Ten Winners Named at Offshore Wind Industry’s Ventus Gala

The Business Network for Offshore Wind held its inaugural Ventus Awards Gala on November 18, bringing together more than 200 people to celebrate the industry’s accomplishments, milestones, and the individuals, companies, and organizations moving offshore wind forward. Winners in nine Ventus Awards categories were announced at the Gala, including Innovation of the Year, Supply Chain Advancement, Next-Gen Leadership, and the Heronemus Award for Outstanding Achievement in Offshore Wind, the Network’s lifetime achievement award (view finalist list.)

Winners of the nine awards categories include Ørsted for Offshore Wind Leadership, RCAM Technologies for Innovation of the Year, and Virginia Department of Energy’s Jennifer Palestrant for Talent Management of the Year. The Ventus Awards ceremony was emceed by Darius Snieckus, editor-in-chief of Recharge, which partnered with the Business Network for Offshore Wind on the event.

“The Ventus Awards Gala is the first offshore wind industry celebration of the creativity, leadership, and innovation that has brought the industry to where it is today,” said Liz Burdock, president and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “I congratulate the ten winners of the inaugural Ventus Awards, which represents the entire supply chain from large developers and Tier 1 manufacturers to multi-generational family businesses each doing their part to grow the offshore wind industry. Together, we are building a strong and resilient offshore wind industry to benefit our economy, workforce, and environment.”

Each of the Ventus award categories is designed to honor contributions and facets of the offshore wind industry, from products, programs, or technology, which allow us to harness offshore wind and better the lives of those around us through clean energy, a safer environment, and innovative jobs.

“The winners of this year’s inaugural Ventus Awards – and indeed those on the shortlists – are embodiments of the pioneering spirit and purpose that is driving offshore wind forward as an engine of the energy transition in the U.S. and globally,” said Darius Snieckus, Editor-in-Chief or Recharge. “I am certain that in years to come they will inspire many others in this rapidly evolving industry to think and act with vision and ambition, to believe, in Ben Franklin’s words, that ‘energy and persistence conquer all things’.”

2021 Ventus Award Winners

Advancement in Project Sitting & Development
Winner: A tie between Fugro, for its web-based platform Gaia Hub, and Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies for its programmed geo-referenced, visual wind turbine models for two Ørsted offshore wind farms into the full-mission ship simulators.
Finalists in the category were: Fugro, Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies, and Vineyard Wind.

Health, Safety & Environment Program of the Year
Winner: Ventolines for its Gemba app, a mobile observation app that reduces the time it takes to act on trends and health, safety, security, and environment concerns.
Finalists in the category were: Fugro, for its COVID-19 Plan for Vessel Fleet, which enabled safe continuation of services to offshore wind clients throughout the course of the pandemic, and Massachusetts Maritime Academy, for its full development and implementation of the Global Wind Organisation’s Basic Safety Training for offshore wind and blue economy industry.

Heronemus Award for Outstanding Achievement in Offshore Wind
Winner: In its inaugural year, the Network honored William E. Heronemus (1920-2002), whom the award is named after, for his lasting contributions to the offshore wind industry. His family accepted the award on his behalf (view tribute video).

Innovation of the Year
Winner: RCAM Technologies, for its development of a low cost, modular concrete suction pile support structure and heavy lift vessel alternative as a solution to the scarcity of Jones Act compliant, heavy-lift vessels in the United States.
Finalists in the category were: Dominion Energy, for its Jones Act-compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel, the Charybdis, and RWE Renewables, for its work to develop the United States’ first floating offshore wind research array using the University of Maine’s floating offshore wind technology.

Next-Gen Leadership
Winner: Alana Duerr, Simply Blue Group
Finalists in the category were: Christopher Dorman, Mainstream Renewable Power; Jamie Macdonald, Xodus Group; Sarah Kelley, Kiewit; and Sarah Schweitzer, Vineyard Wind.

Offshore Wind Leadership
Winner: Ørsted for its leadership in developing the U.S. offshore wind industry, including operating Block Island Wind Farm, America’s first offshore wind farm and construction of the two-turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project.
Finalists in the category were: New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, for its work to position New York State as a leader in clean energy and as a hub for offshore wind growth, and Vineyard Wind, for its development of two offshore wind projects on the Outer Continental Shelf south of Massachusetts.

Supply Chain Advancement
Winner: Dominion Energy for its Jones Act-compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel, the Charybdis, a significant investment and step in developing a domestic manufacturing supply chain.
Finalists in the category were: New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, for its work to reduce the overall level of cost to develop the offshore wind industry through investments, research & development, the development of tools, and creating business engagement opportunities and Vineyard Wind, for its extensive work to develop the local infrastructure and supply chains.

Talent Management Leadership
Winner: Jennifer Palestrant, Chief Deputy at the Virginia Department of Energy, for her tireless advocacy for educational programs and training for young professionals entering the offshore wind workforce.
Finalists in the category were: James Strum, owner of Strum Contracting, and Taylor Hopkinson, a multinational recruitment company for the renewable energies industry.

Viterna Award for Engineering Excellence
Winner: The Network honored Larry E. Viterna, whom the award is named after, for his development of the Viterna Method, which is the most widely used method to predict wind turbine performance and increase the efficiency of turbine output.