osbit, a leading engineering firm that provides bespoke equipment for wind equipment and offshore energy.
Dustin brings marine operations expertise above and below the surface and two decades of experience in vessel operations and offshore energy. He is passionate about renewable energy and using advanced technology to improve marine operations and safety. He spent fifteen years at sea as a ship's officer, working domestically and internationally.
Dustin holds a B.S. in Marine Transportation and an M.S. in Facilities Planning and Management from Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He is a U.S. Coast Guard licensed master mariner with a dynamic positioning certification from the Nautical Institute. He is an advisor International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) on U.S. renewables and leads the Atlantic Focal Group developing industry guidance and best practices for the emerging U.S. offshore wind market. He also leads the emerging technology committee for the Ship Operations Consortium (SOCP).
Will Kenyon; Head of QHSE, Development & EPC - Offshore, Americas
Will started his career with supporting QHSE on Ship docking tugs and oil/bulk barges . Transitioned offshore to ultra-deepwater O&G vessel construction and drilling. Once he was married and with the first child on the way he came shore side as an industrial safety specialist in nuclear generation O&M. Before she came to Orsted, she spent 3 years cleaning PCBs out of the New Bedford harbor and Acushnet river. The last 4 years at Orsted he has operated as a QHSE advisor and up to the Head of QHSE for Development and Construction projects in the US.
Jennifer Downing; Executive Director; New Bedford Ocean Cluster
Jennifer Downing is the Executive Director of the New Bedford Ocean Cluster. She brings to her role over 20 years of nonprofit experience in the areas of local economic development and environmental sustainability. Previously held positions include vice president of engagement at the Buzzards Bay Coalition, executive director of Leadership Southcoast, and program officer & operations manager at the Garfield Foundation.
In 2020, Downing was honored as a recipient of the John S. Brayton Community Service Award by the One South Coast Chamber of Commerce. She is currently the Chair of the Acushnet School Committee and has served on numerous nonprofit boards and committees, such as the United Way of Greater New Bedford Board of Directors, the Mayor’s New Bedford Regeneration Committee, and the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts’ Building Diverse Boards and Commissions Working Group. New England Business Bulletin selected Jennifer as one of their 2011 Top Young Professionals Under 40.
Jennifer holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City and an MA in Leadership, Public Policy and Social Issues from Union Institute & University.
Alex Babbin; Operations Manager; WindServe Marine, LLC
Alex is a graduate of Massachusetts Maritime Academy, a certified Dynamic Positioning Officer, and Master Mariner. Alex has extensive construction experience in the offshore oil/gas industry and towing industry. Alex acts as Operating Manager for Windserve Marine, having previously operated as Mate and Master onboard Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessels (AHTSs), Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs), and towing tugs. Alex has daily on site engagement in vessel activities.
ABOUT The Blue & You Summer Speaker Series:
Rhode Island has always had a strong connection to the ocean and the industries surrounding it like tourism & recreation, marine trades, and fisheries. For a third year in a row, The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce will offer a Summer Speaker Series called “The Blue & You: Understanding Our Blue Economy.”
The Blue & You Series is designed to provide information that will help citizens understand what the blue economy is and how it impacts them. From real people who make their living on the water, to creative problem solving around complex issues, the Blue & You sessions will inform and inspire.
The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce is grateful to REGENT Craft Inc, Anduril Industries, and Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Company for sponsoring the 11-session Speaker Series, and to Grow Blue and Clean Ocean Access for supporting the series.
Start your day off with coffee and conversation around interesting topics that impact all of us.