MTS Board of Directors Election

There are four positions open for the 2022 MTS Board Elections:

President-Elect

Vice President of Early Career Ocean Professionals

Vice President of Education

Vice President of Government and Public Affairs

Candidates for MTS Board of Directors

President-Elect

Term: Two (2) years, January 1, 2023-December 31, 2024 as President-Elect; January 1, 2025-December 31, 2026 as President; and January 1, 2027-December 31, 2028 as Immediate Past President. 
Description: The President-Elect shall exercise such authority as may be delegated by the President. The President-Elect also serves as the Chair of the Membership Advisory Group. The term of Office of the President-Elect is coincident with that of the President.

Headshot for Susan Hunt

Susan Hunt works at Canada’s Ocean Supercluster as Chief Technology Officer and is responsible for the organization’s activities related to collaborative technology development and commercialization focused projects. She was a founding member of the organization’s senior management team, and currently manages a $360M+ portfolio of activity spanning across ocean industries. She is responsible for the organization’s commercialization-focused programming as well as its activities related to IP and data.

Prior to the Ocean Supercluster, Susan managed collaborative research programs for Canada’s offshore oil and gas sector, was an ocean technology company executive, and established Mitacs, a Canadian Network Centers of Excellence, in Newfoundland and Labrador. She has also spent 6 years working in the US ocean sector as an product development manager, a digitalization leader and a naval architect.

Susan has a Bachelor of Naval Architecture & Oceanic Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a Master of Science in Information Systems and a MBA from the University of Washington.

Indicate one or two key goals that you hope to accomplish in this position over the next 3 years:
MTS’s strength and history and caliber as it relates to events, member-focused programs, and dissemination of information is clear; there’s lots of great stuff happening in lots of spots. But when I look at the aspiration for MTS at an organizational level to facilitate a broader understanding of the relevant of marine tech to wider global issues by enhancing the dissemination of marine tech information, I wonder whether more could be done to be more prioritized, clear and compelling to the general public, major global ocean initiatives, non-traditional domains and to other ocean organizations with complimentary mandates, while still holding true and in fact leveraging the organization’s core roots and competencies. This seems like a tall order but the organization has a clear opportunity to better resonate with a younger, more dynamic and more diverse workforce, as well as attract non-ocean students and workers to the sector. There also seems to be an opportunity to build an engagement process that creates opportunities to strengthen community, member interest and new subscriptions while we’re doing it.

It isn’t totally clear, from a strategic standpoint, how the sum of all MTS parts collectively contribute to advancing towards a more sustainable economy in a way that can be immediately understood through its topline branding and it activities despite aspirations to this end. The MTS brand and competitive advantage is challenging to grasp from the comprehensive but somewhat complicated and unpersonal website. What success for MTS looks like in 5 or 10 years, what is the path and outcomes required to get there, and whether and how members and sections were directly supporting such efforts didn’t jump out at me.

The awards and recognition seem to be in line with an individual academic and merit system that may be too daunting, onerous and inaccessible to some individuals who are looking to get more than prestige from their involvement, and I wonder whether there’s more to be done to develop opportunities in the first instance as well given the strength of MTS’s bench. And finally, I was not clear what MTS’s relationship is to the many relevant global ocean networks that have emerged in the last several years, who MTS is partnered with and why, and whether collaboration could be a bigger part of MTS’s brand and recipe for success.

Overall, I think gaining clarity around growth targets and KPIs, opportunities for streamlining and simplifying communication around MTS’s aspirations, and asking more questions how MTS brands itself to the next generation of ocean workers, would be the first things I would like to better understand, knowing that working with members, management and colleagues to refine or re-define objectives as appropriate would be a critical success factor of such a process.

Discuss the qualities and experience you possess that make you a strong candidate for the position for which you are running:
Diversity of ocean experience
My entire career has been spent in either ocean product development, manufacturing and ocean operations, or leading ocean-focused collaborative innovation and talent programs and initiatives. I have worked for a large high-volume boatbuilding company, a fast-growing ocean tech startup, a university-based research center of excellence, a consortium of oil and gas companies, and a national multisector ocean cluster initiative. I have spent many hours on the water, the manufacturing floor, the design room, operations control, the Board room, the classroom, and at the podium. I’ve played the role of architect, engineer, production manager, process designer, coder, domain expert, entrepreneur, researcher, advisor, coach, student, teacher, facilitator, and leader across many ocean domains. My broad, in some cases deep, and diverse experience in oceans work has provided me a good foundation for this assignment.

