July Executive Director's Message

When MTS was launched in 1963, the founders set up a system of geographical sections and topical committees for members to self-select into. One can imagine they saw this structure as a mechanism to coalesce the diverse and growing membership around areas of interest—to support the small group interactions and conversation needed to move the landscape of marine technology forward.

This section and committee structure continues today; nearly unchanged from 60 years ago. Beyond just a sorting mechanism, this cross-cutting MTS engagement structure stitches together disparate regional concentrations of our membership with the wide array of topical expertise of individuals, companies, and partners spread across the globe. It provides unending points of connection that allow any member to connect with any other member, or topic, with only a couple of degrees of separation.

There is a unique elegance in the simplicity of this design; and an incredible power in the way it encourages and provides the foundation for collaborative collisions between members and partners.

One such collision happened between MTS members Drew Michel, Chuck Richards, and Jill Zande more than 20 years ago. A conversation on how the Society could better support the workforce development pipeline for the growing ROV industry sparked the birth of the MATE ROV Competition. Now in its 20th year, MATE is a global player in the offshore robotics workforce pipeline, while also inspiring thousands of students to explore careers across the entire marine technology spectrum. MATE grew from the motivations and priorities of the MTS community – and continues to deliver global impact, inspiration, and innovation in support of the MTS mission.

As we look toward the future of the marine technology landscape, I’m excited by the wide range of efforts within the MTS community to spark the next couple of decades of marine technology innovation – including autonomous systems to support offshore oil, gas, and wind operations, distributed IoT sensors to power environmental intelligence, and the ability to cost-effectively reach, sample, visualize, and return from anywhere in the ocean at (nearly) anytime.

Our founders could not have predicted the range of marine technologies that contribute to the 21st century fabric of innovation we are all part of today. They did, however, understand that the structure and power of engagement within the MTS community would support the creation of those technologies. It is because of our structure and our membership that MTS remains the global marine technology and innovation community.

Chris Ostrander, MTS Executive Director

[email protected]

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