The Marine Technology Society Announces Its 2020 Award Recipients

The Marine Technology Society Announces Its 2020 Award Recipients

Recognizing Engineers, Scientists, Technologists, Policy-Makers, Educators, And Students Who Have Made A Significant Impact

WASHINGTON, DC— The Marine Technology Society has announced its 2020 Award Winners. The diverse field of individual recipients—students, young professionals, and career professionals—have distinguished themselves in their work, through technological accomplishment, volunteer service, or mentorship. In addition, MTS is honoring a company for its outstanding contribution for the advancement in a marine technology and our MTS Committees and Sections who are foundational to the advancement of the MTS mission. Our awardees work with unfailing commitment to tackle problems that impact our globally connected society in real and tangible ways that many people aren’t fully aware of. The awards will be presented on October 8, 2020 at the virtual Global OCEANS 2020: Singapore – U.S. Gulf Coast conference.  

This year’s recipients include:

Compass Distinguished Achievement Award: Presented to an individual whose career includes achievements that have had a significant impact on the fields of marine science and technology.
Recipient – CAPT (Ret.) Craig McLean, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Acting Chief Scientist and Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

At NOAA, Captain Craig McLean directs and implements NOAA’s far reaching research enterprise. As U.S. Head of Delegation for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, he was instrumental in recognizing ocean mapping as a priority, building a coalition of delegations to support the Seabed 2030 project to map the world’s seafloor by 2030. Captain McLean serves on the Executive Planning Group for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. He has been a stalwart supporter and cornerstone of MTS leadership. Captain McLean has been driving force for increasing MTS’ visibility through leading multiple sessions, panels, and brought many internationally recognized ocean leaders and dignitaries to our events as speakers.   

Compass International Award: Presented to an individual, company, or organization (outside the United States) for outstanding contributions to the advancement of marine science and technology.
Recipient – Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and Assistant Director General of UNESCO

As Executive Secretary of the UNESCO-IOC and Assistant Director General of UNESCO, Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin is not only recognized for his leadership in the design of international initiatives such as the Global Ocean Observing System and the Joint Technical Commission of the World Meteorological Organization and IOC for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology,  but also for his embracing the importance of including professional societies like MTS as official UNESCO observers. He has championed an inclusive planning team for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development that includes MTS as a partner and a strong advocate for the Seabed 2030 global effort.    

Compass Industrial Award: Presented to any industrial firm (excluding government and non-profit organizations) that has demonstrated outstanding contributions to marine science and technology.
Recipient – CODAR Ocean Sensors LTS 

Community champion, CODAR Ocean Sensor LTD is dedicated to service and innovation.  CODAR’s unparalleled dedication to advancing High Frequency Radar is why an operational system that measures surface currents exist. CODAR has developed the algorithms to map surface currents, made significant advances in understanding antenna structures to enable compact systems, developed GPS modulation synchronization allowing multiple radars on the same frequency. The CODAR team of professionals has worked tirelessly as a partner to establish the US Integrated Ocean Observing System National High Frequency Radar network, and contributed to many global networks which are used operationally to support search and rescue; oil spill detection and response; and tsunami detection.

Lockheed Martin Award for Ocean Science and Engineering: Presented to an individual who has demonstrated the highest degree of technical accomplishment in the field of marine science, engineering, or technology. Recipient – Dr. Manhar Dhanak, Director of the joint Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Florida Atlantic University (FAU) SeaTech Laboratory

Dr. Manhar Dhanak, Director of the joint Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Florida Atlantic University (FAU) SeaTech Laboratory, conducts research that spans multiple areas of oceanengineering, from hydrodynamics to autonomous maritime systems and ocean energy. Dr. Dhanak is currently Principal Investigator of the Office ofNaval Research program to develop multi-domain maritime autonomy in support coastal monitoring and surveillance. He co-organized and hosted the successful MTS Underwater Imaging TechSurge held in partnership with NSWC and Nova Southeastern University. His expertise in experimental and computational fluid mechanics has recently been enlisted to model aerosol transport of the COVID-19 virus, as seen on CNN, NBC the New York Times, and PBS.

