MTS Hawaii Section Reboots

December 5, 2019

by Liz Corbin, Former MTS President and Hawaii Section Vice-Chair

What’s Hawaii been missing out on for the past couple of years? An active MTS Hawaii section that provides that big tent for everyone interested in any aspect of marine science, technology, engineering and policy. That started changing last August when we kicked off the Hawaii Section Reboot, which was supported by visits from MTS President Rick Spinrad and Board members Liesl Hotaling and Dick Crout.

What better way to start the membership drive than a traditional “Beer on the Pier” on the evening of August’s full moon. Nearly 70 past, current and future members met on Makai Pier to catch up with old friends and colleagues, meet a new crop of students and get to know some of the young professionals that have joined Hawaii’s marine industry. The technical presentation was “On the cutting edge of deep sea developments: The ALOHA Cabled Observatory, ROV Lu’ukai, and SMART Cables” by Dr. Bruce Howe, Department Ocean and Resources Engineering (ORE) at UH Manoa.

In September, MTS Board members Dr. Liesl Hotaling (VP of Education) and Dr. Dick Crout (VP of Section Affairs) were in Honolulu to attend OceanObs’19. They took time out to attend an MTS Hawaii dinner at Assagio Ala Moana. After making presentations on their professional activities, they led a discussion of new directions for MTS Hawaii.

MTS President Dr. Rick Spinrad spent two days in Honolulu in October. Day one of his busy itinerary included a tour of NOAA’s Inouye Regional Center before he delivered a presentation on “The Push and Pull of Marine Technology.” That evening, Rick attended an MTS Hawaii dinner at Rainbow Marina featuring a technical presentation by Max Cremer, Deputy Director for Marine Technical Services for the UH Marine Center, on lessons learned from the recent loss (and subsequent recovery) of the UH deep-diving ROV Lu’ukai from the sea floor at a site over 4000m deep.

On the following day, Rick was interviewed for Hawaii Public Radio’s program, “The Conversation” (listen to the interview here), delivered a seminar at the University of Hawaii, met with UH Vice President for Research and Innovation Dr. Vassilis Syrmos, and wrapped up his visit with a dinner meeting with MTS Hawaii leaders to review the Section reboot efforts and chart the course for its future.

All the activities this fall resulted in almost doubling total Section membership from 46 to 86. Most importantly, members located in Hawaii nearly quadrupled from 15 to 55. The drive included an incentive – the Beer on the Pier event – which was free to members.

Some of the growth is attributed to renewals, but there are many that are new to MTS, including enough new students to reactivate the Student Section under the leadership of Dr. Eva-Marie Nosal, Chair of the UH Dept. of Ocean and Resources Engineering. The Section has a Facebook page and will work with MTS staff to develop a website.

Next steps: Planning for at least quarterly meetings (next meeting in January), the election of new officers, developing a strong relationship between the professional and student sections, planning for a Tech Surge conference, and continuing the membership drive by expanding outreach to the marine community, including industry, academia, and government.

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