Relevancy of experience to the MTS president role
In all of my assignments, I have been successful in delivering outcomes that have made significant impacts to the culture, bottom line, team dynamics and operational paradigm of where I worked. Communication, organization, service, collaboration, creativity, commitment, and tenacity are the strengths that best represent what I bring to an organization. My three NPO assignments have placed me in an interface role between industry and either academia, government and/or other industry, and often as an evaluator, advisor and connector, where one’s personal integrity and brand is visible and critical to the success of the organization, such as would be the case for this assignment. My private sector work has been similar, where I have acted as the organization’s interface between customers, departments, and facilities in a primarily technical or oversight capacity. My experiences, qualities, and track record are in line with what I think MTS would be seeking in a person taking on a leadership role.

Personal interest and opportunity for advancement
There is a good balance in my candidacy with respect to providing service and leadership to MTS while creating an opportunity to advance my own career, as this would be my first time taking on an organizational lead role. Given my background of scaling and streamlining processes, programs, and organizations in Canada and the US in particular, I think I could ramp up and make an impact with this organization relatively quickly. My interactions with MTS representatives to date have been honest, positive and to-the-point, which aligns well with how I like to work. There is also an opportunity to act as a role model and to give back to quite a large community of ocean-focused individuals across regions and sectors, which I find relevant and compelling given my background. And finally, the established international multi-disciplinary focus of MTS is an impressive foundation to work from, with MTS appearing to have a lot of potential, but not without challenges, which is interesting to me at a fundamental level.

Headshot for David Millar

David Millar is Fugro’s Government Accounts Director for the Americas region. Based in the Washington, DC area, Mr. Millar serves as Fugro’s key account manager for the United States government, other national governments within the Americas Region, the United Nations, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. In this capacity, he is Fugro’s primary interface with government customers in the Americas. He is responsible for overseeing the development and execution of Fugro’s partnerships with public sector clients and overseeing Fugro’s collaborative science (with government, academia, and NGOs) activities within the region. Mr. Millar also leads Fugro’s global support of and participation in Seabed 2030 and the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. In this capacity, he directs all Fugro activities related to both programs and serves as Fugro’s primary interface to The Nippon Foundation, GEBCO, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the United Nations. Mr. Millar is also a member of the GEBCO Guiding Committee, a member of NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Advisory Board and has more than 30 years of ocean and coastal mapping, marine geophysical and hydrographic survey experience. Over his professional career, he has been involved in various aspects of marine science and technology, spanning field operations, operations management, software development management, business development, executive management, and the science-policy interface. He holds a B.Sc. in Math and Physics from Mount Allison University and a B.Sc.E. in Survey Engineering from the University of New Brunswick.

Indicate one or two key goals that you hope to accomplish in this position over the next 3 years:
1. I would like to strengthen and formalize the relationship between MTS and the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development through an official partnership that would leverage MTS' membership, network and infrastructure to support and scale up the implementation of the Ocean Decade from a marine technology perspective, bringing value to MTS members, the Ocean Decade and ultimately society at large.

2. Given the increased urgency of and focus on climate change, the ocean-climate nexus, and the critical role of marine technology in addressing ocean-based climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, I would like to establish a new professional committee on the Ocean-Climate Nexus.

Discuss the qualities and experience you possess that make you a strong candidate for the position for which you are running:
During a professional career that spans over 30 years, I have been involved in many diverse aspects of marine science and technology. I have worked in the field and have hands-on experience with marine sensors, equipment, and platforms. I have managed complex operations on projects utilizing marine technology all over the globe. I have managed the development of software that was widely used by private and public sector clients involved in marine construction and subsea inspection projects around the world. I ran a marine technology company that provided ocean and coastal mapping services to numerous national governments, both domestic and international. And I have established meaningful and impactful partnerships with governmental organizations, inter-governmental organizations, and academic institutions that involve and leverage marine technology. This long and broad experience with many aspects of marine technology provides me with a unique perspective and strong appreciation for work of Marine Technology Society and its members. At the same time and while gaining the experience summarized above and outlined in my CV, I have gained some strong leadership qualities that are directly applicable to and would serve me well in the role of President-Elect of MTS, should my nomination be successful. These include a passion for learning, professional courage and influence, working inclusively, accountability, empathy, business acumen, delivering results and innovating.

