ALUMNUS MATTHEW KROG FINDS NEW APPLICATIONS FOR SKILLS LEARNED AT CAL MARITIME
As with many Cal Maritime graduates, Matthew Krog’s journey has taken a few unexpected, albeit positive, turns. After graduating from Cal Maritime in 1981, Krog went from a 10-year career as a merchant marine where he held every position from deck hand to navigator, to his position now of vice president of Lamin-Art, a U.S.-based, privately held company that has supplied the commercial A+D industry with innovative laminates for more than 50 years.
The insight into other countries—as well as the communication and leadership skills—he gained through Cal Maritime and the maritime industry have proven invaluable in his career today.
“I’ve said to both of my children that the best education I could ever give them is travel and exposure to cultures all over the world,” says Krog. “That was certainly facilitated for me while at Cal Maritime and sailing internationally.”
Pointing to his exposure to the Japanese culture, Krog finds the ability to understand other cultures to be an essential skill in life and in business.
“In business, you have to learn to deal with people in all sorts of environments,” Krog said. “For example, having had the exposure to the Japanese culture while sailing in and out of Japan has helped me now in dealing with our vendors.”
Krog’s decision to make the move out of the maritime industry and into the corporate world was based on a desire to spend more time with his family. After looking for shore-side work, he was struggling to find a position that he found stimulating and had a clear course for future advancement. About that same time, his father Don Krog, who had purchased Lamin-Art in 1982 and relocated it to the Mid-West, was looking to fill an operations position.
“I was on my way back to the West Coast, having delivered a ship in the U.K., and I came through Chicago. My father needed to find someone with a strong operational background that he could trust—and I was in need of a position where I could use my skills.”
Now, after twenty-five years with Lamin-Art, Krog still finds use of the skills he learned in the maritime industry. In addition to the cultural and communication skills, there are many aspects of Lamin-Art’s business that tie to the maritime industry.
Krog is able to stay connected to the industry he grew up in by developing materials that are both beautiful and sturdy enough to endure the elements of the sea, as well as making them IMO-certified.
“I’m lucky in that I’ve been able to utilize my maritime experience in developing materials for the cruise ship industry—and other interior installations like hotels and retail environments.”
From understanding interior design needs and industry nomenclature to the requirements that USCG and IMO have, Krog is well versed in the industry.
“Knowing what happens in a ship yard and having my familiarization with ships gives me credibility, as well as insight into what people are looking for and what they’re talking about,” Krog said.
Despite all his successes, Krog still feels the tug of the sea. “I miss it.” Krog said. “I still hold my Master unlimited license, and work at staying current with the industry developments.”