MTS President's Letter - April

Last month you heard from our new Executive Director Chris Ostrander. Let me also welcome him aboard. With Chris’ background I am confident he is the right individual to lead MTS as we navigate in new directions. Thank you to Justin Manley, President Elect, who led the extensive selection process.   Justin convened the first panel made up of a subset of the Board and Kristina Norman (acting Director during the interim) to down select the candidates to the top three. The top three candidates then interviewed with a panel comprised of Justin, Kristina and the remainder of the Board. Kristina led the interview of each of the candidates with the MTS HQ team. The top three candidates had one-on-one interviews with three MTS members in leadership positions. Thank you to Laurie Jugan, Fernando Hernandez and Larry Hagstrom for their assistances. The full board then reviewed the results of the 2 panels, the staff interviews, and the one-on-one interviews. The board did not come to a decision as all of the candidates were highly competitive. The board prepared an additional set of topics to discuss with the candidates. To address the topics, Justin conducted another conversation with each of the candidates.  Justin also talked with 3 references for each candidate – a superior, a peer and a subordinate.  The board met a second time and, after considering all the information, selected Chris.  My sincere appreciation to the highly competitive candidates who applied; Justin’s leadership; and the efforts of Kristina, the Board, Laurie, Fernando and Larry.   


Did you know that MTS has thirteen awards and fellows?  This is your opportunity to help outstanding engineers, scientists, and technologists receive recognition for their accomplishments, dedication, and contributions in the marine sector. The criteria for the awards vary, but in many cases the awardee does not need to be an MTS member. Nominations are due on May 31, so let’s make it hard our awards committees by submitting great candidates.


We are always looking for folks to step up to a national role in MTS.  This year we have three offices up for election. The first position is President Elect.  The second position is the VP for Early Career Ocean Professional. Alfredo Giron has completed his two-year term and is not eligible to run for a second term. The third position is VP of Government Relations and Public Affairs.  Nominations are due on June 15.   

This week I am excited to be with our Great Lakes section to talk about Lakebed 2030.  A community effort, that MTS has been involved in since its inception through the Lakebed 2030 Techsurge in 2018, has attracted important partners like the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System – Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS).  I will join Hans Van Sumeren, David Miller, Denis Hains, and Meredith Westington on the panel - Building the Great Map at GLOSAPALOOZA[. I will also attend the GLOS annual meeting and have a chance to catch up with IOOS colleagues.  Lakebed 2030, like Seabed 2030, has the aspirational goal of fully mapping the Great Lakes by 2030. Today less than 15% of lake floor mapped, the panel will discuss priorities, methods and funding this important initiative. 

The MTS board and Council will meet in person at OTC. For Council members unable to attend in person, we have set up a virtual option – so we are looking forward to meeting with all members.  Thank you to our Houston section volunteers for their efforts ahead of and at OTC.  

Welcome to our new Corporate Members: Siemens Energy (Silver); PacIOOS (Institutional); and Terradepth (Small Business).

I am always happy to engage with our members. You can reach me by email at [email protected].

Best Regards,


Zdenka Willis

President, MTS

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