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Career Accomplishments

This page highlights a few of Dan's accomplishments in his most recent positions.

2007-Present: Manager of Primary Engineering

Description soon to come

2004-2007: Feeder Control Representative & Emergency General Supervisor

Description soon to come

2002-2004: Engineering Supervisor

Designed distributed generation at two area substations deferring capital costs of $32 Million. Designed, oversaw construction, and commissioned distributed generation at two area substations. This project was designed to eliminate overloads on transmission lines for summer 2003. It consisted of generation equipment, fusing, cabling, transformers, control equipment, and ties to dedicated switch positions inside the substations for a total of up to 28MW of power

2002: Maritime Consultant

Drastically improved US Coast Guard exam scores for Military Sealift Command (MSC) Qualified Member of the Engineering Department (QMED) candidates at the Global Maritime and Transportation School. The previous test average for these candidates was 78.2 percent with a 25 percent failure rate. The test average after intense instruction regarding shipboard engineering topics increased to 92.7 percent and a zero percent failure rate

1998-2002: Chief Engineer and Ship Superintendent

Items above and beyond the call of Duty

Developed website giving students and engineers 24 hour access to documents, publications and drawings. Training ship had only one worn and incomplete set of technical manuals for on-board systems. Students used the manuals for reference and engineers for operating or troubleshooting the plant. Set up sheet fed scanner and OCR software to digitize the manuals. Formatted, proofread and modified documents to reflect current system configurations, then converted files to .pdf format for posting on the web. Along with 24-hour access, the documents are preserved indefinitely and can be modified as systems change. The website may be viewed at www.usmma.edu/waterfront/kingspointer

Implemented maintenance tracking system, significantly reducing learning time for new engineers. The tracking system was essential since machine maintenance records were poor or in many cases did not exist. Developed computerized maintenance process and filing systems that compiled information on breakdowns, troubleshooting, and solutions to problems encountered. Engineers now know if a particular problem has occurred previously, the troubleshooting steps taken, solution given, parts needed, cost of repairs, and suggested preventive maintenance schedule

Management and Cost Cutting Items

Perform the duties of Ship Superintendent as well as Chief Engineer saving up to $100,000 per year. This setup is a departure from the industry standard as well as the way the Maritime Administration (MARAD) typically runs their ships. MARAD usually contracts ship managers to operate their vessels. On the T/V Kings Pointer these tasks were performed in house. This requires hiring employees that can accept more duties and responsibility than traditionally given and grooming them for such tasks. The performing of the two positions saved MARAD and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) more than $100,000 per year in agency costs

Performed hydro-testing in house saving up to $3,500 per testing cycle. Regulations require pressure vessels be hydrostatically tested. During hydrostatic testing, a tank or boiler is pressurized with water up to the maximum allowable working pressure in order to detect fractures. Previously, these pressure vessels were tested by subcontractors. Their fee was about $2,500- $3,500 to conduct all the required tests on the plant. A hydrostatic testing machine was purchased for $1,400 and testing was performed by staff. The units tested well with new in-house tester, eliminating the costly need for contractor’s service

Designed, contracted and installed sewage treatment plant to eliminate waste removal expenses saving $10,000 per year. As new Chief Engineer of the US Merchant Marine Academy’s Training Ship, found no waste treatment plant on-board. Waste was pumped to a truck weekly. Service expense was approximately $10,000 per year. Procedure required two hours’ time from one to two ship engineers each week. Researched and procured a quality system to treat all generated waste and one that required minimal maintenance. Designed project, wrote specifications and supervised the installation. $10K savings was added to ship’s operating budget

Instituted effective budget and division accounting system precluding end-of-year money shortfalls. Starting in new position as Chief Engineer, found no managerial accounting system effectively monitoring expenditures. Budgeted monies were spent until they ran dry, sometimes happening with 1-2 months left in the fiscal year. Needed a system easy to use with ability to track expenditures. Created Excel spreadsheets for tracking expenses and recording them into certain accounts. Developed budgets for each account according to historical expenditures and recurring costs. New system enabled maintenance planning and prioritization with funding until yearend

Installed cost effective electronic charting system for the safe navigation of the training ship defering $25,000 on installation of a full electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS). A full ECDIS suite costed approximately $25-30,000. These systems reduce the number of tasks a watch stander has to perform while also reducing navigational operator error therefore increasing safety. The limited budget did not allow for its procurement and installation. Mr. Robson purchased an off the shelf charting program for $80, for $1000 he purchased electronic charts with a weekly update service (because up to date charts are critical to safe navigation), located a spare computer and monitor, and installed the existing external equipment (DGPS, gyro, keyboard, etc.). Another hidden benefit was the updated electronic charts lead the paper chart Notice to Mariner corrections by a couple of weeks, further increasing safety

