April 27, 2011 Taking over the reins from Eric K. Larsson, former Director of the Seamenâ€™s Church Instituteâ€™s (SCI) Center for Maritime Education, Captain Stephen Polk now commands SCIâ€™s advanced training program for mariners. SCI appointed Polk, a USCG Licensed Captain and US Navy veteran, to begin work as Director earlier this month.
Captain Polk has logged thousands of hours on SCIâ€™s advanced simulators training professional mariners and in the classroom helping them evaluate complex situations. He has also managed the operations of SCIâ€™s Houston Center as Director since 2008, scheduling training and developing coursework for mariners.
In his new appointment, Polk assumes responsibility for both Centers and their training programs. With computer simulators in Paducah, KY and Houston, TX, SCIâ€™s Center for Maritime Education trains over 1,500 mariners each year.
Underpinning his teaching, Polk has extensive industry work experience. A 1997 graduate of Texas A&M University at Galveston, he has managed vessels on the inland waterways and the Gulf Coast, including coastal and deep-sea tankers.
Polk is also a veteran of the US Navy, honorably discharged in 2009 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Adapting courses based on feedback and developments in the industry, SCI strives to stay on the cutting edge, according to the Rev. David M. Rider, SCIâ€™s President & Executive Director. He chose Polk to manage SCIâ€™s training offerings because of his proficiency and varied experience. â€œStephen has his finger on the pulse of the business, including issues that are shaping the future of maritime commerce.â€
Founded in 1834 and affiliated with the Episcopal Church, though nondenominational in terms of its trustees, staff and service to mariners, the Seamenâ€™s Church Institute of New York & New Jersey (SCI) is the largest, most comprehensive marinersâ€™ agency in North America. Annually, its chaplains visit thousands of vessels in the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port of Oakland, and along 2,200 miles of Americaâ€™s inland waterways. SCIâ€™s maritime education facilities provide navigational training to nearly 1,600 mariners each year through simulator-based facilities located in Houston, TX and Paducah, KY. The Institute and its maritime attorneys are recognized as leading advocates for merchant mariners by the United States Government, including the US Congress, the US Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization, the International Labor Organization and maritime trade associations.