Maritime Conference Center (MCC) is excited to welcome Jessica Marshall to the team as one of our Guest Services Representatives. Jessica comes to MCC from the Sonesta (formerly Candlewood Suites), with a background in hospitality since 2014. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to her, and stop by the front desk to say "hi!" next time you're on site!
In an effort to get to know our new crew member, we asked Jessica a few questions about her background and life outside of work! Check out her answers below.
Where are you from?
If you won the lottery, where would you buy a house?
What is one thing, place, restaurant, etc. that you would recommend someone go to when visiting our campus in MD?
The National Aquarium in Baltimore.
What's your best memory on the water?
A cruise to the Caribbean in 2019.
If you were deserted on an island, what three items would you hope to have with you?
My phone, food and my fiancée!
What's your favorite movie quote?
"You're killing me smalls!"
What is your favorite food?
What's your favorite book?
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
Do you have any pets? What kind? Names?
Two cats - Blizzard & Shadow
One dog - Harley
One bearded dragon - Raffie
As most are aware, the COVID-19 Pandemic greatly impacted our hospitality community. Maritime Conference Center (MCC), on the campus of MITAGS, produces revenue for the 501c3 non-profit school by hosting conferences, meetings and other training events. This revenue stream quickly came to a halt and the campus closed for a couple of months in March 2020. Like most organizations, we quickly migrated to remote and hybrid solutions to keep our business moving and, by the end of May 2020, we safely reopened the campus to host maritime training students.
As Chris Fertig explains in an article he wrote regarding Operation DGAR, “By the spring of 2020, COVID-19 restrictions on travel had stranded hundreds of mariners on 13 commercial and U.S. government-owned ships based on and around the remote island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The pandemic had shut down the normal military flights between Bahrain, Singapore and Diego Garcia, leaving the mariners and the island’s land-based personnel with no way on or of the atoll.” MITAGS-Maritime Conference Center learned that the team with Maersk Line, Limited was attempting to create a solution to solve the crew relief challenge, and that they were utilizing a hotel in Virginia to provide a 14-day quarantine. They were testing the mariners, transporting them to a private air terminal and then providing a private aircraft to Diego Garcia, then to their ship for job assignment. The team at MITAGS-MCC knew it could assist and provide everything needed to make the operation a success for as long as necessary.
Maritime Conference Center’s team quickly began working through logistical planning, to include securing clean transportation services, ensuring a chartered aircraft would be able to depart from BWI Airport to the island, creating relationships with a testing company, etc. In conjunction with Patriot Contracting Services, Maersk Line, Limited and others, we developed an ongoing ROM (Restriction of Movement) event for mariners for “Operation DGAR” and began housing mariners at the end of September 2020. The ROM event included accommodations, COVID-19 testing, meals, and clean transportation to/from BWI Airport to meet their chartered aircraft. We also housed returning mariners needing accommodations before catching their flights home. In addition, there were times that MITAGS was able to provide mariner training during the mariners’ time in quarantine.
MCC also created an orientation video, provided welcome and departure briefings, and created a “ROM Manager” position to provide operational oversight of the reservations process, on-site event, and billing. The landing page for the ROM event and video can be found here: https://www.mccbwi.org/rom.html
According to Chris Fertig of Maersk Line, Limited, “Between May 2020 and July 31, 2021, Operation DGAR completed eight airlift missions from the U.S. East Coast to Diego Garcia, moving 1,849 commercial and civilian mariners, regulatory personnel, contractors, and active-duty military personnel from the U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force and Space Force. Additionally, those flights carried over 10,000 pounds of critical spare parts and supplies needed to sustain more than 13 different ships supporting government operations in the Indian Ocean region.” Operation DGAR continues today, and a new group of mariners arrived for ROM/Quarantine mid-September 2021.
The full article written by Chris Fertig can be read here: https://gcaptain.com/operation-dgar-a-collective-effort-to-repatriate-stranded-mariners-during-a-global-pandemic/
Once we developed the ROM/Quarantine capabilities, MITAGS-Maritime Conference Center worked to spread the word to other shipping companies, military organizations, and anyone else that might be able to utilize the service. In November 2020 the U.S. Air force began working with us on a need to quarantine as well, but since it conflicted with the mariner ROM we worked with one of our off-site partner hotels, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Baltimore-BWI Airport North (a Baywood property) to assist them in landing the much needed business. Roxanne Rivera, General Manager, stated that the group was with them December 2020 through May 2021 and brought in approximately $276K in revenue. This business was helpful in maintaining employment for many staff members.
