May President's Message

I write this with the background “music” of the Brood X Cicadas that have emerged along the East Coast of the United States.  This 17-year occurrence has folks reflecting – where was I, when the Cicadas emerged in 2004.  I was in my final tour in the United States Navy in the roles of Deputy Navigator of the Navy and Navy liaison to NOAA, yet to have been part of the Marine Technology Society.  

What was the state of ocean technology? I am sure you each have your own stories. Here are two technologies that the United States Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) championed:

High Frequency radar:  2004: Less than 20 radars in the United States, no global coordination, little understanding on how to use the system for search and rescue or oil spill response. 2021: 176 radars in the IOOS network, 43 countries have joined together under the Global HF Radar Network, being used operationally in many areas and a long-term climate record exists. 

Ocean Gliders: 2004:  Within the United States, multi-glider missions were just being funded by the Office of Naval Research, and NOAA was experimenting with gliders to support harmful algal bloom detections. 2021: Globally, gliders are being routinely used for both persistent missions and campaigns such as hurricane picket lines and thousands of days being flown each year.   Ocean Gliders are also a component of the Global Ocean Observing System.

Speaking of reflections, congratulations to Dr. Rick Spinrad, who was nominated by President Biden to serve as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  He stated he first came to work in Washington two Cicada cycles ago in 1984 and is thrilled to be returning as NOAA’s nominee.  Rick, had his confirmation hearing on May 20, 2021 and the next step is the United Senate’s Commerce committee will vote on his nomination which is expected to happen in June. In anticipation of a positive outcome, I would like to express on behalf of MTS a sincere thanks to Rick for all he has done for MTS and we look forward a continued strong partnership with NOAA.

In doing an internet search of the term Blue Economy, I found that Gunter Pauli is credited with introducing this term in his book, The Blue Economy: 10 years, 100 million jobs (2004). See above! His organization continues to document cases of Blue Economy innovations.  MTS continues to engage in the Blue Economy discussion through our partnership with the Ocean Exchange.  We have had more than 300 participants on our first 3 webinars and invite you to join us each first Wednesday of the month at 11 am Eastern Standard Time, expect in July which was moved to July 14th.  Each of our webinars feature an expert in the field and a start up company. We hope you can join us for our next event on June 2. Elias Greenbaum, GTA, and Jeff Andreini, Crowley Marine will discuss Offshore Energy. Register here.

Shout out to MTS member, Seatrec, who was selected as a Finalist by Fast Company for their World Changing Ideas Award.  Their SL1 thermal Energy Harvesting System made it as a finalist for Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards in the category of General Excellence. The SL1 also received Honorable Mention in the Energy category. The awards honor the businesses, policies, projects, and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to pursuing innovation when it comes to solving health and climate crises, social injustice, or economic inequality.

Welcome to our new Corporate Members -  CAMERI - Coastal and Marine Engineering Research Institute, DOER Marine Operations, DTN Ventures, PREVCO Subsea, LLC.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of two notable passing’s in our community. 

Mr. K Nadakumar, Founder and Secretary of MTS India section CEO, Elektronick Lab. Dr. Venekatesen, Chair MTS India Section, expressed our collective sentiments best – “The words can't take away the pain of losing the most honest and energetic person. It would be difficult to measure the impact he had on many people's lives he touched, personally and professionally.”

Rear Admiral Rick Brennon, NOAA Corps, who served the nautical charting community with professionalism and dignity for nearly three decades.  A team player and a passionate leader. 

I am always happy to engage with our members. You can reach me by email at [email protected]

Best Regards,

Zdenka Willis

President, MTS

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