ABYC Foundation announces Educator of the Year

The ABYC Foundation is pleased to announce and congratulate the 2020 Educator of the Year winner Stephen Spencer from Palm Beach State College (PBSC) in Lake Worth, Florida.

Runners-up include Ryan Ramsey from Impact Institute in Kendallville, Indiana, and Maurice Marchand from H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

The ABYC Foundation’s Educator of the Year award was established to honor extraordinary instructors who are shaping future marine service technicians.

“We are excited to see such a strong pool of candidates for the first ABYC Foundation Educator of the Year award,” said ABYC Foundation executive director Margaret Podlich. “These winners represent the best instructors in the Northern Hemisphere, cultivating and training the aspiring workforce that the marine industry – and boaters – are relying on.”

Spencer, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, began his teaching career in 2001 after retiring from a 31-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard, rising to the rank of Command Master Chief. Spencer taught diesel and automotive at two other schools before joining PBSC in 2015 as an automotive and diesel technology instructor. PBSC Transportation Service Technology program director Eligio Marquez Jr. credited Spencer with helping to launch the new marine service technology program at the school. 

According to Marquez, after meetings in 2018 with the local workforce taskforce, Spencer organized to get the program up and running by August 2019. Just this fall, amid the challenges of holding class within COVID, Spencer’s first class of 14 graduated from the program. As he shared with his students, “You now have all the pieces of the puzzle in your hands. It’s up to you to put all those together so you can be successful in business.” 

Runner-up Ryan Ramsey is in his ninth year of teaching marine service technology at the Impact Institute, serving five counties in Indiana. As a graduate of the program, he brought his industry connections and knowledge into the school to align the curriculum with what the industry needs.  He also helps his students obtain entry-level certification with multiple engine manufacturers.  

Runner-up Maurice Marchand has spent his life in the maritime industry, first in the merchant fleet, then as a systems technician in the U.S. Navy. For the past 32 years he’s been a full time marine technology educator, the last 21 years at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in the British Virgin Islands. He brings real-world experience, and “has positively shaped countless persons for marine and maritime careers, both at home and abroad,” said his nominator.

Spencer, as the 2020 ABYC Foundation Educator of the Year winner will receive an award, gift certificate from Harbor Freight, a free ABYC professional certification class and free registration for the next ABYC Education Training Conference.

To learn more about the award recipients and the ABYC Foundation’s work with educators, as well as the annual Educator Training Conference, visit www.teachboats.org.

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