News from Alumni President Jon Olney


Last February 14 Engine Cadets sat for their USCG Exams.  12 Cadets passed all modules, and 2 Cadets failed just one module the first time.

13 Deck Cadets sat for their exams, with 11 passing all modules and 2 failing just one module each.  Of those 13 who tested 11 had successfully completed their Great Lakes Pilotage exams.  All those who wrote their license exams have passed all modules.


GLMA Faculty

Long-time GLMA Instructors Bob Mason (Deck) and Mike Hochscheidt (Engine) both retired at the end of the academic year in May.  Their service undoubtedly had an impact on many Cadets, since their service to GLMA started in the early 1980’s. Both of them have been awarded the Merchant Marine Medal for Outstanding Achievement. All the best to Bob and Mike as they lay out a new course for their retirement.

Karl Schroeder has joined the full time faculty as an Engine Instructor to replace Hochscheidt.  Karl is a GLMA alumnus.

Captain John Biolchini has been hired to replace Bob Mason as a full time faculty member and Department Head.  John held the position of Manager of Continuing Education at GLMA.  John is also a GLMA alum, who retired as a Captain from the Oglebay Norton fleet before becoming an Adjunct Instructor at the Academy.

Cary Godwin has been hired to take over John’s duties as the Manager of Continuing Education.  He started his position in July, having retired from the USCG.

Captain Joe McGuiness resigned his position of the Captain of the T/S State of Michigan to take another position.  Captain Mike Surgalski left his position as faculty member and Department Head to become the new Master on the training ship.

GLMA Alumnus Scott Powell has been hired as full time faculty and becomes the second full time Deck Instructor.  Scott had been an instructor for the past nine years at the California Maritime Academy. We welcome Scott back to GLMA.

Judi Rokos has retired after more than 25 years with GLMA.  We wish Judi and George well in their retirement.

Patrick Podolan has been hired to take over Judi’s duties as the STCW and Sea Projects Specialist.  He started at GLMA in November.

NMC President Tim Nelson has announced his intentions to retire.  He will have been at the helm of NMC for 19 years when he rings up “Finished With Engines” at the end of next year.


T/S State of Michigan

There were 2 training cruises on the T/S State of Michigan over the past summer.  This was, in part, to accommodate Cadets from other academies in need of berths.  At this time it is not anticipated that 2 cruises will be necessary in 2019, and the academy is considering making the cruise 75 days in duration.

In addition to the Cadets on board for the training cruises, 3 students in the Great Lakes Culinary Institute completed their internships while working in the galley.  Apparently their efforts were well received, and it looks like there will be opportunities for Culinary students to sail on the training ship again, leading to their potential hire into the Stewards Department by shipping companies.


Class of 2018

Graduation Dinner was on May 5th at the Hagerty Center.  Each newly graduated Cadet in attendance received a congratulatory letter inviting them to join the Alumni Association, and received the highly-coveted GLMA Alumni Association coffee mug.


Class of 2022

The incoming class of Cadets arrived in town on Sunday August 12.  Several GLMA Alumni were on hand to introduce ourselves at the annual Alumni BBQ.  Thanks to the Alumni who were on hand to welcome the new class to GLMA and into the industry.  36 Deck and 24 Engine Cadets were admitted (59 showed up) and moved into their berths on the training ship.

The demographics of the class include:

10 % are Veterans

15% (nine) are female

Average age is 23.6 years

12 Cadets already have a bachelor’s degree, two have law degrees, and one has a PhD.


Board of Visitors

The annual Board of Visitors Meeting was held September 18.  The Alumni Association has a permanent seat on the Board, and we were represented again this year by President Jon Olney.  Incidentally, 3 other Alumni have permanent seats on the Board, those being Chief Engineer Emeritus John Hayes, and Captains Emeritus Joe Ruch and Bob Noffze.  Bob was a member of the first class at GLMA.

In attendance at that meeting was U.S. Representative Gen. Jack Bergman (Michigan).  Bergman was honored before the meeting by being named the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force’s “Legislator of the Year.”  The presentation was made by James Weakley, President of the Lake Carriers Association.

Following the BOV meeting, a “closed door session” was held with industry representatives and Cadets.  Jon Olney represented the Alumni at this event, which gives Cadets the opportunity to discuss issues with the BOV industry people, without being influenced by Academy staff or faculty members being in the room.


Annual Mariners' Memorial

Your Alumni Association was also represented at the annual Mariners’ Memorial Service in November at the Academy.  Richard Gray (Secretary) was our representative at that event and the Alumni provided cider and donuts to those in attendance.  Cadets participated at events in Detroit, Rogers City and at Whitefish Point, in addition to the service in Traverse City.


GLMA Cadet Groups

The Alumni Association donated $500 to the Women on the Water group at GLMA.  This donation was to help cover some of the expenses for several of our Cadets to attend the conference hosted by the Maine Maritime Academy last fall.  Special “Thanks” to Captain Tim Dunn for helping to make this donation possible.

The Academy will be again hosting their Captain’s Dinner, which is a fund-raising activity for 3 groups at GLMA, the Women on the Water, the GLMA Propeller Club and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME).  All funds raised at the dinner go to benefit those groups.  The date (tentative) is March 1st.


GLMA AA Scholarships

At the Annual Mariners’ Ball and Dinner last February, the Alumni Association awarded two scholarships. Emil Braunlich was chosen for the second time in two years to receive the Engine Scholarship.  The Deck Scholarship recipient was Jacob Krug.  Each of these Cadets received $1250.



Sincere thanks to all Alumni who financially support this Association. Your dues and donations are the only money we receive, and we have nobody getting paid for anything they do.  If you do not currently support us, please reconsider.  It is only because of the generosity of Alumni that we can provide these scholarships, and do the other things we do to benefit the Cadets and the Academy.