In conclusion, Maritime Conference Center worked with multiple maritime organizations and vendor partners to ensure safe quarantine of hundreds of mariners throughout the pandemic. These efforts also generated much needed revenue to ensure employment for MCC’s front desk, dining room and housekeeping staff during the exceptionally difficult pandemic time period. It also allowed MCC to bring some staff members back from furlough to support the mission. As part of the mission we also moved the charter flight to fly through BWI Airport instead of Virginia and provided Superior Tours out of Baltimore, MD with approximately $24,000 in revenue through end of July 2021. While Covid-19 testing kits and lab processing was initially handled through Future Care and our own staff administrators, we ultimately switched to local Maryland vendor Avalon Lab Solutions and provided approximately $44,000 in revenue to that vendor so far. And in our efforts to spread the word about safe quarantine/ROM capabilities, we were also able to assist a partner property with landing much-needed business during the pandemic.
Happy Summer! Maritime Conference Center is excited to be reopened for conference and meeting business in accordance with state and local guidelines. Our 100,000 square feet of meeting space comprised of 55 function rooms, plus our spacious grounds for outdoor events, provide our planners with ample space for physical distancing. And, our impressive internet backbone and audio visual capabilities will support your virtual training needs and assist with making your hybrid meetings successful. From creative ways to offer our delicious cuisine, to the rigorous enhancements made to our already excellent housekeeping practices, MCC has been working hard over the last months preparing for your safe return. While we may look a bit different, the friendly atmosphere and caring customer service you've grown to love are still intact.
The safety of our staff, students and conference guests remains our first priority. To keep you informed about our ongoing safety practices, we have created our COVID-19 Resource Center. Please take a moment to explore the page, and visit often as we continually enhance and modify the information. We are here to talk through any questions or concerns you may have and encourage open dialogue as you plan your future face to face meetings. Together, we will be more successful - and we love learning from our meeting planner friends!
Our Sales and Conference Departments are excited to work with you. If you’ve been contemplating planning a meeting, conference or event please reach out to our Sales Department at 410-859-5700 or email us today! Beyond traditional meetings and events, if you need extra space for interviews, audits, office or physical distancing space for any other purpose, please connect with us. We’d love to explore the possibilities with you. Ask us about our special “Back to Business” rates available on new bookings through the end of 2020.
We are excited to be open and back to business and our team is eagerly awaiting to welcome you!
Congratulations to Front Desk Associate, Yonic Machado, the winner of our 2019 Associate of the Year Award!
In 2019, Yonic received several nominations for Associate of the Quarter, and won for Associate of the 4th Quarter. Every year all four quarterly award winners are then reviewed by the leadership team, and a winner for the year is selected.
Yonic joined MCC in 2018 and consistently provides seamless customer service at the front desk. He is often praised for his professional guidance, pleasant enthusiasm and willingness to help!
His dedication and upbeat attitude is what we strive for daily in customer satisfaction. Thank you for all that you do, Yonic! Congratulations!
“None of us is as smart as all of us.”- Ken Blanchard
Simple words with a lot of weight.
Team building is one of the most important investments you can make for your employees. Not only does it build trust and increase motivation, but it also encourages communication, mitigates conflict, and increases collaboration and creativity.
At Maritime Conference Center (MCC), we have witnessed many organizations incorporate team-building activities into their meetings and events. Here are just a few examples of what we have seen over the years.
A group exercise to start or end the day may help get your participants moving and focused. Physical exercise is known to be a great stress reliever. Some examples may be yoga or meditation, stretching, walking/running, and even an instructor-led Zumba class. Adding a short self-defense class would provide attendees with life skills while getting them moving! At MCC, we have plenty of open space around our campus for your attendees to engage in these activities. We’ve also seen groups participate in chanting or singing during a brief walk to increase energy levels and break up the day in between conference sessions and lectures.
