Logistics and Transportation Center Welcomes New Director

Maria Burns
Maria Burns
Director of the Center for Logistics and
Transportation Policy

The College of Technology Center for Logistics and Transportation (CLTP) welcomed its new director, Professor Maria Burns, this fall.

Recognizing the University of Houston as a regional powerhouse that brings tremendous value to the industry, Burns said her attraction to UH and the College of Technology are the sustainable efforts of the leaders, faculty and staff, combined with academic excellence and hands-on experience that incorporates latest industry practices. Multilingual, with global work experience in Europe and Americas, she has a proven record of accomplishment of building and retaining international clientele. "My relocation to Texas from Europe brought me to an unparalleled socioeconomic environment where corporate excellence appears to be the norm. Houston is the city of the future, and is becoming well known as a dynamic economic, energy, trade and transport capital of international appeal," said Burns.

Inspired by founder Joy Lloyd, Burns envisions the Center of Logistics and Transportation Policy as a convergence between academia and the industry. Since her recent affiliation with the center, a number of federal research proposals have been submitted. "We need to establish a robust research environment as a means of contributing to the knowledge gap between the academia, public and private sectors," said Burns.

In addition to research, Burns said that the center will address the critical needs for support of supply chain, transportation, and maritime industry partners by offering solutions that help boost productivity, eliminate waste and errors, and training for emergency response and regulatory compliance. 

Burns is an Honorary Member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the author of "Port Management & Operations”"(2014), and "Logistics and Transportation Security: A Strategic, Tactical and Operational Guide to Resilience" (in print).

She serves as chair of the Supply Chain Security subcommittee of the Transportation Research Board of National Academies, chair of education for the Houston Maritime Museum, and editor of the Journal of Transportation Security (Springer).

Burns is an active member of the American Society of Transportation and Logistics, the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, the International Association of Maritime Economists, and the Lone Star Safety Committee.

Before embarking on an academic career, Burns worked for major maritime corporations in Europe, and subsequently served as a senior trainer and certified auditor for the American Bureau of Shipping.

She has conducted training, audits and research pertaining to regulatory compliance, including maritime security (ISPS), safety (ISM), occupational health and safety (OSHA), environmental protection (ISO 14001, VGP) and quality (ISO 9001).

Extensively experienced in global trade and maritime transportation, Burns has developed numerous training materials and industry drills approved by the US Coast Guard/National Maritime Center and the American Bureau of Shipping. A strategic thinker in global business, her expertise includes hazardous materials, crisis management and emergency response, transportation economics, banking and asset finance, budget monitoring and controlling, legal and insurance principles, hub port operations and management, and ship broking. She has participated in FEMA and US Coast Guard Auxiliary tabletop exercises and emergency response drills for security, safety, environment and quality.

Maria earned a Master of Science (best dissertation award) in International Trade & Transport from the London Metropolitan University, while completing her doctoral research with Vrije University. Her PhD thesis investigates the interaction between economy and ecology in maritime industrial development areas.

"I firmly believe that a "hands-on leadership" approach will make our center unique as we help our students understand the industry, its working practices, technologies, regulations and methods," she said.  

 In addition to support from the UH College of Technology, the center is distinguished by an advisory board comprised of government and industry professionals that represent different, yet complementary sectors. Burns believes that the support of these key players will serve as a strong bridge between academia and the industry.

For more information about the Center for Logistics and Transportation, contact Maria Burns at mburns2@uh.edu.