ABS Chairman, President and CEO Addresses SUNY Maritime College Graduates
Christopher J. Wiernicki, Chairman, President and CEO of ABS, addressed the college graduates, their families, faculty members and honored guests at the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College’s commencement ceremony on 6 May. The ceremony saw approximately 300 students graduate inside historic Fort Schuyler.
“I am honored to share real leadership lessons that these bright graduates may apply beyond the boardroom,” said Wiernicki. “Success in life and leadership go hand-in-hand. While there is no substitute for experience and learning from mistakes, everyone can be a leader.”
Wiernicki’s remarks shared personal insight into his father’s personal success and quiet leadership – from challenges as a prisoner in Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II to humbling success following his escape from the concentration camp and ultimate emigration to the United States. Wiernicki focused on leadership lessons that may be applied no matter the situation one faces in life, highlighting the values of integrity, perseverance, hard work, relationships, focusing on the future, and placing respect and dignity as the cornerstone of any leadership philosophy.
“Over the years, ABS has been a valued friend to the college in its support of our students and faculty,” said Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, President of SUNY Maritime College. “It’s an honor to have Chris Wiernicki at our spring commencement as a way of acknowledging all ABS has done, and continues to do, to help maritime education.”
During the ceremony Wiernicki received an honorary doctoral degree from SUNY Maritime College in recognition of his contributions to the school and his professional achievements. In addition to serving as Chairman, President and CEO of ABS and Chairman of the ABS Group of Companies, Inc., Wiernicki also serves as Chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies. He previously held several senior roles at ABS, including President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Technology Officer, and President and COO of ABS Europe Ltd.
Wiernicki holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt, a Master of Science in Structural Engineering from George Washington University, where he was later elected to the George Washington University Engineering Hall of Fame, and a Master of Science in Ocean Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has authored numerous papers and lectured at the university level. Wiernicki is a Fellow with the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. In 2013, he was awarded the Vice Admiral Emory S. Land Medal for outstanding accomplishment in the marine field. Wiernicki also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Seamen’s Church Institute, serves on the Engineering Advisory Council for the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering, is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Webb Institute, serves on the National Advisory Council of the George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science, and serves on the Advisory Committee for the Department of Ocean Engineering at MIT.