December 2021 Beacon

OES Society Awards (2021)

Christopher Whitt, the OES president at the Awards Ceremony

Mal Heron and Marinna Martini

Each year the Oceanic Engineering Society honors one OES member for outstanding service in furthering the objectives and activities of the Society with the Distinguished Service Award, and the Distinguished Technical Achievement Award is awarded to an individual for an outstanding fundamental or applied technical contribution to oceanic engineering. This year the awards ceremony was held during the OCEANS 2021 Conference in San Diego.

2021 Distinguished Technical Achievement Award: Professor René Garello

The Oceanic Engineering Society honored René Garello with this year’s Distinguished Technical Achievement Award for contributions to signal and image processing of remotely sensed physical oceanography.

René is widely recognized for his contributions to signal and image processing of remotely sensed measurements of the ocean. He took a leading role in analysis of speckle in SAR images to extract information on sea state when others were treating it as noise. He has shown the value of multidisciplinary approaches that combine signal and image processing techniques with geoscience knowledge using synergy between different sensors. Recently, René has turned to the problem of marine debris and plastics in the ocean, and is applying satellite observation techniques to several programs.

Prof René has recently retired from a full professorship at IMT Atlantique, Brest, and has been appointed Emeritus Professor. He became a Fellow of IEEE in 2005 and has taken on many tasks within IEEE including President of OES, 2011-2014, and workshops on ocean remote sensing. He was elevated to Life Fellow of the IEEE in 2019. He participated in the creation of the satellite reception station VIGISAT in 2009, which allowed the creation of the scientific interest group BreTel, of which he is the Foundation Director.

René Garello is one of those active people who keeps popping up when we least expect it and we can be sure he will be leading high-level workshops and mentoring newcomers to remote sensing of the oceans on many future occasions.



2021 Distinguished Service Award: Albert (Sandy) J. Williams, 3rd

It was an honor to present this year’s Distinguished Service Award to Albert (Sandy) J. Williams, 3rd. Sandy was chosen for his long involvement with OES Technology Committees as well as with the Joint Oceans Advisory Board (JOAB), guiding the development of these regular OCEANS Conferences and Exhibitions.

Sandy’s vision for Technology Committees included that they should each run a regular Symposium or Workshop with published papers, as a means to bring session streams to OCEANS. He led CMTC (later CWTM, then CWTMA) as a role model for that concept.

The alignment of OES Technology Committees with OCEANS tracks was imperfect, and Sandy guided the merger between the Marine Technology Society and the Oceanic Engineering Society to manage OCEANS conferences by stressing unity between the contributions from each society.

Sandy’s service as JOAB Co-Chair was significant in establishing the working relationship between OES and MTS. In particular, his work on the OCEANS Conference Operations Policy contributed to the documentation of the partnership.

Sandy was a great recruiter of volunteers and participants. Sandy’s service in the global spread of OES is shown in his leadership in SYMPOL in India, and in the Baltic Symposiums. Nearer home he worked to establish the OES Chapter of the Providence Section, which has become one of the more active Chapters in OES.

Marinna Martini has fond personal memories of working with Sandy on a variety of things OES and looks forward to seeing him more around the local Chapter.  She can’t quite remember exactly how Sandy Williams enticed her to volunteer for the Oceanic Engineering Society 25 years ago.  It may have been because she attended a CMTC (Current Measurement Technology Committee) meeting in the 1990s.  However Sandy did it, Marinna wasn’t the only recruit.  The fact that many OES volunteers came from the Woods Hole, MA, science community is no accident; Sandy always had his eye out for someone to get involved, somehow.  Sandy’s mentorship to Marinna and many others through OES volunteer projects is an excellent example of how membership in a professional society and community is a great advantage to professional growth.