January President's Message

MTS Colleagues,

I am excited, and most appreciative, to be reaching out with my first note to you as MTS President. I’d like to recognize the many contributors to the prior success of MTS and highlight some of the exciting opportunities for our Society as I take on this role.

First and foremost, a wholehearted thank you to Zdenka Willis, Past President, for her unflappable leadership. Zdenka has served MTS with dedication, wit, and humility, and presents me with the great challenge of filling her shoes. Zdenka has been, and will continue to be, a true asset to our Society.

I also want to recognize outgoing board member Dr. Alfredo Giron-Nava, who served as the first-ever MTS VP of Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs). You will hear more from Alfredo in next month’s Currents around the impact of MTS’s trailblazing approach to engaging ECOPs. In that vein, in the coming year, you can expect to see a widening collection of voices elevated in Currents and through other MTS platforms.

Welcome to our newest board members, whose service began on January 1stSusan Hunt (President Elect) and Katharine Weathers (VP of ECOPs). The rest of the board and I look forward to working alongside both of these accomplished professionals.

The entire board and I are most appreciative for our talented HQ staff. Chris Ostrander and the rest of the team are ready to tackle the challenges – some new, some long-standing – that MTS faces today. The HQ team’s “small and mighty” status allows them to function nimbly and think creatively. I’m excited to work in tandem with the HQ team on our strategic priorities this year.

As you know, MTS is in the process of welcoming MATE II into our society as an important new pillar of our work. Over the coming months you will see tangible progress towards this teaming, including updates to our bylaws, revised policies, and new members of the HQ staff. The MATE brand has a stellar reputation and an exceptional track record of igniting (and sustaining) young peoples’ interest in marine technology. I am only slightly jesting when I suggest we’re expanding MTS’s ECOP contingent to include really early career ocean professionals. In all seriousness, this alignment reflects an expansion of – and an investment in – the talent pipeline from youth to students to working professionals, and beyond.

Our partnership with MATE is also significant because it sets a precedent for prioritizing collaboration in 2023. With an overwhelming array of virtual connectivity opportunities today, we must consider the  relevance of our organization and efforts. As we reassess the fundamentals of the Society’s value proposition, it is critical that we do so with a mindset of collaboration. Our conversations must be multi-faceted, inclusive, and encompass the truly global nature of marine technology. We must adapt and evolve while maintaining a deep reverence and respect for our Society’s roots. Today it is clear, we must broaden our circle to account for a shifting energy landscape, a tremendous interest in startups and “creative destruction,” and emerging ocean clusters – among many other market considerations.

As the world of large-scale events, such as the upcoming Offshore Technology Conference, continues to recover from the pandemic, we’re finding ways to cultivate new growth in this arena. We are poised to continue delivering in-person events with renewed vibrancy, and with an understanding that there is simply no substitute for the connectivity that comes from gathering in-person. The energy I’m seeing at events is palpable, and I invite you to join us for in-person engagements this year. MTS is a convener of people on both a global and local scale – whether that localization is defined by geography, sector, technical topic, or shared challenges.

As a member-driven organization, MTS exists to meet and serve our members where they are. At the same time, we have a tremendous opportunity – and responsibility – to advance the entire global marine technology ecosystem. Our Society, and extended community, is uniquely positioned to address important economic and societal needs. MTS is in the right place to do both by delivering value to our  members and leading the  blue economy forward.

Thank you for being a part of the MTS community as we continue to rise to this challenge in 2023 and beyond.

Best regards,

Justin E. Manley, President, MTS

Justin can be reached via [email protected].

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