“Seeing the issues these young people were facing really kept me going. There was importance in this outcome,” said Bob Malloy of his work with the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA).
Malloy is one of 10 LMI teammates awarded the company’s 2018 Paul Ignatius award for their work with the USMMA. The team’s mission was to help the Academy address sexual harassment and assault on campus and during Sea Year, a hands-on training experience aboard U.S. military or commercial shipping vessels.
The USMMA project required sensitivity, depth of expertise, and the ability to synthesize information clearly and expediently. We brought in experts on culture and change management and recognized authorities on sexual harassment and assault prevention and response.
To get a feel for a midshipman’s living conditions during Sea Year, the LMI team toured commercial vessels used in the program and interviewed their captains and crews about the challenges of living at sea for long stretches. They also interviewed USMMA leaders, faculty and staff members, and alumni to gather their perspectives.
The complexity, short timeframe, and call to be exhaustive meant the project became an all-hands-on-deck effort, with LMIers working around the clock for the better part of eight weeks. Everyone on the project drew their energy from the opportunity to directly affect people’s lives. One young woman told LMI it had taken her over a year to talk about her experiences with anybody. This woman, and many others, needed to be heard, and LMI helped bring their voices forward.
DOT leaders praised our recommendations for aligning leadership behind a unified message, developing a comprehensive prevention and response campaign, and establishing a Sea Year credentialing program to preserve the value of hands-on experience while ensuring the safety of all midshipmen. For more on LMI’s assessment and recommendations, visit DOT’s Office of Civil Rights mission page. As DOT, the USMMA, and the Maritime Administration take the next steps toward repairing and rebuilding a culture of trust at the Academy, LMI has begun applying the insights we gained to help other federal clients facing similar challenges.