Leadership

The Marine Technology Society is governed by the Board of Directors, which receives strategic guidance from the Council. The Council comprises the Board of Directors, and chairs of Sections and Professional Committees. (For further information on the organizational structure, visit the Organization page.)

Note: Because society directors are volunteers, they quite properly have no interest in exposing their personal or company assets as a consequence of their activities on behalf of the association. Directors have no personal liability in connection with their board service, provided they act in good faith. Even if they exercise poor judgment, directors are not at risk as long as they do not act recklessly. The federal Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 limits the personal liability of nonprofit directors, provided they are not compensated for their board service, acting within the scope of their board responsibilities, and not engaging in criminal or reckless misconduct.

Board of Directors Biographies

President: Dr. Rick Spinrad

Dr. Richard W. (Rick) Spinrad recently retired from the position of Chief Scientist, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where he had been appointed by President Barack Obama in 2014. An internationally recognized scientist and executive with more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Spinrad was the senior scientist for NOAA, driving policy and program direction for science and technology priorities.  Prior to serving as Chief Scientist at NOAA, Rick was the Vice President for research at Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, Oregon, and from 2003 until 2010 was the head of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the head of the National Ocean Service.  Prior to joining NOAA, Dr. Spinrad served as a research director with the U.S. Navy (Office of Naval Research and Oceanographer of the Navy), where he was awarded the U.S. Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award (highest award given by the U.S. Navy to a civilian). Dr. Spinrad is the recipient of Presidential Rank Awards from Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama. Dr. Spinrad is past president of The Oceanography Society. He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the Marine Technology Society, and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), and an IMarEST Chartered Marine Scientist. Dr. Spinrad received his bachelor of arts degree in earth and planetary sciences from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He received his master of science and doctoral degrees in oceanography from Oregon State University.

President-Elect: Zdenka Willis

Zdenka Saba Willis, L.L.D is the CEO of Veraison Consulting, focusing on ocean technology and policy. She retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Senior Executive Service where she was the founding Director of the United States Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) Office. From 2006 to 2007, she was the Director of NOAA’s National Oceanographic Data Center. Ms Willis retired with the rank of Captain from the United States Navy. As Meteorology and Oceanography officer, she deployed onboard Navy survey vessels, and held a wide range of duties including: Deputy Navigator of the Navy, Deputy to Naval Deputy to NOAA; Director of the National Ice Center; Commanding Officer of Oceanographic Unit One at sea on the USNS HARKNESS, Director of the Strategic Policy Forum (a crisis simulation for Members of Congress, senior Executive branch officials, and military leaders) and as adjunct professor in the Strategic Leadership Department at the National Defense University. Ms Willis has a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina, master’s degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School and from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from Dalhousie University. Ms Willis is an MST Fellow.

Immediate Past President: Donna Kocak

Donna Kocak has been an active MTS member for over 15 years serving on the Board of Directors as VP Publications (past 3 years), Council as Chair of the Ocean Observing Systems and Underwater Imaging Committees (prior 10 years), Editorial Board, International Committee and a number of other ad hoc committees. She has contributed to the Society’s flagship publication (MTS Journal) on numerous occasions by authoring manuscripts and guest editing special editions including the 2013 and 2008 State of Technology and 2011 Biomimetics issues. She has organized conferences and workshops for both MTS and IEEE OES. She has over 25 years experience in the ocean engineering field supporting design, development and testing of various projects as well as starting a small business to develop software for underwater video/laser imaging systems. In her present position as Advanced Programs Engineer at HARRIS Corporation’s Government Communications Systems Division, Ms. Kocak is spearheading maritime projects with industry, government and academia. She holds three Master’s Degrees and was named the Space Coast Society of Women Engineer’s “2012 Outstanding Woman Engineer.”  

