October President's Message

MTS has been picking up momentum since OCEANS 2021 in San Diego, and we are now full steam ahead. With record participation at Oceans in Action, MTS Symposium DC, Buoy Conference, and Lakebed 2030, the vibe at OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads was overwhelmingly positive! For this Navy gal, the conference was a wonderful reunion with so many shipmates. Heartfelt appreciation to Ray Toll, Laura Rogers, Dan Sternlicht, and the entire local organizing committee. Thank you to MCI-USA, Veraprise, and our sponsors, patrons, exhibitors, and attendees. 

MTS President Zdenka WillisMTS welcomed NASA as a partner this year and remains grateful to NOAA, the U.S. Navy, and BOEM, who not only supported the exhibit, but also were a key part of our panels and town halls. We thank Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, who set the positive tone that we can make a difference. With stellar panels each day, we ended with an outstanding “oceanside” chat on resiliency and the importance of the public-private partnership that featured NASA Chief Scientist and Senior Climate Advisor Dr. Katherine Calvin and NOAA Chief Scientist Dr. Sarah Kapnick.

Thank you to VP of Education Josh Kohut for leading the offshore wind panel as a precursor to the new MTS offshore wind committee we will be establishing. If you are interested in participating in the committee, please reach out to Monica Ostrander ([email protected]).

We continue to partner with IEEE OES to expand our ECOP/YP and women’s events. This year, we had record turnout for early-morning ECOP/YP and WIE breakfasts – which shows the dedication our participants share. We will be posting the women’s panel on entrepreneurship on our website, so keep an eye out!

This year was the first EMERGE scholars’ class and what a fantastic start it was. EMERGE is a fully-funded and mentor-guided program designed to enhance the OCEANS experience for a cohort of students and early-career ocean professionals. We will be featuring more about this program in upcoming issues of Currents, so stay tuned to see how you can be part of this exciting effort. Thank you to Josh Kohut, ECOP VP Alfredo Giron, and Monica Ostrander for their hard work putting this in motion.  

I hope you saw the announcement that MTS and MATE II are merging. The merger marks an exciting homecoming for MATE II. The organization’s renowned competition was created in partnership with the MTS ROV Committee in 2001 as an answer to an industry-wide call for emerging talent. We look forward to sustaining the exceptional MATE competition for decades to come.

I am pleased to announce the winners of this year’s MTS Board elections:

  • Susan Hunt – President Elect

  • Katharine Weathers – VP ECOP

  • Josh Kohut – VP Education

  • Jerry Miller – VP Government Relations and Public Affairs

Additional congratulations to all of our award winners! BZ to Sri Sairam College of Engineering Student Section, Ray Toll, J. Preetha Roselyn, Marta D. Palacios, Cassidy Gonzalez-Morabito, Jan Newton, Ocean Networks Canada, RPS North America, Deidre Gibson, and Mandy Joye, as well as to Donna Kocak, Don Peters, and Fritz Stahr – our three new MTS Fellows.

Finally, let me feature the last two webinars in our Dialogues with Industry series. This four-part online forum brings together representatives from established companies, academia, and government to develop ACTIONABLE recommendations. The next two Dialogues with Industry will take place on December 7 and January 10.  

I always welcome hearing from you. Please reach out to me at [email protected].

Best Regards,


Zdenka Willis, President, MTS

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