Offshore Industry News

The Marine Technology Society Announces its 2021 Award Recipients

Recognizing engineers, scientists, technologists, policymakers, educators, and students who have made a significant impact on the profession or in their community

The Marine Technology Society has announced its 2021 Award Winners. The diverse field of individual recipients—students, young professionals, career professionals, international programs—have distinguished themselves in their work, through technological accomplishment, volunteer service, or mentorship. In addition, MTS is honoring a company for its outstanding contribution for the advancement in a marine technology and our MTS Sections who are foundational to the advancement of the MTS mission. Our awardees work with unfailing commitment to tackle problems that impact our globally connected society in real and tangible ways that many people aren’t fully aware of. The awards will be presented at OCEANS 2021 San Diego-Porto.

Compass Distinquished Achievement AwardThis year’s recipients include:

Compass Distinguished Achievement Award: Presented to an individual whose career includes achievements that have had a significant impact on the fields of marine science and technology.

Recipient – Dr. Daniel Rudnick, Director of the Instrument Development Group, Scripps Institute of Oceanography

  • Dr. Dan Rudnick is being recognized for outstanding contributions to physical oceanography, his many multidisciplinary collaborations, his dedication to ocean observing, and his astute understanding of stakeholder/community needs. Dr. Rudnick, a world leader in glider operations, has led climatology products development through his work with the United States Integrated Ocean Observing System- Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System.

Compass International Award: Presented to an individual, company, or organization (outside the United States) for outstanding contributions to the advancement of marine science and technology.

Recipient – Integrated Marine Observing System Australia

  • The Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) operates a wide range of marine technology throughout Australia’s coastal and open oceans, turning observations into open data for the marine and climate science community, decision makers and international collaborators. IMOS is recognized as a high performing research infrastructure, both nationally and globally and has made significant impacts in terms of science excellence; technology innovation; training and education; economic benefit; and social responsibility.

Compass Industrial Award: Presented to any industrial firm (excluding government and non-profit organizations) that has demonstrated outstanding contributions to marine science and technology.

Recipient – Kongsberg Maritime

Kongsberg Maritime’s history as part of leading Norwegian industrial powerhouse KONGSBERG stretches back over 200 years. Today, more than 18,000 merchant ships, fishing vessels, cruise liners, ferries and superyachts, as well as offshore support and research vessels, offshore installations and government craft, depend on Kongsberg Maritime technology.

Lockheed Martin Award for Ocean Science and Engineering: Presented to an individual who has demonstrated the highest degree of technical accomplishment in the field of marine science, engineering, or technology.
Recipient – Dr. Christopher Scholin, President/CEO - Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Dr. Scholin has made significant contributions to the field of harmful algal blooms, leading the development and application of the Environmental Sampling Profiler. The pioneering system is currently available through McLane Research Laboratories facilitating its broader use, such as in the US Integrated Ocean Observing System. An important part of Dr. Scholin’s work has also been to foster and promote a shared vison for how to advance and disseminate ocean technology. This has included assisting NOAA and others in their strategic developments for genomics, autonomous systems and artificial intelligence.

John P. Craven Mentor Award: Recognizing the long and impactful career of John Piña Craven, the award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding and sustained service to the field of marine technology through mentoring.

Recipient – Dr. Roy Watlington, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of the Virgin Islands and the co-founder of the Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System (CARICOOS).

  • Dr. Watlington has devoted the last forty years to teaching, researching, and observing the waters in and around the Caribbean. In the global community his contributions and insights have nurtured a system of diverse parts to work more effectively together and inspired all who know him to be their best self. He has taught science in public high schools and oceanography in multiple Historically Black Colleges and Universities including UVI, University of District of Columbia, and the Washington Technical Institute. Known for being an approachable teacher who excites his students to learn science.

Ocean News and Technology Young Professional Award: Presented to an MTS member, 35 years old or younger, who has demonstrated leadership in the Society and works in a professional capacity in management, engineering, or research and development in a marine technology field.

Recipient – Mr. Mathew Biddle, Integrated Systems Solutions

Mr. Biddle is being recognized for his exceptional work of supporting the integration and management of marine life data for the United States Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®). Mr. Biddle’s broad experience and outstanding cyberinfrastructure data management skills and abilities enable him to successfully lead and manage the extensive coordination and collaboration across multiple federal, state, tribal, and industry partners and stakeholders that is essential for responsive and productive IOOS data collection and management.

Walter Munk Award: The Walter Munk Scholar Award is jointly sponsored and awarded by the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans (WMFO) and the Marine Technology Society (MTS). The Award is presented annually to a scholar currently enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate or postdoctoral program. Established in 2019, the Award honors Walter Munk’s legacy of daring exploration and discovery through ocean scientific and technology research, ocean education or ocean conservation; open to those from any country or territory.