Vice President of Early Career Ocean Professionals

Term: Two (2) years, non-renewable, January 1, 2023-December 31, 2024
Description: The Vice President of Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOP) is responsible for the oversight of the ECOP Section, supporting opportunities for ECOPs within the Society, and representing the interests of ECOPs within the marine technology sector.

Headshot for Hannah Toerner

Hannah Toerner works at American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) as a Project Manager and Vendor Coordinator for new construction vessels and offshore units as well as Program Manager for United States Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter Program. With a background in Ocean Engineering and Material Science, Hannah completed her Master’s degree from Texas A&M University in 2019 studying the experimental fatigue analysis of recycled high density polyethylene glass fiber composite materials and their use for coastal applications. She served as the MTS Vice President for the University’s student chapter which was awarded the “Outstanding Student Chapter” under her lead. After obtaining her graduate degree, Hannah worked as a Coastal Engineering Consultant on the Great Lakes, analyzing the environmental and economic impact of erosion on the Lake Michigan Shoreline, and offering coastal protection solutions to those impacted. In 2020 Hannah received the MTS Young Professional award in recognition of her research and involvement with the Society. In late 2020 she joined the UN Decade Informal Working Group of Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) and took on the role of Outreach Coordinator, aided in the development of a strategy for retaining MTS participation beyond the student sections and into young professional’s early careers.

Indicate one or two key goals that you hope to accomplish in this position over the next 2 years:
I hope to retain MTS membership status among students following graduation by promoting the ECOP program and its benefits. Additionally, I would like to kick start in person events at the section level to create a sense of community among ECOPS in MTS.

Discuss the qualities and experience you possess that make you a strong candidate for the position for which you are running:
I have been working with Alfredo (current VP of ECOPs) and Joshua Baghdady, who is spearheading this program from inception to present day. As a recent graduate who transitioned from academia to industry, while staying active in MTS, I can offer new ideas from the perspective of a current student member moving into their earlier career. I can relate to their situation and the challenges they face, as I was in the same spot less than 2 years ago. I also have a long standi g history with MTS. I was in the inaugural MTS Camp at Northwestern Michigan College. As a student, I lead the Texas A&M student chapter of MTS and the same year it was the recipient of the "Outstanding Student Section" Award. I have been in attendance for every OTC since 2016 and 3 OCEANS Conferences since 2017. My communication skills, leadership abilities, and innovative nature make me an ideal candidate for propelling the ECOP section further. Additionally, outside of MTS, I work with several sectors and created a large network spanning several industries and fields of study. Currently, I work as a project Manager for ABS (American Bureau of Shipping). While my job lies in the private sector, I work primarily with USCG and other government agencies on designing, constructing, and classing government vessels safely and efficiently. This position has given me the opportunity to work in several industries within the Marine Technology field including Maritime, Naval Architecture, Oil and Gas, Environmental Engineering and Ocean Exploration. These industries have seen a large influx of recent graduates joining and bringing new ideas to the table within their own companies, and I would like to give them a platform to share their ideas through MTS as well.

Headshot for Katharine Weather

Katharine Weathers joined NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information in 2021 as an Uncrewed Systems Data Coordinator. Use of uncrewed systems is growing exponentially, along with the data they collect. With proper data management, these data can be interoperable now and reusable in the future – answering today’s questions and predicting tomorrow’s challenges. Katharine had previously worked with NCEI as a contractor for General Dynamics Information Technology, as well as at the Cooperative Institute, Northern Gulf Institute at Mississippi State University in various capacities. She has also worked as a contractor with Peraton, previously Perspecta, supporting the Naval Oceanographic Office with her expertise in remote sensing. She received my master’s degree at the University of Southern Mississippi in Physical Oceanography after graduating from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and Biology. Katharine been an active participant of the Marine Technology Society since 2012 and is the current Chair of the Gulf Coast Section.

Indicate one or two key goals that you hope to accomplish in this position over the next 2 years:
In the age of social media, it is hard to know what a professional society can bring to the day-to-day life that a platform like LinkedIn cannot. As someone who has leveraged both while job-hunting, I can safely say that having a network through MTS has helped me with professional connections, job opportunities, and mentoring. I hope to be able to market these positive interactions to other ECOPs. The world is changing and so should our society if our goal is to celebrate a 100th OCEANS conference. This means realizing that the needs of the younger generations may not be the same as that of previous generations. This recognition can turn into a more targeted action in involving these younger generations to not only present or be active at our conferences or workshops, but to begin leading these activities. Skills that are learned by being active in MTS can translate to a resume for a job promotion. It’s bridging this communication gap - how MTS and ECOPs can help each other - that I hope to accomplish.

