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VA - ODU Selects Inaugural Maritime Leader

Elspeth McMahon was named Associate Vice President for Maritime Initiatives effective July 10.

Old Dominion University’s national search for a first-of-its-kind leader fully focused on the institution’s maritime efforts has resulted in the selection of Elspeth McMahon as Associate Vice President for Maritime Initiatives effective July 10. This new position was created as a result of the deliberations of a task force assembled by ODU and co-led by John “Dubby” Wynne and Nancy Grden to identify areas in which the University could help catalyze economic development in Hampton Roads.

Subsequently, ODU and the Hampton Roads Maritime Collaborative for Growth & Innovation (HRMC) commissioned a report, "A Pathway for Maritime Innovation in Hampton Roads,” which was prepared by TEConomy Partners. The report identified major economic areas to leverage and expand the region's innovation and workforce support for the maritime industry. President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., unveiled the report and ODU’s national search for the Associate Vice President for Maritime Initiatives in fall 2021.

“I am pleased to welcome Elspeth to the Commonwealth of Virginia, Hampton Roads and Monarch Nation,” President Hemphill said. “She has a strong educational background and direct international experience that will be so critical in our ongoing efforts to increase our impact in the region and across the state, as well as gain national and international recognition for our long-standing contributions to maritime.”

Earlier this month, following approval of the Board of Visitors, ODU announced the forthcoming establishment of ODU’s School of Supply Chain, Logistics, and Maritime Operations, a key step in elevating maritime as a signature strength, as well as responding to industry needs for supply chain and logistics training and research. As Associate Vice President for Maritime Initiatives, McMahon will coordinate ODU’s extensive and varied programs, outreach and services that engage with the region’s maritime enterprises to increase engagement and better serve the needs of external stakeholders in growing the maritime sector, including port logistics and supply chain; shipbuilding and repair; naval sustainment; offshore wind energy; and coastal resilience.

McMahon has a diverse maritime background, including experience as a Licensed Merchant Mariner, Assistant Professor of Marine Transportation at SUNY Maritime College and Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves. She is highly skilled in leadership, management, and industry outreach backed by nearly two decades of direct experience and extensive education and training in the field of marine transportation. She holds an active U.S. Coast Guard Chief Mate License and is completing a doctoral degree in Nautical Sciences at the University of Antwerp and Antwerp Maritime Academy in Belgium.

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