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Re: [bolger] Signs of Life - News from Gloucester

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  • Susanne@comcast.net
    An up-date: The project was moved out uneventfully on Friday the 30th 11. By Thursday, Jan. 5th she arrived alongside RESOLUTION, to nestle there for the next
    Message 1 of 28 , Jan 9, 2012
      An up-date:
          The project was moved out uneventfully on Friday the 30th '11.
      By Thursday, Jan. 5th she arrived alongside RESOLUTION, to nestle there for the next few...
      Onwards and upwards.

      I'll try to get photos uploaded... 
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2011 9:07 AM
      Subject: [bolger] Signs of Life - News from Gloucester


      Have a good New Year.  I appreciate all of your support; even 'Grover' is quiet now...
      Read this to get up to speed.  I'll post an image (or a lot) of the project later.  For now I have my hands full with the mess discussed below.  The Note below was addressed minutes ago to some of City-Councilors.  So you'll get to jump right into the middle of 'everything'.  A long-ish read for a winter night.  For those who get MAIB on this, this will add the latest developments...

      More to come in general.
      Susanne Altenburger, PB&F
      Good morning Councilors.

      I could use your help.  Time is of the essence.  This is one of those emergencies that you face so often...|
      Please do read this introductory Note and scan the Paper below.   Note the continuing support by the Navy, and now with man-power tasked to help complete the project by Paul Diodati of the State's Division of Martine Fisheries, the premier marine-biological agency and eventual owner of the craft. 

      With the project being pushed off the rails once more, here is my position-paper on the genesis and current status of the Project.  Since this is a publicly-funded endeavor I am compelled to formulate this as a matter of basic accounting to the stake-holders. 
           A slightly shorter version was sent Wednesday Dec. 28th 2011 to Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center/Gloucester Maritime's new Exec. Dir. Tom Balf. 
           For technical context, I attach a 'Hand-Out' (Mid-Fall status) on the Project as a .pdf, plus an image of her current state of completion as of Dec. 26th 2011.

      To introduce the immediate challenge I will use the format I just wrote in to Tim Riley of ACTION Inc (a patron of GMHC/GM via the COMPASS-program) who visited the Project yesterday.  This jumps right into the heart of the problem.  The 'Paper' below this Note gives all the relevant details. 
      This will be a 10-min read:

      "To reiterate what we discussed yesterday during your impromptu visit to the Boat Shop, neither the COMPASS program nor any other educational initiative saw any integration of this unusual eco-project (full of STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math 'meat') into their curriculum.  Since the project had been agreed by April 2010 to be hosted at GMHC/GM, with its actual start in early March 2011, there was ample lead-time to explore and maximize its inherent educational potential in different formats to match different age-groups and respective needs.  From visual in a class-room to tactile on the shop-floor and in the emerging boat, a broad range of educational angles, incl. voc.tech., have been and continue to be possible.  

      This failure can be explained by the combination of Exec. Dir. Harriet Webster's diagnosis by late March '11 with cancer and her struggle for survival until her death 3 months later, and Education Director Mary-Kay Taylor's incapacity/unwillingness (?) to fulfill her responsibilities around this project.  Mary-Kay Taylor (no relations to GMHC-sponsor William Taylor) is now the primary agent pushing aggressively to eject the project from 'her' Boat Shop. 

      A peculiar mantra of 'dead-line' setting has emerged, much-quoted to me and yet thoroughly unrelated to the circumstances of building such a craft with any inexperienced crew, never mind the challenging cases this project was saddled with, as outlined below.  Instead of the pointless attempts to dictate 'final' completion-dates, the more productive approach would have been - and remains ! -  what Harriet and I agreed on to begin with, which was to make the most of its limited-time presence at GMHC/GM as a strong educational opportunity, with solid subsequent rewards for that mission mid-term once this effort was/is successfully concluded with a public Launching Ceremony, presentations and thus the vastly-enhanced likelihood to attract more such projects based on this collaborative effort.   