John P. Craven Mentor Award: Recognizing the long and impactful career of John Piña Craven, the award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding and sustained service to the field of marine technology through mentoring.
Recipient – Alan Kenny, Kenautics

Having served as Chair of the MTS San Diego Section for many years, Mr. Alan Kenny, is now serving as MTS Co-Chair for MTS/IEES-OES OCEANS 2021 San Diego . Amidst the startup of his underwater navigation firm Kenautics, he has continued to devote hundreds of hours of his personal time mentoring and providing career guidance to students and early career professionals alike. He spearheaded the MTS San Diego Section’s Internship program, placing and mentoring many students both at his former company, Teledyne as well as with Kenautics. In addition to volunteering to advise university teams around the world on navigation designs for the ONR/NAVSEA/AUVSI RoboSub international robot competition, Mr. Kenny has devoted hundreds of hours of his time to the Boy Scouts of America. His leadership of the next generation transcends the maritime realm.

Ocean News and Technology Young Professional Award : Presented to an MTS member, 35 years old or younger, who has demonstrated leadership in the Society and works in a professional capacity in management, engineering, or research and development in a marine technology field. 

Recipient – Hannah Toerner, American Bureau of Shipping

As a student, Ms. Hannah Toerner was an MTS underclassmen ambassador where she informed incoming students about MTS and their opportunities, such as scholarships and summer camps. She worked with professors to give students the option to attend the MTS camps for course credit, thus recruiting attendees. In her senior year, she served as the chapter’s vice president. Her research efforts have led to the development a composite material comprised of recycled plastics and glass fibers which she has translated into physical designs of environmentally friendly coastal structures. 

MTS Outstanding Service Award: Presented to an MTS member or member organization in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in fulfilling the objectives and missions of the Society.
Recipient – Hans Van Sumeren, Director, Great Lakes Waters Studies Institute, Northwestern Michigan College 

As the chair of the MTS Great Lakes Section, Mr. Hans Van Sumeren created the MarineTechnology student section within the Great Lakes Water StudiesInstitute at Northwestern Michigan College. Hepartnered with MTS to create the first Marine TechnologyCamp in 2016 and has continued to host the camp every year since. In October 2019, Mr. Van Sumeren led the effort to host TechSurge – Lakebed 2030 – to establish the parallels from the Seabed 2030 effort and promote the mapping of the Great Lakes as equal importance to the global mapping initiative. The TechSurge was a very successful event with over 100 attendees and 10 company sponsors and was followed up by a successful virtual webinar in 2020. He served as the Guest Editor for the most recent issue of the Marine Technology Society Journal devoted to LakeBed 2030.

MTS Outstanding Section Award: Presented to an MTS Section in recognition of activities conducted in the advancement of the objectives of the Society.
Recipient – MTS Puget Sound Section

The Puget Sound Section provided much of the personnel and support to host the successful MTS/IEEE-OES OCEAN 2019 Seattle. The Conference was attended by over 1600 delegates and showcased much of the important work and research being accomplished in the Pacific Northwest to an international delegation from around the world. Additionally, the Puget Sound section has hosted a regional MATE ROV competition for over 12 years, as well as the international competition twice, most recently in 2018.

MTS Outstanding Committee Award: Presented to an MTS Committee in recognition of activities conducted in the advancement of the Society’s objectives.
Recipient – MTS Unmanned Maritime Systems Committee

The technical realm of unmanned maritime systems encompasses possibly the largest number of MTS members and member companies, yet a cogent Professional Committee to represent this sector remained inactive for some years. At MTS/IEEE-OES OCEANS 2018 Charleston, an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Town Hall was held to reformulate and reinvigorate the new Unmanned Maritime Systems Committee. There, new leadership was elected representing the areas of unmanned underwater (including gliders), surface, aerial vehicles. This reformulated committee is once again active, supporting Unmanned Maritime Systems which enable access without constraint on ship availability. This has opened-up new frontiers while dramatically lowering costs.

