The NBOC is excited to expand its staff and welcome Carlos E. Avila (pictured above) as the organization’s new Business Development Manager. In his role, Carlos will support the organization’s business engagement goals as they relate to both cluster membership and attracting long-term investment to greater New Bedford’s marine economy across all four of the NBOC’s pillars.

  1. Can you tell us about your experience at Bristol Community College and Massachusetts Maritime Academy and how it has prepared you for your new role as the Business Development Manager for the New Bedford Ocean Cluster?

Carlos: My experiences at Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Bristol Community College have given me insights into establishing processes and pathways needed to meet the demands of industry in a manner that is easy to follow. This will be of great use to someone looking to seek training as a means of gaining entry into a new career such as Offshore Wind. I believe that our educational experiences should have vocational components in order to bring life to their curriculum by building their professional networks. 

2) What motivated you to join the New Bedford Ocean Cluster, and what do you hope to achieve in this new position?

Carlos: My motivation comes from the belief in the mission and values of the New Bedford Ocean Cluster but also from a desire to help our region receive national and international recognition for the future collaborative works within our blue economy. I truly believe New Bedford is poised to lead Offshore Wind efforts in our region as well as showing how this new industry can collaborate and learn from our established fisheries. 

3) How do you plan to leverage your expertise in maritime education and academia to drive the growth and development of the New Bedford Ocean Cluster?

Carlos:I feel that I have done a good job cultivating a strong professional network with global connections. Many of my former classmates and students are actively engaged in all facets of the maritime industry and will play a key role in reshaping the economic landscape within the New Bedford Ocean Cluster’s four pillars. My work in academia at Bristol has introduced me to the political realm which will be key to help gain support for sustained growth and development. Support from our state and federal delegations will be necessary to direct appropriate resources to increase capacity. 

4) As the Business Development Manager, what strategies do you have in mind to attract new businesses and investment to the New Bedford Ocean Cluster?

Carlos: This is the topic that I find myself thinking about the most and I’ll share some of the strategies that I will use to attract business and investment into New Bedford via the Cluster’s value proposition.

  • Market the cluster effectively: targeted industry efforts.
  • Build a robust network: review partners and assign pillar(s).
  • Provide attractive incentives: work with government partners.
  • Support business development services: assist with site selection and planning.
  • Engage with the local community: present potential career opportunities and refer to training opportunities in preparation.

5) Are there any specific industries or sectors within the ocean economy that you see as having significant potential for growth in New Bedford? How do you plan to tap into those opportunities?

Carlos: The industry with the potential for the greatest growth in New Bedford will be Offshore Wind due to it being a new industry establishing a greater presence in New Bedford. My work at Bristol Community College allowed me the opportunity to connect with all the developers in Massachusetts and learned what the workforce training needs would be and the evolving nature of the process. The NBOC is primed to provide a full spectrum of support to the OEMs and their various contractors. We will have the ability to provide referrals in New Bedford ranging from business support, site planning, employee support services, educational services and community engagement efforts. 

6) Collaboration and partnerships are crucial for success in the business world. How do you plan to foster collaboration between different stakeholders, such as academia, industry, and government, to drive innovation and economic development in the New Bedford Ocean Cluster?

Carlos: In order to foster collaboration between different stakeholders, such as academia, industry, and government, and drive innovation and economic development in the New Bedford Ocean Cluster, I would propose the following strategies:

  • Establish a platform for regular communication.
  • Identify common goals and priorities.
  • Encourage interdisciplinary projects.
  • Promote knowledge exchange and technology transfer.
  • Encourage educational and training programs.

7) In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges or obstacles that the New Bedford Ocean Cluster might face, and how do you plan to address them?

Carlos: From the outside, the largest obstacle I foresee is the age of the organization, but the leadership has decades of experience serving New Bedford and the SouthCoast region in various sectors. The best way to address and overcome those obstacles is to build on prior work that has been done and add a new layer to prior existing relationships to grow membership in the New Bedford Ocean Cluster. 

8) The New Bedford Ocean Cluster aims to promote sustainability and responsible use of ocean resources. How do you plan to incorporate these principles into the business development initiatives of the cluster?

Carlos: A key first step would be the establishment of sustainability guidelines. Develop clear and comprehensive sustainability guidelines that outline the principles and practices to be followed by businesses within the cluster. These guidelines should encompass environmental, social, and economic considerations, addressing issues such as resource conservation, waste management, social responsibility, and ethical business practices. The programs often need to be acculturated and presented through the K-12 system to see long-lasting effects. 

9) Networking and relationship-building are vital in business development. How do you plan to engage with local and regional organizations to create mutually beneficial partnerships and opportunities for the New Bedford Ocean Cluster?

Carlos: Networking is a passion that I ensure to dedicate time to. I don’t just take the time to learn names, my goal is to develop genuine relationships so that I may better serve and advise my partners to potential opportunities that may benefit their future growth goals, or partners looking to collaborate in new ventures. You can not get that by having surface level relationships, you do have to take the time to have a dedicated presence with substance. I’m thankful that the economy is back to a place where we can connect and network in in-person events where people get to have direct conversations and share ideas. I say all of that to say, I plan to integrate the human element into business to gain buy-in and support for the New Bedford Ocean Cluster’s efforts. 

10) Can you share some of your long-term goals and visions for the New Bedford Ocean Cluster? How do you plan to measure success and make a meaningful impact in the region’s ocean economy?

Carlos: Long-Term goals: to have over 70% participation and membership from area businesses within the NBOC’s four pillars. We will be documenting and connecting with all applicable businesses to share the vision of the NBOC and create value in this shared effort. I feel that we’ll have sufficient data by the end of Q2 in 2024 to gauge progress. This is a young organization with a committed team that will finally have the opportunity to conduct outreach and support its partners like never before. 

We will know if we’ve made a meaningful impact when New Bedford is seen as the destination for businesses looking to grow in the blue economy and our residents finally get the “win” that they’ve been promised over the years. We are in a good position where our community members are still optimistic and willing to do what it takes to prepare themselves and its my hope that the NBOC can lead the conversations connecting community leaders with industry partners.