Oceans in Action is all About Building Connections that Advance Marine Technology

December 11, 2019

In its 9th year, the Oceans in Action Workshop, spearheaded by MTS Gulf Coast Chair Laurie Jugan with help from Section leadership, and in collaboration with the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology (MSET)  brought together an incredible array of corporate, academic, military, and government representatives for three days of information and technology sharing and networking. The last day of the workshop included business to government meetings and demonstrations at the Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX): Gulf Coast exercise.

What became clear to any first-timer at the workshop is the momentum for public/private partnerships in the Gulf, the amount of opportunity for marine technology businesses, and the magnitude of the marine technology talent in the region. Because the Naval Oceanographic Office is located at the John C. Stennis Space Center as well as many NOAA, other government agencies, and their contractors – there are more Oceanographers in the region than anywhere else.  Additionally, there has been an incredible $500 million investment in the Port of Gulfport, which includes the construction of the Ocean Enterprise Facility. All that is a strong indicator that next year’s OCEANS 2020 Gulf Coast will be an incredible workshop and one not to miss. Oceans in Actions will not be held in 2020 but instead will be incorporated into OCEANS. It will return in 2021.

Public/private partnerships and the new NOAA Unmanned Systems Strategy were the focus of a keynote address by Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., U.S. Navy (ret); Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere/Deputy NOAA Administrator.

RDML John A. Okon; Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command; and Commander, Task Group 80.7 talked about the future of the United States Navy and how being nimble in adapting advanced marine technologies is a key part of that future.

Ron Vien, Technical Director, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport, talked about the importance of the Warfare Center Partnership in the Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) with the CNMOC Operational Command. Dr. Peter Hardro, Director ANTX 2019-20 highlighted the ease with which new technologies are highlighted through the naval exercise and encouraged companies with innovative marine technologies to apply to be a part of the 2020 exercise, the results of which will be highlighted at OCEANS 2020 Gulf Coast.

Day one of the workshop focused on local and state initiatives, with talks given by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance on the year of Embrace the Gulf, Mississippi State University’s Coastal Resiliency Projects, the University of South Mississippi’s School of Oceans Science and Engineering, the Ocean Enterprise, and Mississippi’s Dept of Marine Resources. 

Technical sessions on day two included talks from Scott Kimball, US Geological Service, Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility; Dr. Richard Crout, Naval Research Laboratory – Stennis Detachment; Calista Mills of the Environmental Protection Agency; Philip Lee, Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education at the Gulf of Mexico Program; Helmut Portmann, Director, NOAA National Data Buoy Center (NDBC); Alicia Caporaso, of BOEM’s marine archaeology program; Michael Redmayne of Teledyne CARIS who talked about “Using Artificial Intelligence to Clean Multibeam Echo Sounder Data”; Chris Webb, of AI Control Technologies Inc. who talked about “The World’s First Autodive System for Marine & Aquaculture Operations,” and Justin Manley of Just Innovation, Inc. who talked about “Disruptors in Unmanned Systems” as well as a panels on Freshwater Outflow in the Gulf: Algal Blooms and Hypoxia and Mississippi’s Blue Economy.

Thanks to event partners the University of Southern Mississippi’s Marine Industries Science and Technology Cluster and Mississippi Defense Initiative; NOAA; City of Gulfport; Radiance Technologies, with additional support provided by COLSA Corporation; General Dynamics; and Teledyne Marine and in partnership with Task Group 80.7.

Authors: Lisa Stryker, Laurie Jugan

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