2020 ROV Committee Awards

April 22, 2020

Originating from the MTS Undersea Vehicle Committee in 1978 – first as a subcommittee and reconstituted in 1989 as its own entity – the MTS Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) Committee grew in response to rapidly developing unmanned vehicle technology. It quickly established itself as a leading resource for marine technicians, providing expert industry guidance through conferences, published operational guidelines, and a membership newsletter and directory. Beginning in 1990, the ROV Committee introduced its award program in order to recognize outstanding service and contributions to the ROV community. The four established awards honor individual achievement, corporate excellence, academic advancement, and the promotion of public awareness. Carrying a high degree of distinction, these accolades are awarded as deemed appropriate by the committee, rather than on an annual basis. In early February, two awards were presented at the 2020 Underwater Intervention (UI) Conference in New Orleans, LA.

Photo courtesy of NOAA

The 2020 Academic Excellence Award was presented to Mark Atherton of Kongsberg Mesotech for his 35 years of teaching sonar instrumentation and interpretation to thousands of operators. He has also published the definitive book on reading data from imaging sonar systems, Echoes and Images. Amanda Dayton of Foss Maritime was presented the 2020 Public Awareness Award in recognition of her work championing the use of ROVs and other technology to replace traditional methods for such work as ship hull inspections and surveys. She has given talks, presentations and interviews about her experiences with ROVs and her techniques and tools have been featured in magazines and other publications.

In addition to the awards, ROV Committee Chairman Chuck Richards announced the committee’s annual scholarship recipients. Since 1994, the MTS ROV Committee has provided over $500,000 in scholarships to well over 100 deserving students. Each of these students are pursuing careers in the ROV industry or are furthering the use of ROV’s. These scholarships are funded primarily with money received from UI. The 2020 scholarship recipients were Karla Haiat, who studies ocean engineering and marine biology at the University of Rhode Island; Forrest Hartman, who studies ocean engineering at Texas A&M; and Luke Gallant, an electrical engineering student at the University of British Columbia. Ms. Haiat was in attendance to receive her award.

“On behalf of the MTS ROV Committee, I was proud to present these awards to these two very deserving individuals. Both have reached thousands of people, increasing the knowledge and awareness of underwater technology and ROV’s,” said ROV Committee Chairman Richards. “It is also a pleasure to encourage the next generation of ocean engineers and technologist by providing scholarships to these hard working and very talented students.”

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