Rick Spinrad Steps Down as MTS President

June 2, 2020

Dear MTS Community,

Each day brings new challenges and new opportunities. At MTS, the same is very true. Thus, it is with both a measure of melancholy and a similar measure of gratitude that I share with you that Dr. Rick Spinrad, who has served MTS as our President since January 2019 stepped down from his role on June 1, 2020.  

I want to take this opportunity to thank Rick for his strong leadership that spanned five years as President Elect and President. Rick has positioned MTS with a strategic framework and strong foundation to be successful for many years to come. Rick championed many accomplishments that include:

  • Led an effort to bring more benefits for members, expand our outreach and engagement with key partners, and build important programs to attract new members of our community while expanding services to our core membership.

  • Initiated meaningful dialogues with a broad array of potential new partners, including a number of professional societies, industry organizations and expanded discussions with the federal agencies. 
  • Shepherded the pilot program to offer the Chartered Marine Technologist (CMarTech) certification, an idea enthusiastically embraced by our corporate members, both large and small.

  • Celebrated some “firsts” with our Sections and Committees that included (1) the MTS Buoy Technology Committee’s first international Buoy workshop in Tasmania (2) the Great Lakes’ Lakebed 2030 TechSurge and (3) the “Autonomy and the Blue Economy” Forum ahead of the annual Crab Fest.
  • Encouraged the next generation of ocean scientists and technologists through competitions including the International MATE ROV competition and the National Ocean Sciences Bowl; teaming up with the Walter Munk Foundation for the Walter Munk Award; restarting the Maritime Industry Mentoring Program and inviting young professionals’ input to the MTS board.

  • Established two prestigious awards honoring pillars of our community: the MTS John P. Craven Mentor that recognizing service through mentoring and with the Society for Underwater Technology the Captain Don Walsh Award for Ocean Exploration recognizing contributions toward the advancement of ocean exploration.

  • Amplified MTS’ voice on the importance of marine technology in policy making, scientific understanding, and economic prosperity through his leadership role in the White House Ocean Summit and positioning MTS as a partner for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for the Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

  • Expanded the society’s communication efforts with a new website, mtsociety.org; mini-sites for many of our Sections and Committees; and launched Eddies, our biweekly eNewsletter.  

Finally, as the global community has grappled with the COVID-19 crisis, Rick provided unfailing leadership as we faced difficult decisions on the moving our OCEANS conferences to a virtual venue; staffing decisions for our headquarters, and the initiation of a series of virtual conferences and webinars covering critical strategic issues, such as the Seabed 2030 mapping effort and the timely discussion for graduate students regarding job opportunities during the pandemic. 

Rick, “Bravo Zulu,” for an outstanding tenure as President, and I am pleased that he has agreed to continue leading the CMarTech certification.  I am honored to follow Rick as President of MTS and look forward to working with each of you as together we continue to build MTS that serves members, champions advances in marine technology and communicates the importance of the marine technology sector to our everyday lives.


Zdenka Willis
MTS President

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