      Going the wrong way however, this is quite a destructive spectacle, damaging not just my project and thus income, but on a much larger scale is stunningly illogical and devastating to the hopes of bringing 'smart' initiatives - such as this - to Gloucester to build momentum towards 'Green-Collar' jobs-creation of a type that can not be readily 'outsourced'.  Building low-carbon sustainability-based design for working purposes and pleasure use is one very obvious strong focus for a Port-City such as Gloucester, with respective properties fully-zoned to establish such an industry upon.  (Note the proposal for I4-C2)  

      As you saw the physical manifestation of yesterday, this has already proven to be a solid example of creative 'can-do', including the smooth integration of Federal-, State, and City-funding to distribute the fiscal load and risks with this experimental project.  But this push by one myopic individual (Ed. Dir. M.K.Taylor) to throw out the project into the winter not only stops any physical work on it until deep into Spring and steady 50+-degrees weather to allow epoxy- and paint-work.  It damages all of our efforts to make positive, 'good' headlines to put Gloucester into a better light, than its depiction across recent negative episodes.

      I hope for your support to keep this project inside to be completed by me and the State-tasked manpower (see below).  
      The current plan is for Jeffrey Richon to use his crane to pull her out by Friday morning Dec. 30 2011.
           If he is dead-set in this destructive approach, I would need to find heated space measuring 50'x15' to complete the work.  Alas, the budget was expended months ago (see below).  
      Mid-Winter launching of her is technically perfectly doable, as long as there is no ice at the launching-ramp.  The State's DMF-biologists have work to do year-round (see below as well). 

      Finally, she needs to be finished for me to receive my final payment of a flat-fee set for the expected 4-5 month part-time supervisory role - versus my now full-time April-to-December+ investment.

      Thank you for taking the time to view the craft yesterday.
            Yours sincerely
      Susanne Altenburger
      Phil Bolger & Friends Inc.
      66 Atlantic Street
      Gloucester MA 01930-1627


      Building a Navy Patrol-Boat / State Marine-Biological Research Craft at GMHC 
      Project-Status as of Dec. 28th 2011

      A.  Project Basics (see attached .pdf):
      1.  The Boat-Building Project will serve as a limited-time experimental type for the Navy to confirm or reject its viability for their particular political and tactical purposes.

      2.  The craft will then become the latest and 'greenest' marine-biological research craft for use by the Commonwealth's of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), its leading marine biological research agency, with its Director Paul Diodati now just elected as the Chief of all such East-Coast agencies for a two-year term 2011-2013.

        The Project was brought to GMHC (now GM) by Exec. Dir. Harriet Webster and myself, Susanne Altenburger of Phil Bolger &Friends Inc (PB&F), in light of its match with both the organization's
      a.) marine-industrial mission as America's oldest continuously operating shipyard,  and its
      b.) marine-biological educational program.
      We both embraced this collaboration because of its inherent and obvious potency as an educational and public-relations tool in support of the Center and the Working Waterfront.  

      While various funding-sources were successfully choreographed, the only serious uncertainty was the expected total man-hours it would take to complete the Project.  As the subsequent saga of of good and bad crew-behavior has documented  this concern would be confirmed as a major challenge.  All three members were recommended either by Jeffrey Richon or from within GMHC. 
      To recollect, 
      - Foreman Jose Leland's apparently indulged in drug-use before work on weekdays, as documented by his arrest one April Wednesday morning for Driving Under the Influence and Possession With Intent to Distribute, with his work-ethic spotty from good over indifferent to damaging, to finally see him walk off the job when held accountable for a series of expensive mistakes;
      Matt Cooney was never able to show up on time (except for once), typically exhibited unwillingness to wear eye, ear and breathing protection, was unwilling/unable(?) to learn from repeated mistakes, and came to express a very poor opinion on this Project and the design, upon which he was fired by me.  Both Richon and Leland expressed their strong disagreement with my decision as a Project-Manager (?!).  
      - Sarah Tuvim was able to do decent work, but never to the schedule dictated by the budget and timeline, and was eventually eased out.
      With 3 out of 3 folks not performing as necessary, the much reduced rate of progress was unavoidable.
      - My hiring of Rosalyn Frontiera proved a good move with her consistent performance as the longest-serving productive crew-member across many month, and even now offering periodically up to full days of volunteer work.
      - In terms of my own effort on the shop-floor, intended by contract to just supervise the Project part-time, I went from 5 days per week by April, to 6-days Summer and Fall, with the last month seeing 7-days work-weeks.
      4.  The Project is built of 90% sustainably-sourced materials - US farm-grown Douglas Fir marine-grade plywood -, with the remaining approx. 10% based on fossil fuel, used here to enhance the wood's strength and life-expectancy.  This approach contrasts with the typically 100% synthetic/man-made and often high-carbon approach for all-fiberglass-, steel- or aluminum-construction.  
           The US-Navy is very familiar with modern wood-composite construction, operating a fleet of 12 1400+tons heavy wood-composite Minesweepers, built in the late 80-and 90s.  Fully-loaded this craft here will weigh in around 4 tons.  

