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At the helm

Marine Institute alumnus named president and CEO of BC Ferries

Campus and Community

By Leslie Earle

A graduate of the Marine Institute (MI) is the incoming president and CEO of BC Ferries.

Mark F. Collins graduated from the institute’s diploma of technology in marine engineering in 1986. Since that time he has progressed through a number of senior roles across the maritime sector.

“On behalf of everyone at the Fisheries and Marine Institute, I want to congratulate Mr. Collins on an extraordinary career and wish him every success as he takes on this new leadership role with BC Ferries,” said Glenn Blackwood, vice-president, Memorial University (Marine Institute).

“MI alumni are leaders all around the world in their chosen fields and we are very proud of the impacts those like Mr. Collins are making on the marine industries.”

Seafaring success

Mr. Collins has 35 years of marine experience, 20 of which have been in executive leadership positions. Throughout his career, he has delivered more than $1 billion worth of projects on time and on budget.

“The Marine Institute gave me the foundation to understand both the technical and business aspects of the marine industry.” — Mark Collins

After graduating from MI, Mr. Collins became a marine engineer officer serving on oil tankers, bulk carriers, container vessels and fishing vessels. He later served as president of Rolls Royce Marine Brazil and Italy and vice-president of Global Technical Services, CSL Group.

“The Marine Institute gave me the foundation to understand both the technical and business aspects of the marine industry,” Mr. Collins said.

“MI awakened my curiosity in how global seaborne trade is organized and prompted me to eventually go on to study transportation and logistics at the master’s level.”

B.C. Ferries vessel Spirit of Vancouver Island passes between Galiano Island and Mayne Island while traveling from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen, B.C.
B.C. Ferries vessel Spirit of Vancouver Island passes between Galiano Island and Mayne Island while traveling from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen, B.C.
Photo: Darryl Dyck

In addition to his training at MI, Mr. Collins holds a master of business administration (transport and logistics) from the University of British Columbia and a bachelor of arts (marine geography) from Saint Mary’s University. He has also completed the Oxford Strategic Leadership Certificate-University of Oxford and French Language and International Business Certificate from the Université Canadienne en France.

CEO role

Currently, Mr. Collins is vice-president of strategic planning and community engagement at BC Ferries. From 2004-12 he served as vice-president, engineering, with the organization.

“I am most looking forward to making a difference for residents of ferry-dependent communities.” — Mark Collins

On April 1, 2017 he will officially take over as president and CEO.

“I am most looking forward to making a difference for residents of ferry-dependent communities,” he said.

“Since ferry services are often lifeline services to coastal communities, reliable service that meets their needs is a vital part of this job. My years growing up in Newfoundland and Labrador, which is, after all, a ferry-dependent community, combined with my time at sea as a marine engineer, have been vital to my path in the marine industry. Taken together, these two experiences give me the perspective I need to understand the complexity and importance of the services we provide.”

Sound advice

To new MI students and those beginning a career in the marine sector, Mr. Collins has a few tips.

“My advice is to immerse yourself in your time at MI, taking advantage of all the experience has to offer. Even after 30 years, I use my MI education every day. Learn all you can and apply it in your working life; you will be pleasantly surprised how often your MI experience supports your career.”


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