In our special column this month, we are pleased to host an interview with Marco Cristoforo Camporeale, Head of Maritime Digital, Inmarsat, who says that the maritime landscape is changing rapidly; for example, although we didn’t talk about autonomous vessels five years ago, now they are a reality. In his role at Inmarsat, he is able to combine many different engineering disciplines and make a positive impact
This is what makes his job exciting, Marco explains, especially because he combines three big favorites: his passion for the sea, software and mechanics. In addition, he recollects studying for MBA as a worthwhile investment to broaden his mindset and develop certain soft skills.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Marco Camporeale: My grandfather was a seaman and I grew up in the south of Italy, by the sea, where I used to free dive and spear fish every week. I started programming back in the days when my father, an IT manager in a bank, brought home the manuals of COBOL 85. The love for mechanics and automation came later at university. In digital solution for the maritime industry, I can join together my passion for the sea, software and mechanics.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
M.C.: Today, digital solutions, powered by connectivity and communication, are at the intersection of software (e.g. artificial intelligence and data analytics) and hardware (i.e. the machines onboard the ships). It is exciting to combine so many different engineering disciplines to solve some of the most complex challenges and make a positive impact on world economics and the environment.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given and why?
M.C.: The best piece of advice: “You have two ears and one mouth: use them in that ratio”. It is about being humble and recognize that, especially in this field, nobody has seen it all and there is always room for learning. And learning comes with listening. And I’m still learning how to listen.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
M.C.: Studying for the MBA. It took money, time and energy but I acquired the tools and the mindset required to navigate business development and leadership. It is definitely an investment worthwhile.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why? What piece of advice should you ignore?
M.C.: In order to harvest the benefits of digitalization, CIO and CTO need to be able to take several stakeholders with them in the journey. It is a cultural and political challenge more than a technological one. In order to have an easier life, I would advise my younger self to learn and master early the ways of stakeholder management and politics.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
M.C.: Richard Branson says: “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business”. I believe that the key for a better business life is to care for, coach and truly trust the people of the team I have the honor of lead.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
M.C.: One thing that must change right now in the shipping industry is for the seafarers to be recognized as key workers during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and stop the crisis of crew change. Looking at my field, the landscape is changing rapidly: five years ago, we were not talking about autonomous vessels, and now they are a reality. All I wish to change, is already happening.
About Marco Cristoforo Camporeale, Head of Maritime Digital, Inmarsat
Marco holds an Executive Master degree in Business Administration from the BI Norwegian Business School, an Executive Master degree in Fluid Power Hydraulics from the University of Bologna, and a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Polytechnic of Bari. Marco brings with him a wealth of experience spanning from designing and engineering (he is co-inventor of patented designs) to leadership and business management. In a decade with Rolls-Royce Marine, he held key positions including Vice President Engineering for Motion Handling Solutions where he led a team realizing technological solutions for the Marine and Offshore industry, and as Vice President of Intelligent Asset Management, he led a team realizing digital solution for condition and performance management for the Marine Industry as well as the transformation towards autonomous ships. Today Marco heads Maritime Digital at Inmarsat, pushing the boundaries of digitalization at sea powered by Inmarsat platform connectivity and IoT solutions.