Customer Profile: Meet Ed Leblanc, Ørsted’s Head of Marine Affairs

The concept of “safety first” requires layers of details that perhaps render it easier said than applied. Ed LeBlanc, Ørsted’s Head of Marine Affairs U.S. Offshore Wind, has stood for safety on the water with passion and diligence for nearly 50 years.

LeBlanc came to Ørsted in 2019 following a four-decade career in the United States Coast Guard, most recently serving as the Chief of Waterways Management at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England since 2003.

“My career path in the Coast Guard revolved around safety in a variety of forms,” LeBlanc said. “Safety with respect to search and rescue, and trying to prevent search and rescue cases but also being prepared to execute smartly and efficiently.”

During LeBlanc’s years as Chief of Waterways Management, he helped lead teams that designed fairways and channels to facilitate safe navigation. This included marking channels and fairways with the appropriate lights and signals and establishing anchorages to safely accommodate vessels.

“Waterways management meant working with various ocean users to deconflict the use of the waterways to keep each of those ocean users using the ocean as they intended to,” LeBlanc said. “Facilitating commerce is a huge challenge. And keeping everyone safe is an equally huge challenge.”

That’s among the reasons LeBlanc was so impressed with Ørsted.

“Ørsted was definitely an industry leader in its approach to safety and professionalism,” LeBlanc said. “I was really impressed with Ørsted before I joined, just understanding how much they are committed to safety, even in small things.

“I went to their headquarters in Denmark. It’s a beautiful building with plenty of stairs. I recall going up and down the stairs and people saying to me and others ‘hand on the handrail.’ It was just a real key indicator. A small yet significant indicator of how safety is ingrained into their culture.”

LeBlanc’s career with the Coast Guard served as a foundation for his work with Ørsted. Now he’s experiencing another seamless transition, using his experiences in his work with Sea Services North America.

“As a co-op led by fishermen who also hold safety at sea as a core value, Sea Services provides an effective way for the fishing community to connect into commercial opportunities on our projects. Ørsted is very interested in seeing the fishing community thrive,” LeBlanc said. “Ørsted wants to thrive in the offshore wind business, creating a world that runs entirely on renewable energy. We also want commercial fishing to thrive right along with us.

“We are proud to have assisted Sea Services through its set up phase, and frankly excited to see other offshore wind developers adopting Sea Services as a turnkey method to facilitate safe navigation in the vicinity of offshore wind farms, provide an alternative source of income for active fishing families, and to make their vessels safer. Truly in my view, a win-win situation.”