Holding a lifelong interest in boats and planes, Richard J. Burke, PhD, FRINA was steered toward a career in naval engineering since his formative years. At the age of 16, he worked at an engineering firm where he swept the floors, where he soon enough garnered a relationship with the boss who would show him his engineering books. After finishing high school, Dr. Burke attended Maritime College, where he completed a Bachelor of Science in engineering and naval architecture in 1972. Continuing his studies, he received a Master of Science in naval architecture and marine engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974 and a Doctor of Philosophy in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, under the tutelage of Dr. Frank Kaminsky.
Today, Dr. Burke is an ABS professor of naval architecture and marine engineering in the Department of Engineering at Maritime University, State University of New York (SUNY). Having taught at the institution for nearly two decades, he previously chaired the department from 2002 to 2014, until taking on the role of the executive director of the Global Maritime Center. In his career, Dr. Burke has directed five engineering programs comprised of approximately 600 undergraduate students and about 25 a faculty and staff members. He also had the opportunity to take a sabbatical during the 2014 to 2015 academic school year as a presidential fellow at the Research Foundation of SUNY.
In the earlier years of his career, Dr. Burke taught at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and directed several Master’s degree programs at its Lally School of Management. Alongside his primary roles, he also maintained his own consulting company, Productivity Sciences Inc., between 1988 and 1995. To remain abreast of his industry, Dr. Burke currently maintains affiliation with the Society of Naval Architects and Engineers and the American Statistical Association, having previously been involved with the U.S. Salvage Association Inc., Mobile Shipping and Transportation Company and the U.S. Department of Energy. Notably, he received the Chancellors Award for Faculty Service from the State University of New York.