February 2022 President's Letter

Bravo Zulu to the OCEANS 2022 Chennai for successful conference. Once again, the conference was conducted in a hybrid mode that permitted attendance and speakers from all corners of the world to have engaging and substantive conversations. Along with a strong technical track the team conducted a hackathon, an ECOP session, a Women in Engineering Session and the kick-off of the IOC activity co-sponsored by MTS and the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) - Forum for Dialogue with Industry: How can industry work with science and government to advance Ocean Observing for 2030? This forum is designed to capture feedback from industry partners to maturing the ocean observing market and will result in recommendations that both MTS and GOOS have the ability and interest to act upon. Together we will identify the barriers and the opportunities. In the coming weeks we will have more information on this new action on the MTS and GOOS website and look forward to engaging all of you on this activity. Congratulations to the Aryan Anand, Akash R and Shreya Keshri, winners of new MTS Nanda Student innovation. This award has been set up in memory of Dr. Kumar Nanda, who was a strong supporter of MTS and especially the students. Thank you to Dr. Nanda’s family and friends for setting up the fund and for their contributions. We also thank the following organization who joined MTS in sponsoring this award:  ELEKTRONIK LAB, Inmarsat, Sonardyne, and Aries.

Our next event is Oceans In Action in Gulfport, MS 7-10 March, which I am positive will be a forum with thought provoking conversation. MTS will be represented by several board members at Oceanology International in London in March. We are so pleased that Captain Don Walsh will travel to London to award the second winners of the Captain Don Walsh Award for Ocean Exploration award, which has been won jointly by Commander Victor Vescovo, USN, Retired and Patrick Lahey for the 2019 Five Deeps Expedition.  I will be moderating one of the Oceans Futures conference sessions which will in part will be the second session of our IOC activity - Dialogue with Industry. MTS will have a booth. The board members attending would love to see you on the floor of OI. Amanda Johnston, from HQ, will be attending. Please reach out to her so we can find time to visit your booth and connect with you.

Two studies were released at the end of last year that discuss the importance of the Ocean Enterprise. NOAA and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System program released The Ocean Enterprise Study 2015-2020, and Canada, under the sponsorship of COVE, released the Canadian Ocean Enterprise 2020 report. The studies provide an assessment of the Ocean Enterprise in both countries. Importantly, both studies used the same methodology, which is in concert with the original study within the United Kingdom, to allow us to make valuable comparisons. 

Some statistics from the two studies:

  • Within the U.S. the number of companies identifying with the Ocean Enterprise grew by 300 from the previous study (2015).
  • The U.S. revenue has grown by almost $1b from the previous study, which equates to a modest growth of about 7% over five years.
  • The number of US Ocean Enterprise businesses engaged in support to offshore renewable energy has more than doubled, an especially interesting result given that geographical markets for products and services to renewable energy, comprising mostly offshore wind, currently lie outside of the U.S., meaning that this is predominantly an export activity for the companies involved.
  • In Canada the revenue is between $1.1-$1.3B CAD
  • Revenue per capita is comparable with the United States and exceeds the US in the number of companies per capita.
  • 60% these companies generate revenues in the range of $1M-$20M. A majority of the companies focused solely on hardware/product development; limited focus on value-added services or analysis.

Let me end with a tribute to the late Ann Jochens who passed away on December 1, 2021. Ann was a stalwart in our community and passionate about not only about a sustainable Gulf of Mexico but for the people who working in the ocean sciences and the entire ocean community. She was a long-time editor of the MTS Journal.  I had the chance to work with Ann in her excellent leadership as the first Executive Director of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA), a multi-entity partnership of government agencies, academic & research institutions, and private industry working to develop a comprehensive ocean observing system for the Gulf. Her leadership and dedication was key to success that IOOS now has with a national network of 11 RA’s working together and providing an immense amount of ocean observations, knowledge and services to both the United States and the world. 

Welcome new commercial and life members: Caribbean Oceanography Aquaculture and Subsea Technology Foundation; Daniel Rudnick; and Elizabeth Wright-Fairbanks.

I am always happy to engage with our members -  [email protected].

Best Regards,


Zdenka Willis, MTS President


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