Vice President of Research, Industry, and Technology: Andy Clark

Ray Toll

Andy Clark's maritime career began 1974 in the Gulf of Mexico’s oilfields. In 1979, he was awarded one of Ed Link’s internships at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and stayed on until 1998, succeeding Link as Director of Engineering Research and Development. Clark left HBOI to found HARRIS Corporation’s Maritime Communications (now HARRIS CapRock) and serve as its first President. Appointed by NOAA in 2005 as Industry Liaison for the National Office of Ocean Observation, he led the national effort to engage Industry with US-IOOS. In 2008 he founded and served as CEO of CSnet International, designing and deploying international seafloor sensor networks. Currently Trustee of Florida Institute of Technology, the Link Foundation and Board of Florida Atlantic University, he’s been awarded US and International Patents for ROV systems, the Lockheed-Martin Award for Science and Technology, the Compass Distinguished Achievement Award, and now serves on the US National Committee to the United Nations (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). Clark earned his PhD in Ocean Engineering from University of Hawaii, is a licensed Professional Engineer and avid diver.

Vice President of Education: Liesl Hotaling

Liesl Hotaling

Liesl Hotaling has spent the past 20 years creating hands-on marine science and technology educational projects for primary through college students and educators. A former K-12 science teacher and adjunct community college instructor, she specializes in real time data education projects and hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational projects supporting environmental observing networks. She is currently a Senior Research Engineer with the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida; a partner in Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence - Networked Ocean World (COSEE-NOW) and the Collaborations; and Partnerships Coordinator for the National COSEE Network. She has served as the Assistant Director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE), Stevens Institute of Technology, and as a Station Biologist and Education Specialist for the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium. She holds a B.A. in Marine Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University, a M.A.T. in Science Teaching from Monmouth University, and a M.S. in Maritime Systems from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Vice President of Government and Public Affairs: Craig McLean

Craig McLean has served the public in ocean science and technology for 35 years, from his commissioning in the NOAA Officer Corps in 1981 through his retirement from active duty at the grade of Captain in 2006.  He then was selected as a member of the Federal Government’s Senior Executive Service where he now serves as Assistant Administrator for Research of NOAA.  In 2011, McLean was appointed as the U.S. Delegate to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, and in 2014 as the U.S. lead in the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, implementing the agreement between the U.S., Canada, and the European Union to enrich cooperation in Atlantic and Arctic research.  McLean is a Fellow of the Marine Technology Society and is a frequent speaker at ocean technology and policy events. He has commanded ocean research ships, worked as a maritime attorney, and was the founding director of NOAA’s Ocean Exploration program. 

Vice President of Communications: Erika Montague

Donna Kocak

Erika Montague holds a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Johns Hopkins University, as well as MS and BS in Biology from California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo. As Director of Science and Technology, Dr. Montague brings over 15 years of experience to OceanGate Inc., conducting research with the use of submersibles, ROVs and deep-sea landers for numerous oceanographic expeditions around the globe. She serves as the chief scientist and project manager for research and development, assisting clients with the implementation of existing and new technologies to meet their specific needs. Dr. Montague worked as a fellow in the Engineering Division at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), where she managed the development of several custom monitoring systems. Prior to MBARI, Dr. Montague was a researcher at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI) where she supervised the design and maintenance of the autonomous deep-sea observatory Eye-in-the-Sea (EITS), and led cruises to study bioluminescent life forms and test underwater technologies. Dr. Montague currently serves as the chair of the Ocean Exploration Committee.

Vice President of Section Affairs: Dr. Richard Crout

Dr. Richard Crout currently is a Supervisory Oceanographer and Head of the Ocean Sciences Branch within the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Oceanography Division at Stennis Space Center. He is involved in the analysis of satellite-derived ocean color data and coastal altimetry for Navy applications, processing ocean parameters from profiling gliders, and building an operational multi-mission satellite processing system. His interests include satellite, physical, and coastal oceanography; specifically the application of satellite remote sensed data (visible, infrared, and microwave altimetry data) to ocean phenomena.

Prior to his arrival at NRL, Dr. Crout was an Oceanographer at NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) and was responsible for the quality control of meteorology and oceanography data from NDBC, Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO), and Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) buoys. He supported the replacement of obsolete instrumentation in the TAO array by analyzing data from co-located buoys and served as Chief Scientist on NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana during a three week TAO cruise to the 170o W meridian. He led the effort to acquire, process, quality control, store, and display current profile data for more than seventy oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Crout served as the NDBC liaison to the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) and Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS). He was the Project Manager for the Integrated Ocean Observing Systems (IOOS) Quality Assurance of Real-Time Ocean Data (QARTOD) that began to standardize and codify quality control algorithms for real-time data.