      5.  The boat, as it has emerged throughout much of this year in full public view on the Boat Shop's floor, is a demonstration of an advanced way to design and build Lower-Carbon craft, explicitly initiated by the Navy to be built this way, and supported fiscally and now also with a growing number of 'man-days' by DMF staff coming in to help with two+-handed jobs to conclude to project more rapidly.  Both agencies continue to support the project.

      B.  Project position within GMHC/GM:
        Beyond initial collaborative efforts between GMHC/GM under Webster and PB&F under Altenburger, GMHC/GM had to devote only very limited resources to attract and retain the Project.  In return it received one major attraction to its range of exhibits with this largest-yet boat-construction effort in its Boat-Shop with its final purpose to serve as a marine-biological research-platform for the State.

        The Project began in early March 2011 with Harriet Webster falling ill in March as well, to then pass away in June.   Despite well-documented challenges with the initial building crew, Altenburger continued the project, eventually even single-handed much of the time to its current near-completed status.

      3.  As of late-December all structural work is done on the Project, with most painting completed, with only the aft-cockpit remaining to be assembled out of mostly already pre-fabricated and pre-painted panels.  Glass is ready to be installed to make her weather-tight, with the motor on hand.  Electrical and minor mechanical system can be completed outside of the shop.  The State via DMF is willing to continue its tasking of manpower in support of this Project to complete it as soon as possible.

      4.  Agreed by all stake-holders in April 2010 to be brought to GMHC, over 11-month of lead-time was available for the educational staff to integrate this 'Signature Project' into its curriculum.  Altenburger stood ready to share information, drawings, possibly even connections with the stake-holders on the State and Federal levels, such as Marine-Biologists.  

      5.  Approached again this summer by Altenburger on this issue,  Mary-Kay Taylor (Director of Education) did refuse again to make this emerging marine-biology research-craft part of the offerings for the children and youth brought to the Center.  While the public had full access to come into the shop to study the Project, ask questions, touch the craft and watched work on it, no scheduled integration for school-children and adolescents was initiated to share this rare opportunity with the clients (and their parents, teachers, administrators) the organization is drawing much of its budget from.   While over 1150 visitors were personally welcomed and responded to on the Boat Shop floor, no educational sessions were held there, with minor (accidental) exceptions when I pulled in an Instructor, such as from the Merrimack Valley Educational consortium, or a driver such as a school from Marlborough, and schooner- and Outward-Bound crews.  No organized dedicated integration of this project was pursued. 
      6.  Instead, this Project of building right on site of an Advanced Marine-Biological Research Craft to high sustainability-coefficiency for the State's prime marine-biological agency (DMF) has been perceived by Mary Kay as a hindrance to her professional interests, literally described by her as a large physical obstacle to her particular definition of the organization's educational mission.  Her perspective and actions suggest that this Project was and remains is an unwelcome intrusion without any educational value to merit focus on.  Hence her push towards this Project's expulsion from the Boat Shop. 

      7.  Meanwhile, DMF-staffers on the shop-floor have so far included
      - the gear-specialists in charge of maintaining and even developing DMF's range of research-assets, both land-bound and sea-going;
      - Marine-Biologists who have begun to integrate the emerging craft into their vision for the work in 2012, such as for instance Eel-Grass Research, incl. diving-operations;
      - Liaison-officer connecting Federal funding to the State's agencies;
      - the agency's Director himself, Paul Diodati, with a strong personal interest as the Chief of the State's marine-biological research.

        Other elected and appointed visitors include,
      - Mayor Kirk,
      - Congressman John Tierney,
      - the US Navy delegation who visited several times already, incl. their testing staff,
      - State Senator Bruce Tarr,
      - staffers from Senators Kerry's and Brown's offices,
      - the head of the Mass. Cultural Council,
      - City Councilors Hardy, Tobey and McGeary,
      - the head of the city's Fisheries Commission, David Bergeron,
      - Coast Guard officers,
      - State Environmental Police officers,
      - City police officers,
      9.  GMHC/GM's education staffers did not seek to cultivate relations with either DMF-chief Diodati, nor his biologists, gear-specialists, administrators etc.  nor the members of our political leadership in connection to this Project.  Instead a great sense of growing aggravation has been expressed as to the longer-than-expected presence of the craft and all these visitors and State and Federal stake-holders.  Complaints have been issued again and again how the Project jeopardizes the educational mission of GMHC/GM.  No understanding of its potent value has been demonstrated in words or deeds. 

