Board Candidate – Joel Widder

Vice President, Government and Public Affairs

About Joel

Joel Widder, co-founder and partner at Federal Science Partners, has been a government relations consultant to universities, scientific societies and associations, and technology-related companies since 2002. Together with his business partner, Ms. Meg Thompson, they formed Federal Science Partners (FSP) in 2014. Today FSP represents a variety of institutions from the academic and private sector with public policy interests that include ocean and coastal research, technology, and education issues.

Before becoming a consultant, from 1982 to 2002, Mr. Widder was a senior executive at the National Science Foundation where he served as the Acting Director and Deputy Director for the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs. He was responsible for the development and execution of the NSF’s strategy and participation in the Congressional budget process and legislative oversight process. Mr. Widder worked directly with the agency’s leadership, policy and decision-makers at other relevant Federal agencies including OMB and OSTP, and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and other relevant House and Senate Congressional committees.

Mr. Widder served for two years (2000-2002) on detail to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s former Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies where he had professional staff responsibilities for issues related to research and education, space, and the environment. Mr. Widder was an original member of NOAA’s Environmental Information Services Working Group, served previously on the American Meteorological Society’s Weather & Climate Enterprise Commission’s Steering Committee.

Mr. Widder, a native New Yorker, is a graduate of the University of Maryland. He attended graduate school at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York.

MTS and Other Association Experience

Widder is a new member of the Marine Technology Society (MTS) and has no prior involvement with the association. However, he has more than 30 years of experience in creating and executing impactful government relations strategies in support of program and policy issues germane to the interests of the members of the MTS, having senior executive-level experience within the U.S. federal government at the National Science Foundation and service to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Widder has worked closely with numerous professional societies and associations to either create or vastly improve the effectiveness and impact of their government relations programs, as well as working closely with several private sector companies and organizations to increase their return on investment with respect to government relations.  He has effectively elevated their role as a thought-leader within their industry, often related to ocean, coastal, climate, weather, atmospheric, and environmental science and technology matters.

He has provided advice and counsel, either as a consultant or member to the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the National Association of Marine Laboratories, the Sea Grant Association, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the American Meteorological Society, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. In most cases, Widder has either led or contributed to the development of government relations strategy based on a set of core principals or objectives reflecting the views of the members of the organizations. Widder has been at the center of the execution of that strategy via the interactions and relationships he builds and maintains with key decision-makers, policy advisors, and relevant media outlets.

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