Treasurer and Vice President of Budget and Finance: Mike Pinto

Mike Pinto

Mike Pinto, after graduating with a degree in biology from San Jose State University in 1973, early career included co-ownership of a home aquarium manufacturing company and CFO of an engineering temporary employment agency. He joined the Monterey Bay Aquarium in 1983 as their first accountant and held the position of CFO/Treasurer for 16 years. In 1999, Mike joined the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) as CFO/Treasurer, the position he holds today. He volunteers as treasurer for several small non-profits in the Monterey Bay area, including the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and the Monterey Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute. Mike has served for more than ten years as a volunteer for the MATE ROV competition at both the regional and international competitions as well as being the Finance Chair for the OCEANS ‘16 Conference in Monterey.


Board of Directors Position Descriptions

All of the positions are nationally elected Board of Director positions of an incorporated entity. As such, each position has the following general requirements:

  1. Duty of care. Every state imposes upon corporate directors, by statute and by court-created legal precedents, fiduciary duties to the association. The first of these duties is a duty of care with respect to association matters. This duty (the level of competence expected of a board member) is often defined as the care that an ordinarily prudent person would exercise in a like position under similar circumstances. Board service carries with it an obligation to take association matters seriously and to devote time to consideration of issues facing the association. Directors may not rubber stamp the proposals of the association’s officers or staff without running the risk of breaching their fiduciary duty of care to the organization.
  2. Duty of loyalty. The second fiduciary duty imposed on directors is one of loyalty to the Association. Directors are required to make decisions based on what is best for the association, not what may be advantageous to their company or even to their constituency within the association--in other words, retailers as opposed to manufacturers or distributors.
  3. Duty to preserve confidential information. Directors must not disclose to others information that a board has determined to be confidential, such as communication between the association board or senior staff and legal counsel, information specific to individual member companies, and minutes of executive sessions of the board.
  4. Attend all board and committee meetings and functions, such as special events; Review agenda and supporting materials prior to board and committee meetings.
  5. Be informed about the organization’s mission, services, policies, and programs.
  6. Serve on committees or task forces and offer to take on special assignments.

President
Position dates: January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2018.

  1. Serve as the chief volunteer of the organization; serve as the principal Society spokesperson, as required, with the media, governmental agencies and Congress.
  2. Is a partner with the executive director in achieving the organization’s mission
  3. Provide leadership to the Board of Directors
  4. Chair meetings of the board after developing the agenda with the executive director
  5. Encourage board’s role in strategic planning
  6. Appoint the chairs of committees, in consultation with other board members
  7. Discuss issues confronting the organization with the executive director
  8. Help guide and mediate board actions with respect to organizational priorities and governance concerns
  9. Review with the executive director any issues of concern to the board
  10. Monitor financial planning and financial reports
  11. Play a leading role in fundraising activities (nonprofit only)
  12. Formally evaluate the performance of the executive director and informally evaluates the effectiveness of the board members
  13. Evaluate annually the performance of the organization in achieving its mission
  14. Perform other responsibilities assigned by the board or bylaws

President-Elect
Position dates: January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2018.

  1. Chair of the Membership and Sections Committee, which is made up of the vice-president of section affairs, the vice president of government and public affairs and the section chairs.
  2. Chair, Nominating Committee 

Vice President, Research,Industry and Technology
Position dates: January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2017.

  1. Co-chair the Professional Committee Board. The Society is known and regarded for the technical expertise of our members. This expertise gets disseminated through the auspices of the Professional Committees, via conferences, workshops, networking, programs and publications. The VP oversees the policy for our professional committee work: to ensure that all members have access to information and that projects and programs are viable and relevant.
  2. Serve on the Publications Committee
  3. Serve on the Budget and Finance Committee
  4. Have direct responsibility for designated Professional Committees.
  5. Pursue opportunities for the Society to develop and maintain positive and productive relationships with businesses, companies, corporations, trade associations and other industry organizations with an interest in marine affairs and technology.
  6. Enhance communications and membership within the business and for-profit sector
  7. Oversee issues as they relate to marine technology and industry affairs

Vice President, Education
Position dates: January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019.