Discuss the qualities and experience you possess that make you a strong candidate for the position for which you are running:
As a seasoned Early Career Ocean Professional (ECOP), I feel that I bring experience other ECOPs are facing and will face. Being an ECOP is distinct from other areas in a career, in that it is more transitory in nature than ever before. ECOPs are not just wondering how and when we should move to another position or negotiate a higher salary, but many are enduring personal changes as well. These can be geographic moves, settling into more serious personal partnerships, having children, or becoming caretakers. The world has changed; gone are the days where ECOPs will stay at one company for 30 years, or possibly go to an office at all as COVID-19 forced the proliferation of telework. I have navigated many of these changes myself, working in a variety of environments, including industry, academia, and government. I am a good representative already working to help MTS market and cater to ECOPs, helping to set up the first Young Professionals Program at OCEANS 2020. I’ll continue this work as Deputy Co-chair of OCEANS 2023 and an active member of the society, but I feel I could make a difference as VP with my vision and experience.

Vice President of Education

Term: Three (3) years and not to exceed two (2) consecutive terms, begins January 1, 2023-December 31, 2025
Description: The Vice President of Education ensures that the Society develops and maintains positive and productive relationships with academic institutions, laboratories—both public and private—and research institutes. The position enhances communications and membership with universities and university-affiliated professionals, and with national and privately funded laboratories and institutes; seeks out opportunities to excite the next generation with regard to ocean science and technology through outreach with K through 12 educators and the general public. This position also participates in the development of student sections and develops policy as it relates to MTS student programs and scholarships.

Headshot for Josh KohutJosh Kohut graduated cum laude in 1997 with a B.S. in physics from the College of Charleston and earned his Ph.D. in physical oceanography from Rutgers University in 2002. Since then, he has been a central player in the Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership serving in several capacities including Technical Director and now as a member of the Faculty Leadership. Using networks of ocean observing technologies, his research and extension programs focus on the physical ocean processes that structure marine ecosystems. To accomplish this, Josh was an early adopter of HF Radar and underwater glider technologies, and has remained at the forefront of their development, operation and use for over 2 decades. Perhaps the most scientifically significant of Josh’s technology applications was the glider he deployed ahead of Hurricane Irene. Josh’s glider was used to identify the previously unrecognized rapid mixing and extreme cooling response of the coastal ocean that then fed back on Irene’s intensity. The discovery was published in Nature Communications and was fundamental to establishing the US Hurricane Glider Sentinel Program in 2018. Josh then adapted his Mid Atlantic HF Radar and glider technologies to the extreme and remote environment in the coastal seas surrounding Antarctica. He and his students have documented how ocean fronts and eddies focus the food web and drive penguin foraging ecology. By deploying marine technology within an integrated polar observatory, he and his team are able to map and track the mechanisms that structure these polar ecosystems.

Indicate one or two key goals that you hope to accomplish in this position over the next 3 years:
1. Increase the value of MTS membership to students and ECOPs through the introduction of new programs that enable them to build their marine technology network.
2. Extend the reach of MTS to attract all STEAM interested students and ECOPs to the great opportunities across the wide range of careers in Marine Technology.

Discuss the qualities and experience you possess that make you a strong candidate for the position for which you are running:

Prof. Josh Kohut has accumulated over a decade-long record of consistent and prolific contributions to the Marine Technology Society. Since 2010, Josh has been an author on 9 peer reviewed publications in the MTS Journal, 2 of the articles as first author. The articles focus on the use of new ocean observing technologies for science and societal applications. 

In 2013, Josh volunteered as the faculty advisor to the Rutgers MTS student section, a position he still holds today. Through this advisory position, Josh inspired a significant increase in Rutgers student participation in technology development and research applications, activities that often culminated in posters and presentations at OCEANS conferences. Since 2014, Josh has been the co-author on 75 published OCEANS proceedings papers, 13 of which have 2 student’s that Josh advised as first author. Josh has now started organizing state-wide meetings of the different MTS student sections across all the universities in New Jersey. The objective is to further broaden participation, expand the student’s network of contacts, and inspire multiple small groups of students to work together on projects that cross between universities.

