December 2019 OES Beacon

OES Society Awards (2019)

Photos by Stan Chamberlain

The OES Society Awards Ceremony was held during the Wednesday Plenary at OCEANS 2019 Seattle. We are honored to introduce the following 2019 OES award recipients.  Congratulations!

2019 Distinguished Technical Achievement Award: William Kirkwood

William Kirkwood receives the Distinguished Technical Achievement Award from OES president Christian de Moustier.

William (Bill) Kirkwood was presented the Distinguished Technical Achievement (DTA) award for excellence in research and development of underwater vehicles, and associated technologies.

Bill’s experience in the Oceanic Engineering Society started in the 1990’s as a member, then in 2003 he started the Autonomous Underwater Vehicles tutorial series and became an OES Administrative Board Member (ADCOM) in 2008 and became a Senior Member in 2010. Bill has served as Assistant to the Treasurer for 4 years and then as OES Treasurer for 4 years from 2013 to 2017. Bill also Co-Chaired OCEANS’16 Monterey, which   brought the largest number of abstracts submissions to date and one the highest attendance records at an OCEANS conference. Bill served as Chair of the Unmanned Maritime Vehicles (UMV) and Submersibles Technical Committee and supported AUV Symposia from 2008 until 2018. Bill stepped down to the role of Co-Chair in 2018 moving Dr. Hanumat Singh into the leading role. He also Chaired the Technical Committee on Innovative Technology, a startup proposition for new growth. Bill moved the Innovative Technology committee into the UMV committee and reformed the committee to Autonomous Maritime Systems, bringing Aerial, Surface and Subsurface platforms as well as supporting equipment under one umbrella. Currently Bill is focusing on new initiatives, working with the Office of Naval Research and a number of institutions around the globe to bring more innovation to autonomous systems and comparative competitions around the globe through the creation of an advisory body.

Currently the Senior Research and Design Engineer for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Bill has been focused on the applied research and development of next generation technologies for the advancement of ocean science. Creating technical solutions to ocean problems has been the core of his work for almost 35 years.

Bill’s primary expertise is in subsea robotic vehicles and instrumentation.  As project manager and mechanical designer, Bill lead the development of the ROV Tiburon platform. Later, Bill was the MBARI project manager on the Dorado class AUV co-developed with Sea Grant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Bluefin Robotics Inc., a small to medium sized underwater robotics company, spun out from this effort and commercialized the resulting vehicle system, which is now a division of General Dynamics Mission Systems. Bill patented and licensed the distinctive blue ringtail used on the Bluefin 21 AUV’s. Bill further developed AUVs as project manager and lead designer for MBARI’s mapping AUV, which operates 9 acoustic devices simultaneously and is still in high demand as one of the premier mapping systems for science in the world. Bill’s more recent work has centered on instrumentation for multidisciplinary biogeochemistry research. Bill’s efforts have created a plug and play 4000 meter rated laser Raman instrument and precision positioning systems for in situ optical spectroscopy. Bill was also Co-PI and project lead on the Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment (FOCE) experiments studying the impacts of ocean acidification (OA).  The FOCE system is a combination robot and instrument performing in situ closed looped control of pH resulting from the anthropogenic release of CO2. The control loop is based on predictive models of atmospheric CO2 and allows scientists to “dial” in a future pH to observe the potential impacts of higher pH and the resulting lowering of oxygen. Several FOCE systems have been built and deployed around the globe, including the Mediterranean, The Great Barrier Reef, Casey Station Antarctica, Frame Straight and of course Monterey Bay. One FOCE system performed regular operations at 900 meters in Monterey Bay for 17 months and year long coral studies on the Great Barrier Reef. Future deployments are in process for Stoneybrook University’s inland water way and in the coral reefs of Panama at Bocas Del Toro.

As part IEEE-OES, Bill has published extensively with OES as well as other peer reviewed journals and magazines. Bill provided content and served as a technical and editorial reviewer for the MATE textbook “Underwater Robotics: Science, Design & Fabrication” published in 2010. Bill has several other book chapters on development of deep-sea sensors and optical instrumentation. As an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University, Bill teaches classes in ocean engineering as well as mentoring student projects in robotics and instrumentation and has served as an advisor to graduate students on marine related projects. Additionally, Bill continues consulting and provides design, manufacturing and management services for a number of aquaculture firms, universities and scientists with limited access to engineering.

