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Dean's monthly update

April 2006

The highlight of April was definitely the groundbreaking ceremony for the UAF Lena Point Fisheries Facility in Juneau on April 20.  The Alaska Legislature has appropriated $21.5M that will allow us to construct a 28,000 sq. ft. fisheries teaching and research building adjacent to NOAA’s Ted Stevens Marine Science Research Institute at Lena Point.  The SFOS Advisory Council and the FITC Policy Council held back-to-back meetings in Juneau so their members could participate in a day many thought would never come. We celebrated the groundbreaking with shovels in the morning and a reception at The Hangar in the evening. 

Speakers in the morning at the building site were University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton, Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman, former University of Alaska Regent Elsa Demeksa, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Director Doug DeMaster, SFOS Advisory Council Chair David Policansky, University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Steve Jones, and UAF SFOS Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker.  Details about and photos of the groundbreaking can be found on our website at  Many thanks to SFOS Public Information Officer Carin Bailey for arranging this spectacular event, especially for the tent and heaters that kept us dry and relatively warm during the ceremony.
Chancellor Jones met with the SFOS Executive Council on April 6 to discuss issues important to our school.  We discussed the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) and the plan for the new dock at the Seward Marine Center along with facility needs in Fairbanks.  Several directors expressed concern that seven SFOS faculty have departed in the last two years and only one has been replaced.
On April 7, I met with the Rasmuson Fisheries Excellence Committee in Anchorage to discuss our request for funding from the Rasmuson Foundation.  This committee, chaired by Ed Rasmuson, includes a representative from NOAA (Doug Mecum), the Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner (McKie Campbell), a representative from the fishing industry (Kris Norosz, Icicle Seafoods), a liaison for the Community Development Quota (CDQ) groups (Morgen Crow, Coastal Villages Region Fund), and the Executive Director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Chris Oliver).  Wayne Marr, Dean of the UAF School of Management, and Bill Smoker represent UAF on the committee. Chancellor Jones is an ex-officio member.  The committee is charged with providing insight into the current and future needs of developing a well-prepared work force to strengthen the fisheries industry in Alaska. 
Before the Rasmuson meeting on April 7, MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg and I met with UAA Professor of Engineering Herb Schroeder, Director of the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP).  We discussed a plan for SFOS to partner with ANSEP to recruit more Alaska Natives and rural Alaskans into our Fisheries degree programs.
The FITC Policy Council met in Juneau on April 19 to review the status of FITC activities.  The Council discussed how FITC could find the resources to grow.  FITC Director Scott Smiley described the rapid evolution of the seafood industry in China.  The SFOS Advisory Council met in Juneau April 20 and 21.  Both President Hamilton and Chancellor Jones had a chance to address the Council.  To highlight the products of our work, four students presented their research results to the Council:  Katie Palof (Fisheries, Juneau), Matthew Myers (Marine Biology, Seward), Jill (Jiaporn) Chantarachoti (Seafood Science, Kodiak), and Juan Horrillo (Oceanography, Fairbanks). Their presentations were well received by the Council who suggested student presentations should be included in all future meetings.  The Advisory Council heard presentations on the SFOS budget from Financial Manager Jennifer Harris, an academic program overview from Associate Dean Mike Castellini, a preview of the SFOS Communication Plan from Carin Bailey, and about facility concerns in most SFOS locations from the unit directors. Thanks to Jennifer Vetsch who handled travel and logistics for the meeting.
While in Juneau on April 19, I met with Heather Brandon, the Governor’s Ocean Policy Advisor, to describe SFOS activities throughout the state of Alaska.  We discussed the Governor’s research priorities, 16 of which deal with oceans and coastal issues.  I also visited Pat Eberhardt of Coastwise Corporation.  Mr. Eberhardt is a naval architect who was interested in learning about the plans to design, build and operate the ARRV.  The same day, I met with Kent Dawson, the City of Seward lobbyist in Juneau, to discuss the plans for the dock facility needed in Seward for the ARRV.  The City of Seward is taking the lead on providing the dock facility for the new vessel. 
I traveled to Seattle April 23 to 25.  On April 24, Seward Marine Center Director Tom Smith, Institute of Marine Science Director Terry Whitledge, and I were given a morning tour of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY (WAGB-20) by Commanding Officer Dan Oliver.  The HEALY is “the United States' newest and most technologically advanced polar icebreaker.”  We spent the afternoon working with naval architects Duane Laible and Dirk Kristensen of The Glosten Associates on our planned NSF proposal for the ARRV.  Amazingly, Terry Whitledge made the round trip from Fairbanks in one day.  Tom Smith and I attended the UNOLS Research Vessel Operators Committee (RVOC) meeting the next day at the University of Washington where Tom presented the status of the ARRV design and announced his plan to retire on July 1.  To justify spending two days in Seattle, after the RVOC meeting I made a courtesy call on Penny Dalton, Washington Sea Grant Director.  We discussed how to increase support for national Sea Grant funding.
At the end of April, I have not yet made Alaska Airlines MVP Gold.  With only two trips to Juneau scheduled for May, I hope to keep under 40,000 air miles until at least July.