ST Conference Report—January 2010 IssueOCEANS'09 MTS/IEEE Conference and Exhibition
The Marine Technology Society (MTS) and the Oceanic Engineering Society (OES) of IEEE recently co-sponsored the OCEANS'09 MTS/IEEE Biloxi Conference on the Mississippi Gulf Coast from October 27 to 29. The annual conference is the largest professional society gathering of ocean science, technology and engineering professionals, according to the organizers, and this year's theme was 'Marine Technology for our Future: Global and Local Challenges.'
Presentations and Sessions
Dr. John Delaney, director of the Northeast Pacific Time Series Undersea Networked Experiments (NEPTUNE) cabled seafloor observatory project, funded by the National Science Foundation, gave a plenary talk on the NEPTUNE project. He described the ocean as 'the engine that drives the health of the planet,' and he challenged the more than 1,500 international attendees to show a commitment and devotion to understanding the ocean from subseafloor to surface, the organizers said. He demonstrated the ways in which ocean circulation, land temperatures and humidity, and the world's food supplies are related, the organizers continued, and closed by explaining that understanding these relationships is one of humanity's great challenges, because the cycles of change in the Earth's climate and their effects on the planet make it most important to measure and understand the processes of the ocean 'engine' in order to plan for the future.
Delaney's presentation—along with the plenary presentations by Edward Gough, deputy commander and technical director of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, and Dr. Jerry L. Miller of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy—can be viewed on the conference's Web site.
Corresponding with Delaney's presentation, NOAA sponsored sessions relating to building the Integrated Ocean Observing System. Town hall sessions relating to ocean measurement and policy were also daily events. In addition, there were sessions covering a wide range of marine technology, operational naval oceanography and marine research, the organizers said.
The conference featured more than 375 technical papers and 160 exhibits describing scientific and technological advancements and accomplishments. In addition, the Office of Naval Research once again supported a student poster session, providing an opportunity for international students to present projects to leaders in government, industry and academia, said the organizers. There were also innovative new programs that reached out to teachers and high school classes, they continued. Additionally, MTS president Liz Corbin said that $203,000 in student scholarships had been awarded in 2009 by national and local MTS initiatives as part of its commitment to developing the future technology work force.
At the MTS awards lunch, held each year at the conference, Compass Publications Inc. continued its tradition of presenting three awards. As the founder of Innerspace Corp. (Covina, California) and holder of 70 patents, Calvin A. Gongwer was recognized with the Compass Distinguished Achievement Award, which included a Rolex Submariner watch contributed by Rolex Watch USA (New York, New York). The Compass Industrial Award went to VideoRay LLC (Phoenixville, Pennsylvania), a producer of remotely operated vehicles. The Compass International Award went to Dr. Dhugal Lindsay, research scientist on the Deep Sea Ecosphere research team and a leader of the Picasso project at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. Lindsay is also a longtime member of the MTS Journal editorial board.
The MTS also inaugurated five new fellows during the luncheon. Among those honored were Gongwer; Dr. John Bomba, senior principal for Technip (Paris, France); Sandeep Khurana of Devon Energy Corp. (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), who the organizers said was largely responsible for the outstanding growth of the Houston, Texas, section of MTS and was a mentor to and one of the founders of the Houston Section Young Professionals Committee; Jerry Streeter of Antares Offshore LLC (Houston), former national MTS president and long-time leader in the Houston section; and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Craig McLean, deputy assistant administrator for NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, overseeing programs for climate, national sea grants, and ocean exploration and research, and chairman of the MTS Marine Law and Policy Professional Committee. During his acceptance speech, McLean urged listeners to encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers by finding 'six people who can replace you, and work to foster them.'
Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, Maryland) presented their award for ocean science and engineering to Dr. Dana Yoerger, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and leading researcher in robotics, unmanned vehicles and handling systems, the organizers said.
Wrapping up the luncheon, Corbin announced the results of the MTS election. Justin Manley of Liquid Robotics (Palo Alto, California) has been named the new vice president of government and public affairs, replacing Karen Kohanowich of the National Undersea Research Program. The other three positions that were up for election were all won by the incumbents: Dr. Jerry Wilson of Fugro Pelagos (San Diego, California) will remain the vice president of industry and technology, Jill Zande of the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center will continue as vice president of education and research, and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Karin Lynn will retain the post of vice president of publications.
The OES also held a gala luncheon during which it recognized Robert T. Bannon of Bannon International Consulting LLC (Hellertown, Pennsylvania) with the 2009 IEEE OES Distinguished Technical Achievement Award. Bannon was instrumental in developing special underwater protection, maintenance and repair techniques for transoceanic communication companies, according to the organizers. He was responsible for designing special-application remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles and towed arrays for government and commercial applications. In addition, Dr. Christian de Moustier of HLS Research Inc. (La Jolla, California) was presented with the 2009 IEEE OES Distinguished Service Award at the lunch. De Moustier is completing his second three-year term as editor-in-chief of the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering and is an expert on seafloor acoustic remote sensing, bathymetric mapping and surveying, and sonar image and signal processing, the organizers said. IEEE/OES president Jerry Carroll also recognized retired U.S. Air Force Col. Norman Miller for his 40 years of supporting student participation in OCEANS.
New OES leaders were also announced: Elizabeth Creed of Creed Consulting LLC (Cranbury, New Jersey) will be vice president for professional activities, Robert Wernli of First Centurion Enterprises (San Diego, California) is the new vice president for conference development, Dr. Diane DiMassa of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy has been named treasurer and Dr. William Carey, professor at Boston University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and adjunct scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is the editor-in-chief elect for the Journal of Oceanic Engineering. Carroll also gave special recognition to the two retiring vice presidents, Joseph Vadus of Global Ocean Inc. (Potomac, Maryland) and Dr. James Collins of the University of Victoria.
Next year's OCEANS MTS/IEEE Conference will be held September 20 through 23 in Seattle, Washington.