      10.  Explicitly embraced by the late Harriet Webster because of its obvious and explicit and now proven Multiplier Potential - with for instance the State's major marine-biological players attracted to the Project and thus GMHC/GM  - this Project manifests one already successful model of partnership across multiple levels of government and private for-profit and non-profit entities.   Webster and Altenburger forged this relationship in hopes of building upon it.   
      Myopia was explicitly rejected, with a large-aperture optic understood to be the key to make this Project successful and set one more potent precedent to grow both GMHC/GM's capabilities and the viability of Gloucester Marine-Industrial and Marine-Scientific prospects by integrating them in this particular Project.  

      C.  Project Outlook:
        The Navy continues its support for the Project, and the State has recently increased its initial investment by tasking man-power towards rapid completion of the Project.

      2.  The Project's completion depends upon 50+ degrees F ambient temperature to allow epoxy and paint to cure.

      3.  The Project retains its potency to serve as a rare and temporary (!) educational tool teaching aspects of
      - design,
      - sustainable materials,
      - the role of advanced chemistry to support sustainability,
      - using your hands to build this larger structure that will work for science on the water ,
      - demonstrating the science, technologies, and associated trades it is based on,
      - the chance to possibly be aboard her while she works.

      4.  In terms of Boat-Shop use:
      - the Project's longer-than-expected presence on the shop-floor does not break new ground with other projects with one measuring 32feet x5'6" (vs. this Project's 39'x7'6) present for up to two years;
      - it has added no additional or more dangerous chemicals to both the shop's documented stock, and history of prior uses;
      - it has been compressed in its total foot-print to less than half the shop's floor-plan and work-bench surfaces;
      scheduling co-use of the Boat Shop has been practiced successfully in the past, and has offered repeatedly here as well, incl. the careful timing of painting session not before class-room use etc;
      - the Project is close to completion, with Altenburger and DMF having presented an unambiguous track-record of pushing hard to finish it.

      5.  Ejecting the Project from the Boat Shop at this time will
      - sever the relationship with PB&F,
      - likely dims prospects for GM's relationship with DMF and related Federal agencies,
      - signals to associated schools and organizations (GMHC/GM's client-base) a troubling incoherence of vision and thus inconsistency of curricular offerings to the students, 
      - will terminate any remaining chance for your clients (students, parents, teachers, administrators) to study and learn from this rare collaborative Project, or even be part of it in some way.
      - will signal to current and potential funders how myopia of a very few (Mary-Kay Taylor et. al.) led GMHC/GM to reject this Project's rich range of educational and funding opportunities along with its inherent professional relationships deep into the State's marine-biological establishment, typically deemed essential to affiliated individuals and institution. 


      This perspective by Susanne Altenburger of Phil Bolger & Friends, and Project-Manager for the publicly-funded SACPAS-3 Project will serve to explain the situation to all stake-holders and other interest parties.

      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 3:21 PM
      Subject: [bolger] Re: Micro Construction


      On Micros and HP... We sailed our Micro in the English Channel with it's big tides and suchlike with a 2.2HP motor and we never found we wanted more power. Truth be told I resented the amount of weigt the 2.2 took up wiht it's gas.

      By the way we have driven our CAL 34 with a Tohatsu two stroke 5HP quite happily so 5HP has more than enough oomph for a Micro (well unless you want to take someone water skiing).


    • BruceHallman
      On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 9:10 AM, Susanne@comcast.net ... Susanne, This is exciting! Judging from the photos in MAIB the boat looks to be nearly ready to
      Message 2 of 28 , Jan 9, 2012
        On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 9:10 AM, Susanne@...
        <philbolger@...> wrote:
        > An up-date:
        >     The project was moved out uneventfully on Friday the 30th '11.
        > By Thursday, Jan. 5th she arrived alongside RESOLUTION, to nestle there for the next few...
        > Onwards and upwards.
        > I'll try to get photos uploaded...
        > Susanne

        Susanne, This is exciting! Judging from the photos in MAIB the boat
        looks to be nearly ready to launch. Though, (believe me I know!),
        there can be lots of time consuming finishing touches that remain
        unseen in the photos.
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