Arranged for crew to overhaul non-functioning “oily water separator”, saving $6,000 annually. Separator was not functioning properly for years, requiring the use of a contractor to dispose of the oily water at 85¢ per gallon or $6,000 per year. Equipment uses the difference in the specific gravity of oil and water for separating. It subsequently pumps the water into the sea and the waste oil into a tank. Had ship’s team of engineers remove the non-functioning unit and completely overhaul it. Purchased remanufactured monitoring equipment and calibrated it. Total overhaul cost was around $5,000. Money saved in following years was applied to the operating budget

Planned installation of additional berthing in order to reduce the underway operating cost per student by 43%. The training ship at the US Merchant Marine Academy had bunks for 30 persons and a certificate permitting the same. Under normal circumstances the training ship carried eight officers and twenty-two students. The cost per day to operate the ship is about $2,700 / day, including maintenance, fuel, and crew costs. This equates to $122.73 / student / day. This presented the opportunity to maximize cost effectiveness by adding more berthing. Previously we removed, using ship's crew, the equipment from an old lounge and installed eight bunk beds to accommodate more students. We provided access to a shower and toilet and created another means of egress. Phase II and III of this cost savings project include modifying existing staterooms to change single bunks into double bunks bringing the total to forty nine berths. This onetime cost will provide berthing for ten officers and thirty nine students bringing our cost per day down to $69.23 / student / day. Plan approval was initiated to have the ship recertified for 49 people

Secured donation of service for a Lube Oil Analysis Program.  Analysis of equipment lube oil can detect wear of internal parts, even isolating the problem to the component.  After securing donation from the oil manufacturer, routine machinery overhauls could be safely deferred, saving maintenance costs.

Secured donation of spare fuel and lube oil centrifuges.  A research vessel installed new purification equipment for fuel oil and lube oil treatment.  Communicated with the donor vessel’s port engineer, and shipped units to our facility. They were able to serve as a training platform for students and as spare parts for this expensive piece of machinery.

Developed computerized system to track and record employee overtime hours reducing employee complaints and increasing ability to monitor abuse.  After taking over as Chief Engineer, there was no formal tracking or approval for crew overtime.  Developed forms and a computerized system to track hours and generate reports that were submitted to payroll and used to track and graph employee time

Safety Items

Developed lockout/tag out policy and procedures for engineers and students performing maintenance and repair on electrical and mechanical equipment. After taking over as Chief Engineer, there was no formal procedure was in place. Purchased necessary equipment, drafted document and instructed employees in the proper use.

No lost time accidents have taken place among the employees during entire tenure as chief engineer. This amounts to 1476 days working with rotating machinery, electricity, cranes, chemicals, and other industrial equipment on a platform which is tossed by the sea. This is in no small part to the safety practices developed and enforced by Mr. Robson

Installed cost effective electronic charting system for the increased safe navigation of the training ship. The new system reduces the number of tasks a watch-stander has to perform while also reducing navigational operating errors therefore increasing safety. It also provides more up to date charts than the paper charts. (See more detail about this project in the management and cost cutting items section)

Installed Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) compressor to make fire and safety drills more realistic and to reduce crew time in refilling bottles. Before installation, crew would have to take empty bottles to a local fire department in order to fill. This would result in bottles sitting empty until a trip could be made to the fire department. This reduced the bottles available in an emergency. Commissioned surplus SCBA compressor from a government surplus warehouse, instituted a certified air testing program, converted prime mover from gasoline to electric motor, and installed unit on board vessel. Now bottles could be filled as they were used, providing greater safety by increasing the number of bottles available and allowing more use of SCBA equipment during drills.

Installed Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) for the Automation and Control System to increase safety and increase the life of the electronics. Training Ship was designed without an UPS protecting the automation system. At every transfer of power, software would have to be manually reprogrammed to reset the operating parameters of the system. These power transfers also reduced the life of the circuit cards. Procured an UPS of the proper capacity, dimensions and operating characteristics, designed the installation, installed unit and altered the vessel drawings to reflect the change

Installed battery backup for bridge electronic equipment to increase the capabilities of the bridge team in case of a power plant outage.  Before recent regulations were in place, bridge electronics (VHF radios, GPS, LORAN, etc.) were on an emergency circuit but did not have a battery backup.  With the loss of the plant, the bridge officers and Captain were temporarily without the ability to send a distress call or use navigational equipment until the emergency power was restored, losing critical seconds when maneuvering.  Designed a battery bank, charging circuit, and a fused distribution system that complied with USCG regulations, installed system and updated ships drawings and documents to reflect the change.

Developed and maintained tracking, maintenance, and charging system for division's UHF radios nearly eliminating radio failure during critical times

  Copyright © 2013 Daniel Robson