Martha Grabowski



Martha Grabowski is the Distinguished McDevitt Chair in Information Systems, Professor of Managment Information Systems, and Director of the Information Systems Program at Le Moyne College, Syracuse, New York; she is also a Research Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. A member of the American Bureau of Shipping, she is a Lifetime National Associate of the National Academies/National Research Council. From 2012-2014, she chaired the National Academies' study on Arctic Oil Spill Response for the American Petroleum Institute, the Arctic Research Commission, the Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Marine Mammals Commission. From 2008-2010, she served as vice chair of the National Academies' policy study for NOAA assessing the nation's tsunami readiness (National Academies, 2011a), and from 2008-2011, she chaired the National Academies' study examining the Future of Naval Engineering in the 21st Century for the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research (National Academies, 2011b).

In 2011, Dr. Grabowski completed an 8-year industry-academia-government research project evaluating safety culture in marine operations and developing leading indicators of maritime safety performance for the American Bureau of Shipping, the U.S. Coast Guard, Exxon Shipping Company (SeaRiver), Overseas Shipholding Group and Maersk, Inc. The results of that research identified a series of key performance indicators and safety culture improvements adopted by the industry participants and heralded at the October 2011 Coast Guard senior leadership 'Missions' conference. The project also developed a series of marine industry safety culture survey instruments, and benchmarked results with aviation, medicine, nuclear power and chemical process plant data sets.

NTSB, Martha panel Sept 2013

Research & Projects

Dr. Grabowski and her research groups are currently (2017-2018) developing a Big Data Risk Analytics assessment for the U.S. Coast Guard, including a prototype decision support capability for District 8/Sector New Orleans. This work follows a series of major maritime risk assessments over the past twenty years, along with colleagues at the George Washington and Virginia Commonwealth Universities. These risk assessments – in Prince William Sound, Alaska, the lower Mississippi River, and two studies in Puget Sound – developed the risk framework and the suite of risk assessment tools now utilized by the U.S. Coast Guard in its Port and Waterways Safety Assessment process (PAWSA). In addition, the consultative analytic-deliberative risk processes adopted and followed by their research groups serve as models for risk assessment activities around the world, echoing the best practices advocated by the National Research Council (Stern & Fineberg, 1996).

In earlier work, Dr. Grabowski developed a suite of embedded intelligent piloting systems in a decade of collaborative research projects for the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration, several coastal states, the Southwest Alaska Pilot's Association, and a variety of shipping companies, environmental groups and native corporations, following the grounding of the Exxon Valdez in 1989. The constant thread running through all of Dr. Grabowski's research projects is a consultative analytic-deliberative partnership linking industry, academia and government, in pursuit of shared decision processes and stakeholder resolution of large, complex problems. Currently, Dr. Grabowski is studying the challenges associated with oil spill response & logistics/supply chain resource allocation, as well as in extreme warning systems, cyber security, and large-scale debris removal.


Dr. Grabowski is a licensed former merchant officer and retired LCDR in the US Naval Reserve. She received a B.S. in Marine Transportation/Nautical Science from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and an M.B.A., an M.S., Industrial Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Management/Information Systems from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In general, her research focuses on the impact of technology in safety-critical systems; risk analysis and risk mitigation in large-scale systems; and the role of human and organizational error in high consequence settings.

Hyak at the dock