To expand beyond Rutgers and New Jersey, in 2017, Josh became the founding Director of the MTS Glider Technology Camp at Rutgers. The Camp transformed an existing glider training program and enhanced it to meet MTS standards. By setting up this Technology Camp, Josh became even more familiar with MTS education programs and their importance. Since becoming an MTS fellow in 2019, Josh has served on the MTS board as the VP of Education, the position for which he is now seeking a second term. Over his first term, he has worked with the board to develop new programming that will increase the value add for student and ECOP members. Working closely with the VP for ECOPs (Alfredo Giron), he has initiated a new EMERGE program designed to give student and ECOP members a guided experience at the OCEANS meetings. If granted a second term he looks forward to growing the EMERGE program beyond this initial pilot in 2022 and expanding the programming to increase the value of MTS membership to our student and ECOP members.

Vice President of Government and Public Affairs

Term: Three (3) years and not to exceed two (2) consecutive terms, begins January 1, 2023
Description: The Vice President of Government and Public Affairs pursues opportunities for the Society to develop and maintain positive and productive relationships with news media, governmental entities, the military services, and other relevant organizations with an interest in marine affairs and technology. This position also oversees policy and reviews public releases by Society officers and spokespersons on behalf of MTS as related to government and public affairs.

Headshot for Jerry Miller

Jerry Miller is President of Science for Decisions, a consulting practice which he founded in 2013 to ensure that solid science is available to inform decisions that impact people and places around the globe. A senior executive with expertise in natural sciences and policy, Dr. Miller also served from 2015 through early 2017 as Director of the Science and Technology for Sustainability Program at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine where he addressed a wide range of issues spanning the interfaces among economic, environmental, and social sciences. These included energy supply, food security, and urban development for which marine components are of increasing importance. Previously, Dr. Miller held several senior positions, including Assistant Director for Ocean Sciences at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he was instrumental in the creation of the United States’ first National Ocean Policy and the development of its foundational science and technology priorities. Before taking on his role at the White House, Dr. Miller held positions in academia, government, and the non-profit sector. He has published widely in the peer-reviewed literature and made significant contributions to several major federal policy documents. His work has been recognized with awards both in the U.S. and abroad including for development of salinity remote sensing technology. Dr. Miller earned his B.S. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina, his M.S. in Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, and his Ph.D. in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography from the University of Miami.

Indicate one or two key goals that you hope to accomplish in this position over the next 3 years:
The inherent strength and potential of MTS lies in the talents of its members and their ability to apply those talents individually and collectively to contribute positively to society. I will work with the MTS leadership and its relevant professional committees to pursue three interdependent goals: to foster growth of membership in underrepresented sectors, to highlight and make available members’ expertise to policymakers, and to vigorously represent MTS and its capabilities to leaders and the public around the globe as well as in the US. Having been both a scientist and a policymaker, I know that the former can benefit in multiple ways from doors being opened to the world of government and public affairs, and the latter can benefit substantially from engagement with scientists and technologists when their talents are suitably articulated. My vision is an MTS that is fully attuned and engaged in governmental and public arenas that are key to success in marine science and technology.

Discuss the qualities and experience you possess that make you a strong candidate for the position for which you are running:
The 50th anniversary issue of the MTS Journal recounts statements made at the time of MTS incorporation in the early 1960s when its founders envisioned an organization that would “contribute to the national welfare.” Then as now, our marine science and technology community was engaged with government on issues of public importance. Throughout my career I have worked in and with both the public and private sectors and across the US and abroad. My current consulting activities involve individuals and institutions in Africa, Europe, and South America, as well as North America. I currently have engagements with ministers of science and technology, heads of government agencies, and legislators. Unlike in the early 1960s, our community’s capabilities and interests are now far more extensive topically and geographically, and are key to growth of the blue economy on which an increasing fraction of the global population depends. I look forward to putting my experience to work for the MTS to enhance our contributions to welfare not just nationally but globally.

Election Process

What is the election process? MTS members will receive their electronic ballots via email and voting will open on August 15th, 2022.  Voting will close on October 18th and the winners will be announced during the MTS Annual Meeting, October 19th, live at the OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads conference. An email notice to the membership of the results will be shared on October 19th, 2022. 

Questions?

Please contact Monica Ostrander at [email protected]