December 2023

From the President (December 2023)

Christopher Whitt, OES President

It’s hard to believe that 2023 is already ending! What have we accomplished this year? A full return to in-person conferences and workshops, numerous chapter and student branch chapter events, lots of new activities in OES initiatives and projects, just to name a few.

This year’s agenda of in-person meetings has been very successful. Both OCEANS Limerick and OCEANS Gulf Coast had higher than expected participation. Each was full of excellent new connections and productive interaction. OES thanks both the Limerick and Gulf Coast Local Organizing Committees for their hard work!

Similarly, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston in May, and OTC Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in October also exceeded expectations, for both attendance and technical quality. We look forward to OTC Asia in Kuala Lumpur in February, 2024, followed quickly by OCEANS Singapore in April, and the OTC in Houston, USA, as usual in May. I look forward to seeing some of you there!

In September I mentioned that we are working to have OES ratified as an official originator of IEEE Standards. That has now been formalized, so congratulations to the Standing Committee on Standards for this accomplishment!

In 2022, OES updated our Mission and Vision, which is “a collaborative community working towards a safe, healthy, and productive ocean” and our Mission is “to be the professional home of people passionate about ocean science, engineering and technology.” This strategic planning work has been ongoing since my first term as President and represents the shared understanding of OES that guides the decisions of our Administrative Committee. There will be updates on the website soon, and a full strategic plan update in the coming months.

In November we closed our administrative year with both an in-person OES Executive Committee (ExCom) meeting, and the final meeting of the IEEE Technical Activities Board (TAB). At OES ExCom we looked ahead to our 2024 activity plan, with particular emphasis on improving our support for students, and collaborations with other IEEE Societies. At the TAB meeting, I continued the collaboration discussions with Presidents of many other Societies about how OES could reach the many IEEE members who have interest in ocean technology but aren’t yet OES members.

One of the things I enjoy most when discussing OES with other IEEE leaders is sharing with them how ocean technology connects with so many areas of society at large and relates to so many other IEEE specific fields of interest. It is energizing to share what we, within OES, already know: that ocean technology will be a large part of meeting the world’s needs for food, energy, security, transportation, and economic development. Sustainably and responsibly managing the ocean resources that we all depend on will take all the ingenuity, experience, and expertise of our community, and many more people in addition. This means ample opportunity for our members, student members, and potential members as we all build “a collaborative community working towards a safe, healthy, and productive ocean.” This is a very positive and powerful message!

Finally, thank you to all the hard-working volunteers that make OES events happen! Volunteering with OES is one of the most rewarding ways to add value to your membership and build your professional network. If you have an idea for the Society to take on, or would just like to be involved but don’t know where to start, please email me anytime at