As nearly every member of the Orange County, California RIMS chapter (OCRIMS) for the past 30 years can attest, Gordon Adams' involvement will have a lasting impact throughout the society. The former maritime risk manager's involvement as a leader, motivator and innovator helped OCRIMS find its footing and become one of RIMS' more successful and financially stable chapters.
But Adams' influence has transcended chapter financing and his genuine passion for the profession continues to inspire RIMS members on both local and national levels.
"As risk management professionals, we all have risk and uncertainty as common enemies," said Adams, a two-time OCRIMS president and current board member. "We all cooperatively fight risk and share knowledge and experience because we're all on the same team. There's much to gain by sharing your knowledge or experiences with someone else."
DROPPING ANCHOR IN CALIFORNIA
Adams' decades-long risk management career began a few years after graduating with a bachelor's degree in marine transportation from the Long Island-based United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1972. He had his sights set on a maritime career, but as the "union books were closed at that time," he elected to follow-up on a class experience he had while attending the Academy.
"The Academy taught deck officers basic insurance and claims documentation because you need to know how to knowledgeably document loss and damage situations on a vessel when you're in charge," Adams recalled. "When I learned I wasn't quickly going to sea, I remembered those courses and found an opportunity in the insurance industry for someone with my kind of maritime background and basic insurance knowledge."
And so, a new voyage began. After brief stints in New York and Missouri that included positions as marine underwriter and broker, he moved to California in 1986 to take a position as risk manager of marine and administration for Occidental Petroleum. He quickly became involved with RIMS at the chapter level and after relocating to Orange County, he joined OCRIMS. At that time, OCRIMS was attempting to establish itself, build financial stability, inspire and motivate membership, and identify chapter leaders and volunteers.
Adams was willing to offer his time, initially to expand his network, but also to tackle various challenges, the first of which was to generate reliable funding for the struggling chapter. With annual income and outflow of about $15,000 there was...