Marinna Martini receives the Distinguished Service Award from OES president Christian de Moustier.

2019 Distinguished Service Award: Marinna Martini

Marinna Martini is presented the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) for contributions to the governance of the Society as an elected member of the Administrative Committee (2007-2012; 2014-2016 and 2019-2021) and Executive Committees, for service as Secretary (2015-2018).

Marinna Martini is the lead engineer for sediment transport instrumentation and field operations at the U.S. Geo-logical Survey in Woods Hole, MA, USA.  She provides technical services to USGS scientists in support of physical oceanographic and sediment transport studies. This work includes systems design of moorings, bottom landers and data loggers, software development, project management and leadership (for example: At the national level she served on steering committees to develop USGS technical capabilities and helped to run workshops. Internationally she has contributed to field work and scientific meetings. Her credentials include an M.S. from the University of New Hampshire, (ocean engineering, instrumentation), a B.S. from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, (marine & systems engineering), professional engineering licensure in the state of Massachusetts, and a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine License, 3rd Assistant Engineer, unlimited horsepower[M1] .

Jon Fajans and Matt Previte receives the OES Company/Institution Award on behalf of Xylem

2019 Company/Institution Award: Xylem(formerly Aanderaa)

Xylem (formerly Aanderaa) is presented the Company/Institution Award for its enduring and continued contributions to the goals of the Society in advancing ocean research science and technology.

Xylem (formerly Aanderaa) is a leading global water technology company with approximately 17,000 employees in 50 countries, with operations in more than 150 countries.
Aanderaa Data Instruments AS, a Xylem brand, headquartered in Bergen, Norway, designs, manufactures and delivers sensors, instruments and systems for measuring and monitoring in demanding environments.

Aanderaa is known for its ability to develop uncompromising state-of-the-art instrumentation that is both reliable and robust for long term observations of the marine environment.
Their most important markets are universities and research institutions, oil and gas industries, aquaculture, coastal and harbour operators, road and traffic administration and construction business. They are a market leader in several of  market segments. More information is available on

2019 Presidential Award: Mohd Rizal Arshad

Mohd Rizal Arshad is presented the Presidential Award for developing the IEEE OES Malaysian Chapter, helping with OTC Asia and running USYS (Underwater SYStems Technologies) series of conferences with IEEE and OES and forging collaborations among ocean researchers in the region.

He will receive the award at the OES ExCom meeting in Singapore because of his schedule.

Mohd Rizal Arshad organised USYS conf in 2006 (Penang), 2008 (Bali), 2010 (Cyberjaya), 2012 (Malacca), 2014 (Shah Alam), 2016 (Kuala Lumpur), 2017 (Penang) and 2018 (Wuhan) with his colleagues.  For IEEE USYS2020 it will be organised in Xi’an, China.  Rizal and his colleagues have also organised annual National Technical Seminar on Underwater System and Technology (NUSYS) since 2007 until now. This year NUSYS2020 will be held in Dec 2019. A number of ROV competitions were also organised with the Malaysian Ministry of Education for High School Students. For the past two years, they have initiated the Malaysian AUV (MAUV) Competitions among the undergraduate students.  For the regional collaborations, he has worked closely with friends in ITB, Bandung Indonesia and NUS, Singapore. The most recent one was to assist in the establishment of IEEE OES Wuhan Chapter and forging research cooperation with Indian counterparts. As it is, with his all ongoing activities, we are happy that his efforts have got OES recognition.

James Lynch, recipient of the 2019 Emeritus Award

2019 Emeritus Award: James Lynch

James Lynch is presented the Emeritus Award for his outstanding service to the Society as elected member of Executive Committees as Editor-in-Chief (1999-2004) of the OES Journal.

Dr. James Lynch obtained his B.S. in Physics from the Stevens Institute of Technology in 1972 and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1978. He then worked for three years at the Applied Research Laboratories of the University of Texas at Austin (ARL/UT) from 1978 to 1981, after which he joined the scientific staff at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). He worked at WHOI until his retirement in 2017, and currently holds the position of Senior Scientist Emeritus.  His research specialty areas are ocean acoustics and acoustical oceanography. He also greatly enjoys occasional forays into physical oceanography, marine geology, and marine biology. Dr. Lynch is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), former Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, and current Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.  He is also the 2009 winner of the Walter Munk Award. His primary hobby is amateur astronomy, and he is the current president of the Cape Cod Astronomical Society.