Recipient – Ms. Elizabeth-Wright Fairbanks, Rutgers University

Ms. Elizabeth (Liza) Wright-Fairbanks, a PhD student at Rutgers University, has made outstanding contributions to the technological development, application, and propagation of a novel glider-based pH sensor for ocean acidification observations scalable to the global level. Ms. Wright-Fairbanks, has collaborated with industry partners Sea-Bird Scientific and Teledyne Webb Research on the development and testing of this sensor.

Special Commendation: This Award is presented to an individual, group or organization in recognition of outstanding accomplishments leading to significant advances in marine affairs. Open to anyone in management, public service, and the social science fields.

Recipient – Mr. Nanda Kumar

Nanda Kumar, who tragically died this year, served as Secretary of the MTS India Section. Known for his honest and energetic personality, Nanda helped establish the MTS India Section. Mr. Kumar was the motivator for the highly successful MTS India student sections, a frequent lecture and sponsor of internships. Mr. Kumar was founder of the company Elekronik Lab, a marine communications and navigation company, and was a global consultant to many nations in these areas.

MTS Outstanding Service Award: Presented to an MTS member or member organization in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in fulfilling the objectives and missions of the Society.

Recipient – Mr. Steve Browne, MTS Dynamic Positioning Committee and General Manager, Offshore Analysis & Research Solutions, LLC.

Mr. Browne has been a strong, avid and visible supporter of the MTS Dynamic Positioning (DP) Committee ) since its inception. Mr. Browne, as Chairman, worked tirelessly on the MTS DP Conference which is acknowledged as the best Technically focused DP conference in the industry and a “must attend” event for DP professionals globally.

MTS Outstanding Section Award: Presented to an MTS Section in recognition of activities conducted in the advancement of the objectives of the Society.

Recipient – Gulf Coast.

  • The Gulf Coast Section is recognized for their co-chairmanship of the OCEANS 2020: Singapore – US Gulf Coast which due to the pandemic pivoted to a virtual conference and encompassed the the Singapore conference which was to have been held in Spring 2020. They annually host the Oceans In Action Workshop, a leading forum in the region on educating private industry and researchers on the operational needs of local federal agencies, which has expanded this year to include the Port Security Summit. The Section routinely provides funding and volunteers to the Hurricane Bowl and the National Ocean Sciences Bowl when held in the area, the MATE ROV competition and the University of Southern Mississippi Student Section.

MTS Outstanding Student Section Award: Presented to an established MTS Student Section that demonstrates superior performance in the advancement of the Society’s objectives.

Recipient – New Jersey

  • The New Jersey Student Section is being recognized for the formation of the first statewide student section. This brought together students from Stockton University, Rutgers University, Monmouth University, and the Stevens Institute of Technology. As a statewide section, student members across the state have access to a larger peer group with the same shared interests, unique and complimentary marine technology facilities housed at each participating institution, and a network of mentors across a much broader spectrum of the marine technology section.

MTS Fellow: Since 1975, the MTS Fellow title has been awarded to MTS members who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the Society’s objectives and who have distinguished themselves in their fields.

Recipient – Dr. Dick Crout, MTS Vice President for Sections and Supervisory Oceanographer at Naval Research Laboratory

  • Dr. Dick Crout is a long-standing member of the Marine Technology Society and is a leader both at the Section and Society level. Dr. Crout has served in every level of officer in the local Gulf Coast Section and is currently Treasurer. An avid supporter of MTS events, he is involved in all aspects for the Oceans In Action Workshop; served as technical chair of OCEANS 2009 – Biloxi financial chair of OCEANS 2020 – US Gulf Coast – Singapore. He is currently serving as the MTS Vice President for Sections.

“Marine technology impacts our global society in a multitude of ways and these award recipients represent the top of their field. They are helping advance the Blue Economy and their contributions to advancing marine technology are notable and inspiring. We congratulate them and look forward to seeing their continued successes,” said MTS President Zdenka Willis.

Nominations for next year’s award will be accepted from January 31 – May 31, 2022. For eligibility and nomination instructions, click here.

Our Partners

Frontiers in Marine Science

ECO Magazine is a marine science trade publication committed to bringing scientists and professionals the latest ground-breaking research, industry news, and job opportunities from around the world.


8502 SW Kansas Ave
Stuart, FL 34997

Newsletter Signup

The ECO Newsletter is a weekly email featuring the Top 10 stories of the past seven days, providing readers with a convenient way to stay abreast on the latest ocean science and industry news.