For over 100 years, Massachusetts Maritime Academy has been preparing women and men for exciting and rewarding careers on land and sea. As the nation's finest co-ed maritime college, MMA challenges students to succeed by balancing a unique regimented lifestyle with a typical four-year college environment. As a member of the cadet corps you will live, study, sail, work and play in an atmosphere that encourages you to be your best.
The Buc Stops Here
(L-R) 2nd Battalion Commander Matthew Hall; Regimental Executive Officer Kamil Bak; 1st Battalion Commander Connor Finerty
Southampton, Mass native Kamil Bak knew he was going to end up in a regimental environment somewhere. Connor Finerty, Mansfield, did not hear of MMA until his sophomore year in high school. Matthew Hall, from Harwich on the Cape, first came to campus as a teenager during a summer program. Once on campus, Bak found himself “doing more push-ups in a week than in my whole life.” Finerty was thinking about what his high school buddies were doing (probably not push-ups). And Hall was “having a blast” - until school got going and the road got bumpy.
Three years later, 1/C’s Bak, Hall, and Finerty may seem far removed from those first weeks on Taylor’s Point, but in reality those early experiences and the people who impacted their lives still resonate. Drawing on that experience, each now finds himself using it in one of the most important positions at a pivotal time Academy’s history as the Regiment is split into two battalions for the first time since the mid-80s. Led by Finerty and Hall, who Bak calls “two of the most squared away guys I know,” each battalion will act as its own (smaller) regiment. Bak, whose command presence is palpable, will oversee progress while acting as Regimental Commander Nathan Moreira’s “right hand man.”
The goal of this new leadership structure is to create and sustain relationships that will ensure success. “This could not have come at a better time” says Bak. Finerty and Hall - both "can do" cadets who find themselves the vanguard of this effort - know their organizational and leadership skills will be tested. And what these Battalion Commanders accomplish throughout this entire year may well become the blueprint for future of command at MMA.
All of them agree the new structure will enhance an already strong commitment to transparency and communication so that obstacles can be identified and discussed, and solutions implemented, quickly and effectively. Especially during Orientation where real time feedback is crucial, it means more eyes and ears paying attention to what's happening on the ground and informs the leadership's ability to mentor cadet-candidates when and where needed.
Despite the enormous responsibility thrust their way as seniors, all three young men still hearken back to their freshman year and the transformations they underwent. For Kamil Bak, it happened early on as a Cadet Orientation Award winner. For Connor Finerty, it was the squad leaders who stepped up when he needed it, becoming role models for how the job gets done. And for Matt Hall, it was being chosen his company’s Guide-on bearer at Coast Guard boot camp. They realize, as do many, that who they’ve become and how they got there, that without Mass Maritime none of it would have happened.