MTS Outstanding Student Section Award: Presented to an established MTS Student Section that demonstrates superior performance in the advancement of the Society’s objectives.
Recipient – MTS University of Hawaii Student Section

Members of the MTS University of Hawaii Student Section have worked hard over the past year to help reinvigorate the MTS Hawaii Section. In addition to local activities, MTS Student Section members form the backbone of the UHM Marine Energy Collegiate Competition team. The team won a Department of Energy funded ECC award to assesses the technique and business plans of technologies designed to power the Blue Economy. These MTS student members also participated in the deployment of the Kilo Nalu Observatory, a shallow water cabled ocean sensor network just west of Waikiki.  

MTS Fellows: Since 1975, the MTS Fellow title has been awarded to MTS members who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the Society’s objectives and who have distinguished themselves in their fields. Recipients - Dr. Steve DiMarco, Laurie Jugan, Christian Meinig, CAPT (Ret.) Rick Williams, and Jill Zande 

Dr. Steve DiMarco, Professor of Oceanography, Texas A&M University

Dr. Steve DiMarco is an expert on circulation processes of the coastal ocean and marginal seas and has been the Chief Scientist on 40 major research cruises. Dr. DiMarco specializes in the design, operation, and application of real-time ocean observing systems to address scientific problems that impact human wellbeing. He currently serves on three standing MTS committees – Marine Education, Ocean Observing Systems, and Ocean Instrumentation. Steve developed the first U.S. certificate program in ocean observing systems at Texas A&M University.

Laurie Jugan, Program Director, Mississippi Enterprise for Technology

Ms. Laurie Jugan has served as Vice-Chair and Chair of the Gulf Coast Section, and liaison to the University of Southern Mississippi Student Section. Ms. Jugan has served on three local organizing committees for OCEANS Conferences. She also co-founded and serves as Chair of the Oceans in Action Workshops held annually since 2011. She helped to bring in the Advanced Naval Technology Enterprise as an important adjunct to Oceans in Action.

Christian Meinig, Director of Engineering, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)

Mr. Christian Meinig has contributed to MTS as a technical expert and unifying source of engagement to bring government, industry, and academia together in joint pursuits of marine engineering since 2000. As Director of Engineering at NOAA’s premier marine engineering facility, he has led and delivered technology advancements such as the Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) warning Buoys, CO2 sensors for ocean acidification detection and monitoring, ocean current sensors, the world’s deepest hydrophone for the Challenger Deep, and other enabling technologies that have advanced the entire field of marine engineering.

CAPT (Ret.) Rick Williams, Founder and Principal, Oregon Applied Research, LLC

CAPT (Ret.) Rick Williams has been a member of MTS for over 40 years. Captain Williams is a career mariner and an Explorers Club Fellow Emeritus. As Officer-in-Charge of Deep Submergence Vehicle SEA CLIFF, he oversaw its initial dive to 20,000 feet in the Middle America Trench in 1985. As the Commanding Officer of a nuclear attack submarine, he led two under-ice expeditions to the North Pole. He also spear-headed the conversion of the prototype Joint Command Ship of the Future. Upon retiring from the Navy, Captain Williams worked at Tektronix, SAIC/Leidos, and was a founding board member of the Oregon Wave Energy Trust. He is now a Senior Fellow and doctoral student in energy policy at Portland State University.

 Jill Zande, President/Executive Director, MATE Inspiration for Innovation (MATE II)

Ms. Jill Zande has served as MTS’ Vice President of Education and Research for two terms. She has chaired the Monterey Section for many years. In 2016 she served as the MTS Co-Chair for OCEANS in Monterey. In addition to significant MTS service, Ms. Zande is a global leader in the communication of marine technology. The student ROV competition she championed for two decades is one of the most influential activities in our community.

“Marine technology has an impact upon virtually every aspect of our global society,” said MTS President Zdenka Willis. “This year’s awardees represent the ‘best of the best’ in our field and their efforts are helping to advance the goals of the marine technology community while inspiring all of us to meet some of the greatest scientific, educational, and political challenges of our time."

Learn more about the MTS awards. Nominations for next year’s award will be accepted from January 1 – May 31, 2021. For eligibility and nomination instructions, visit

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