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Dean's monthly updates

June 2007

June began where May ended in Washington, DC at a joint meeting of the Consortium of Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) and the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc. (JOI) on June 1.  By the end of the meeting, these two organizations were merged into a new corporation named the Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL).  The purpose of the merger is to enable the oceanographic community to speak with one voice in DC on issues important to the academic community. COL hopes to chart the course for ocean science in the next decade and work to convince Congress to fund the needed efforts.  I was appointed by Chancellor Jones as the UAF member representative to COL and Associate Dean Mike Castellini is the alternate.

On Monday June 4 (still in DC), I had a breakfast meeting in Arlington with Julie Morris, Director of the Ocean Sciences Division at the National Science Foundation, to discuss plans for the cooperative agreement between NSF and UAF for construction and operation of the Alaska Region Research Vessel.  From Arlington, I traveled quickly to Silver Spring, Maryland, to meet with Gary Matlock, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Sciences (NCCOS) where UA Federal Affairs Director Martha Stewart, our UAF NURP Director Dave Christie, and Kris Holderied from NOAA were meeting to discuss the UAF-NOAA partnership for operation of the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory (K Bay).  Dave is the UAF director for K Bay and Kris Holderied is now the NOAA Science Director for K Bay.

As the hot, humid day continued in DC, Martha, Dave and I met with:

- John C. Rayfield, Staff Director, Coast Guard Subcommittee, House Committee on Natural Resources
- Bonnie B. Bruce, Legislative Staff for Marine Mammal and Ocean Policy, House Committee on Natural Resources
- Arne J. Fuglvog, Legislative Assistant for Fisheries, Transportation, and Natural Resources to Sen. Lisa Murkowski
- Todd R. Bertoson, Legislative Staff for the Senate Commerce Committee
- Mark K. Robbins, Legislative Assistant for Fisheries to Sen. Ted Stevens

At the end of the day, Dave Christie and I were fortunate that the Dubliner Pub was attached to our hotel.

June 5-7 Dave Christie and I attended Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) sponsored by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The three day meeting focused attention on current ocean issues including underwater sound, hydrography, and the current ocean legislative agenda. Speakers included the NOAA Administrator, retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, and Hon. Leon Panetta, chair of the Pew Oceans Commission. The NURP directors played a prominent role in the meeting and former IMS faculty member Ray Highsmith, now at the University of Mississippi, was part of that group.

I flew home from DC on Thursday evening in order to spend Friday in the office and mow the grass at home, then flew back to DC on Sunday evening June 10 (actually Monday 1:00 a.m. flight) to attend a meeting at the National Science Foundation on Tuesday to discuss our ARRV proposal.  The UAF-Glosten Associates proposal team included IMS Director Terry Whitledge (PI), UAF Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Ro Bailey, UAF Procurement Director Mike Grahek, SFOS Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver, Gary Smith from Juneau who will be hired as the UAF ship construction manager, Glosten Associates President Bill Hurley and Dirk Kristensen, Naval Architect.  We met the entire day on June 12 with eight (8) NSF program managers and contract officers to work on the final arrangements for the ARRV collaborative agreement.  The meeting went well and I hope there will be breaking news about the ARRV before my next report.

That evening, I left NSF to catch a plane to Las Vegas that would get me to Seattle in the middle of the night to catch the 6:40 a.m. flight to Juneau so that I could attend a meeting of the Rasmuson Fisheries Excellence Committee beginning at 9:30 a.m.  As luck would have it, the flight from DC to Las Vegas was delayed and I did not arrive in Vegas until 3:00 a.m., missing the Seattle connection by four hours.  With free wireless internet in the Las Vegas airport, I caught up on e-mail until the 7:00 a.m. Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle.  Arriving in Seattle at 8:30 a.m. Alaska time allowed me to find a hotel room near the airport where I spent the next six hours on a teleconference with the meeting participants in Juneau.  Thanks to Robbie Hamilton for finding me a room while I paced at the airport and to Bill Smoker, Trent Sutton, Paula Cullenberg, and Keith Criddle for their contributions to the success of the Rasmuson meeting.  Returning to Fairbanks on Thursday morning at 1:00 a.m. June 14, I realized I had left home on Sunday and returned on Thursday while sleeping on multiple airplanes and in only one bed.  This was the most unusual trip I have made since becoming Dean three years ago and I hope not to even attempt a trip like this again.

Although it took me some time to recover from my trips in early June, I did meet with several faculty job applicants during the remainder of the month. Dwayne Buxton, Director of the Pacific West Area, and Eric Rosenquist, National Program Leader Tropical Commodities, from the USDA Agricultural Research Service visited SFOS on June 19 to discuss our seafood waste byproducts study that is underway at FITC in Kodiak.  We discussed how to find additional support for this UAF-ARS collaborative program.  Peter Bechtel in Fairbanks has the leadership role for ARS on this project.

During the last week of June, I went on vacation.  My son, Heath, and I toured Denali National Park and the Kenai Peninsula where we spent some pleasant days in Homer and Seward before taking the ferry from Whittier to Valdez.  It was a wonderful time with great weather and just what I needed after my June travels.  For those who wondered, I only lost $20.00 in the Las Vegas airport.

Denis