Marine Technology Society President Steps Down

Dr. Rick Spinrad

Dr. Rick Spinrad, who has served MTS as president since January 2019, stepped down from his role on June 1, 2020.

MTS issued an official statement thanking Dr. Spinrad for strong leadership that spanned five years as President Elect and President.

During his tenure, Dr. Spinrad positioned MTS with a strategic framework and strong foundation to be successful for many years to come and championed many accomplishments that include: 

  • Leading an effort to bring more benefits for members, expanding our outreach and engagement with key partners, and building important programs to attract new members of our community while expanding services to our core membership.
  • Initiating meaningful dialogues with a broad array of potential new partners, including a number of professional societies, industry organizations and expanded discussions with federal agencies.
  • Shepherding the pilot program to offer the Chartered Marine Technologist (CMarTech) certification, an idea enthusiastically embraced by our corporate members, both large and small.
  • Celebrating some “firsts” with our Sections and Committees that included the MTS Buoy Technology Committee’s first international Buoy Workshop in Tasmania; the Great Lakes’ Lakebed 2030 TechSurge; and the “Autonomy and the Blue Economy” Forum ahead of the annual Crab Fest.
  • Encouraging the next generation of ocean scientists and technologists through competitions, including the International MATE ROV competition and the National Ocean Sciences Bowl; teaming up with the Walter Munk Foundation for the Walter Munk Award; and restarting the Maritime Industry Mentoring Program and inviting young professionals’ input to the MTS board.
  • Establishing two prestigious awards honoring pillars of our community:  the MTS John P. Craven Mentor Award which recognizes service through mentoring, and with the Society for Underwater Technology, the Captain Don Walsh Award for Ocean Exploration, recognizing contributions toward the advancement of ocean exploration.
  • Amplifying MTS’ voice on the importance of marine technology in policy making, scientific understanding, and economic prosperity through his leadership role in the White House Ocean Summit and positioning MTS as a partner for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for the Sustainable Development (2021-2030).
  • Expanding the society’s communication efforts with a new website,; establishing mini-sites for many of our Sections and Committees; and launching Eddies, our biweekly eNewsletter.

Finally, as the global community has grappled with the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Spinrad provided unfailing leadership with  difficult decisions on the moving of the society’s OCEANS conferences to a virtual venue, staffing decisions for our headquarters, and the initiation of a series of virtual conferences and webinars covering critical strategic issues, such as the Seabed 2030 mapping effort and the timely discussion for graduate students regarding job opportunities during the pandemic.

Dr. Spinrad has agreed to continue leading the CMarTech certification. Veraison Consulting CEO Zdenka Willis will succeed Dr. Spinrad as president and will continue to build MTS to serve its members, champion advances in marine technology and communicate the importance of the marine technology sector to our everyday lives.

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