  1. Co-chair the Professional Committee Board. The Society is known and regarded for the technical expertise of our members. This expertise gets disseminated through the auspices of the Professional Committees, via conferences, workshops, networking, programs, and publications. The VP oversees the policy for our professional committee work: to ensure that all members have access to information and that projects and programs are viable and relevant.
  2. Serve on the Publications Committee
  3. Serve on the Budget and Finance Committee
  4. Have direct responsibility for designated Professional Committees.
  5. Ensure that the Society develops and maintains positive and productive relationships with academic institutions, laboratories—both public and private—and research institutes. Enhance communications and membership with universities and university-affiliated professionals, and with national and privately funded laboratories and institutes; seek out opportunities to excite the next generation with regard to ocean science and technology through outreach with K through 12 educators and the general public.
  6. Participate in the development of student sections and develop policy as it relates to MTS student programs and scholarships
  7. Oversee issues as they relate to marine technology research
  8. Provide timely and appropriate reporting of board decisions and actions to the membership as they relate to the education and research.

Vice President, Government and Public Affairs
Position dates: January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2016.

  1. Co-chair the Professional Committee Board. The Society is known and regarded for the technical expertise of our members. This expertise gets disseminated through the auspices of the Professional Committees, via conferences, workshops, networking, programs, and publications. The VP oversees the policy for our professional committee work: to ensure that all members have access to information and that projects and programs are viable and relevant.
  2. Serve on the Publications Committee
  3. Serve on the Budget and Finance Committee
  4. Have direct responsibility for designated Professional Committees.
  5. Pursue opportunities for the Society to develop and maintain positive and productive relationships with news media, governmental entities, the military services, and other relevant organizations with an interest in marine affairs and technology.
  6. Oversee policy and review public releases by Society officers and spokespersons on behalf of MTS as related to government and public affairs.
  7. Enhance communications and membership within the government sector and the military; oversee issues as they relate to marine technology and government/public affairs
  8. With the president, represent the organization to the media, on governmental or nongovernmental organizations and committees
  9. Provide timely and appropriate reporting of board decisions and actions to members regarding government and public affairs

Vice President, Communications
Position dates: January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2017.

  1. Responsible for ensuring that Society publications meet the highest professional standards
  2. Develop and promulgate policy regarding advertising for the journal and newsletter
  3. Oversee marketing plans for publications
  4. Oversee development, policy and direction of new publication venues—online Journals, other newsletters, student publications, website(s)
  5. Chair Publications Committee
  6. Participate in all Editorial Board functions
  7. Chair ad-hoc committees as they relate to publications: website development, student/children publications
  8. Serve on the Budget and Finance Committee
  9. Oversee issues as they relate to publications
  10. Provide timely and appropriate reporting of Board decisions and actions to the membership publications

Vice President, Section Affairs
Position dates: January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018.

  1. Responsible to the president for the activities of all Society sections
  2. Serve on the Membership and Sections Committee described in Article IV Section 5 of the bylaws.
  3. Chair three yearly section chair teleconferences
  4. Facilitate dialogue and interaction among sections, and assist in finding speakers and topics to energize local section meetings.
  5. Advocate on behalf of the sections for programs and support
  6. Perform other responsibilities assigned by the board
  7. With the VP, Education and Research, oversees the development of the student sections and student section issues

Treasurer and Vice President of Budget and Finance
Position dates: January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018.

  1. Responsible for the supervision of Society funds
  2. Supervise and oversee Society investments
  3. Have custodial authority of all Society funds on deposit in banks or trust companies designated by the Board
  4. Responsible for financial reporting to the Board at such frequency and in such format as the Board shall demand
  5. Serve on the Publications Committee
  6. Serve as Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee
  7. Have direct responsibility for developing, in concert with the Executive Director, the annual national budget
  8. Oversee issues as they relate to financial decision-making, including proposals for funding, scholarships and other programs
  9. Interact with MTS conferences and act as financial liaison to those conferences

 

 

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