Posted on January 3, 2024
Michael Burns, Jr., executive director of the Maritime Center for Responsible Energy at Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA), a top-ranked public university with undergraduate degree programs focusing on science, engineering, technology, math, and business that blend academics and experiential learning, is the recipient of the 2023 Eugene H. Rooney Jr. Public Service Award for exemplary employee performance from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with the final selection made by Governor Maura Healey.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Performance Recognition Program formally recognizes and acknowledges Commonwealth employees for their extraordinary contributions to public service.
The prestigious Eugene H. Rooney, Jr. Public Service Award was established to honor the memory of its namesake who spent the majority of his 22 years of public service as deputy personnel administrator at the Human Resources Division, always striving to create both a learning and team-oriented environment while personifying creativity and innovation in public service. The annual award is given to the public employee who has demonstrated these ideals in the area of human resources development and training.
Burns, who received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, joined the Academy staff in October of 2011 as director of the Center for Maritime and Professional Training. In the summer of 2021 he was named the Academy’s first executive director of the Maritime Center for Responsible Energy (MCRE).
Through strategic planning, Burns has developed a comprehensive and robust offshore wind training program, considering the specific needs of the industry and the emerging workforce. His innovative approach has allowed the MCRE to offer a tailored curriculum to prepare those entering the offshore wind workforce to be equipped with the necessary knowledge and hands-on experience to succeed in this industry that offers a large range of employment opportunities.
The courses provided by Burns and the MCRE provide offshore wind training not only to Academy students, but also to participants in workforce skills programs, state agencies, municipalities, and county governments.
“It’s quite an honor to receive the Eugene H. Rooney Jr. award – named after such a consummate professional,” said Burns, a resident of Plymouth. “I am humbled and grateful to receive this award. Mike’s leadership and innovation has greatly contributed to establishing the Academy as a leader in offshore renewable energy training,” said Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, USMS, president of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “The entire Academy community extends its congratulations to Mike for this well-deserved distinction from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”