Team building activities often include friendly competitions. It’s important to keep things light and fun, while allowing your team to bond and interact in ways they might not otherwise have the opportunity to do. One of the more popular team building exercises is to create a scavenger hunt for your group. Snakes is another fun game that also helps build trust and encourages team bonding. Tug-of-war or various types of races or obstacle courses are popular as well, and MCC offers a game room with ping-pong, pool and shuffleboard. An additional option is to hire our skilled MITAGS Academic Team to create a unique simulator-based team building activity where your small group gets to experience navigating on the virtual bridge of a tanker ship or tugboat.
The ability to work as a team to solve problems in the work place is very important. You can encourage and help your team develop their problem-solving skills during your event through several activities.
The Great Egg Drop is popular and involves creativity and problem solving, as each group must build an egg package that can sustain an eight-foot drop. Similarly, why not get creative, break up into teams, make boats out of specific supplies, and then “sail” them across the pool to see which team’s boat actually floats? Brainteasers and puzzles are a great way to get people to open up with one another and work together as well.
MCC also collaborates with Terrapin Adventures. Known for “aerial adventures” because of their ropes course located approximately 20 minutes from MCC in Historic Savage Mill, Terrapin Adventures will also travel to you. Inviting Terrapin Adventures to MCC will allow their expert staff to create a customized team-building program that stimulates creative problem solving skills, fosters connections and builds trust and collaboration among your team.
Another big hit at many meetings and events is incorporating some kind of charitable activity or volunteer opportunity. It could be as simple as arriving to the meeting with canned goods or unwrapped gifts, especially around the holidays, or perhaps it involves teaming up with an organization like Habitat for Humanity or volunteering at the BWI USO lounge (an MCC supported organization). Another option is to incorporate volunteering into breaks by having areas setup where participants can stuff bags or make something creative in an art area, etc. to support the charity of choice, all while interacting and talking with others. This, too, is a nice way to break up the day, all while giving back.
General Appreciation & Networking
Showing general appreciation and allowing your teams to network and mingle in a fun way can boost morale and encourage team bonding. Perhaps a visit from the Kona Ice Truck would provide a cool treat outside on a beautiful, warm day, or adding a fun backdrop and props for pictures is always a lot of fun. Capitalize on MCC’s maritime atmosphere by adding a cocktail hour with appetizers in the MCC’s Memorabilia Room, which is filled with maritime artifacts and treasure. MCC will also work with you to create an outdoor barbecue with lawn games or perhaps even a crab feast. Another client favorite is to turn our auditorium into a theater for live entertainment, or to watch a movie on the giant screen. Then, add a themed snack station in the centralized break area complete with popcorn, snacks and drinks for the show!
Incorporating team-building activities into your meetings and events is a great way to build trust and increase motivation among attendees. Utilizing these activities to engage your team increases interaction and encourages creativity, leading to amazing outcomes and fresh ideas for your organization. Maritime Conference Center offers plenty of indoor and outdoor space, as well as local partnerships, to accommodate these activities. Ask our professional Sales or Conference Managers how we can help incorporate team building into your next meeting at Maritime Conference Center!
Congratulations to MCC's front desk agent, Yonic Machado, on being recognized as our Associate of the 4th Quarter for 2019!
Yonic has only been with us for two years, but has already made a huge impact on our organization! He consistently goes above and beyond for our customers and for his fellow colleagues. AND, even in the midst of "chaos," he always keeps a calm demeanor and a smile on his face. We are so proud of you Yonic! Congratulations and keep up the great work!
Maritime Conference Center (MCC) recently received a 2019 Unique Venues Best of Award for Best Venue of Conferences! MCC was also runner up for Best Mid-Market Value, and recognized as a Top Pick for Venues Getting Down to Business.
Unique Venues announced all of the 2019 Best of Awards Winner at their annual conference hosted, this year, in Dallas, Texas. Jill Porter, Director of Sales & Marketing, attended the conference and accepted the award on MCC's behalf. Award winners are chosen each year via public voting. MCC is grateful for all of our customers who supported our campaign and voted for us last fall!
Each award winner is featured in Unique Venues' 2020 Winter Magazine edition. To read more about us and view the entire list of award winners, click here.
You can also read more about our Top Pick recognition in Unique Venue's January blog post, here.
Maritime Conference Center BlogWe've launched a new blog and can't wait to share news and other content with you!
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