Looking back and facing forward…
The past year was a significant one for the New Bedford Ocean Cluster. After laying the groundwork for several years, the NBOC took some giant leaps forward to become an active force in New Bedford’s maritime economy. As 2022 draws to a close and 2023 beckons, we’d like to reflect on where we’ve been and we’re going.
Soon after I started at the NBOC, I conducted a listening tour of a wide range of marine businesses and stakeholders to better understand the landscape. What I learned in those conversations contributed to the development of a one-year organizational work plan and three-year Offshore Wind Strategic Roadmap.
Our outreach and engagement will continue into 2023, as we work to assemble industry-led advisory committees to give voice and strategic direction to all our pillars – commercial fishing and processing, aquaculture, innovation and technology, and offshore wind. These valuable committees will ensure that the NBOC continues to develop itself in ways that will support the priorities and concerns of New Bedford’s marine business community, positions the organization and region for growth, and aligns itself with the values of a multifaceted maritime economy.
The NBOC thus made a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and through the establishment of our DEI Committee and solidifying DEI within our by-laws, we have outlined several important first steps to make sure the values of access and inclusion are woven into who we are as an organization.
We also launched a membership initiative in 2022, which we’ll look to ramp up in the coming year. A robust cluster starts with a diverse and insightful membership. NBOC member companies will be a part of a growing marine industry who share a passion for doing business in New Bedford and who wish to expand their visibility and success. Our goal is to keep the NBOC member network up to date on developments happening across marine industries locally and beyond; to offer regular events to share new innovations and provide an opportunity for business-to-business networking, and exposure for your company. And finally, through the connections we’re making at the national and international level, we’ll help to facilitate valuable connections to support the growth of your business.
Meanwhile, we continue to implement and enhance our Act Local program, which has at its core making connections between top tier offshore wind companies and local businesses who have services and products that can support the offshore wind industry. We are thankful to Vineyard Wind for their investment in seeding this important local program that we hope will grow to support other offshore wind projects here in the Commonwealth.
We also launched an Offshore Wind Wall of Achievement, a campaign to showcase and promote local companies that are already winning business in offshore wind. Local companies like Imtra, A.I.S. Observers, Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding and others will be highlighted widely to bring attention to their businesses and to inspire other companies to get involved. If you are working in OSW and want to be a part of our campaign, please let us know. We want to promote your success in the year ahead!
During 2023, the NBOC plans a significant build out of our website to include a local supply chain directory and an interactive platform to serve as a clearinghouse of information, to better connect buyers and sellers, and to support and facilitate marine business-to-business engagement.
This monthly newsletter is also part of the initiatives we undertook during 2022. Communicating with all of you on a regular basis is a core principle of our commitment to the greater New Bedford region.
Finally, we look ahead to 2023 with gratitude and excitement for the relationships and partnerships we are building with incredible industry associations and cluster organizations across the globe. We have learned, and will continue to learn, so much from our friends at the Iceland Ocean Cluster, Belgian Blue Cluster, Denmark Energy Cluster, and NOF and Energi Coast in the UK.
So, thanks for reading and enjoy the best of the holiday season with friends, family and coworkers – until we meet again in 2023!
Happy New Year from the New Bedford Ocean Cluster.
- Jennifer Downing, NBOC Executive Director
OFFSHORE WIND JOB FAIR: Please join the New Bedford Ocean Cluster, Vineyard Wind, and New Bedford Parks, Recreation & Beaches on Thursday, January 12, 2023 for an Offshore Wind Job Far at the Andrea McCoy Recreation Center, 181 Hillman Street, New Bedford, from 3-7:00 p.m. Learn about the extensive opportunities available in the wind industry, from office to offshore; 25 companies, ACTIVELY HIRING, will be in attendance, as well as training and educational organizations. Reserved a spot at the free event at this link.
WANT TO WORK IN OFFSHORE WIND? Review current openings associated with Vineyard Wind 1 at this link. Please note that project construction will be done by companies contracted by Vineyard Wind.
RECENT NEWS of #NBOC Interest
THE TWO CLUSTERS: The NBOC had a great morning hosting Gustavo Ferraz de Luna of the Energy Cluster Denmark here in New Bedford early in December. Gustavo had an opportunity to visit several of the city’s offshore wind port assets, including the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, New Bedford Foss Marine Terminal, North Terminal, and Shoreline Marine Terminal. We look forward to continuing to explore how our two clusters can collaborate to strengthen the blue economy. (Thank you to Tim Griffin, Andrew B. Saunders, Ceasar C. Duarte Jr., John Regan, and Michael Quinn for sharing their experiences during the port tour!)
STATE INVESTMENT: Four major Port of New Bedford projects are set to receive $80 million in funding from the state. City of New Bedford Mayor Jon MItchell commented, “New Bedford can compete for jobs and investment from offshore wind, fishing and other maritime industries if it has useful infrastructure ready for them.” Read all about the projects here.
STATE INVESTMENT Part II: The $80 million investment at the Port of New Bedford was part of a larger package announced by Governor Charlie Baker during a press conference held at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown. In total, the Baker administration on Tuesday, Dec. 20 announced $180 million in infrastructure funding for projects designed to support the state’s burgeoning offshore wind industry. Boston Globe story here.
TALKING TURBINES: Reporter Jeanette Barnes looks at exactly how Vineyard Wind will be built. “Towers are shipped in sections and assembled at the staging port — in Vineyard Wind’s case, New Bedford.” Read and listen here.
HOMECOMING: The historic Ernestina-Morrissey schooner returned to the Port of New Bedford last month. On Sat. Dec. 17 a homecoming celebration was held on State Pier, and you can view a photo slide show of the special event here.
COMMERCIAL FISHING: A new 10-year rebuilding plan for Gulf of Maine cod has a 70 percent probability of rebuilding the beleaguered stock by 2033, according to the New England Fishery Management Council’s latest changes to Northeast groundfish management. National Fisherman has the details here.
FUNDING PROPOSAL: Nine Northeast states have set out to develop a regional fund to compensate the fishing industry for impacts and economic losses caused by offshore wind development. After more than a year of discussion, they are now seeking feedback from both the wind and fishing industries. Full details here.
THE SURVEY SAYS: NOAA Fisheries and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) are announcing a joint strategy to address potential impacts of offshore wind energy development on NOAA Fisheries’ scientific surveys. Find out more here.