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April 11, 2007

UAF names Seward Marine Center director

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Captain Daniel Oliver to begin May 21

Seward, Alaska—The University of Alaska Fairbanks has appointed Captain Daniel Oliver, a former commander in the U.S. Coast Guard, as the director and marine superintendent of the Seward Marine Center.

As the new director of the SMC, Oliver hopes to help transform the center into a world class research facility.

"I am very excited about this challenging, but rewarding, opportunity. The people working at the SMC are already an outstanding crew," said Oliver.

"Combining this crew with a proposed new research vessel and planned facility improvements will result in a tremendous leap forward for the Seward Marine Center," Oliver added.

The Seward Marine Center is the primary coastal facility for the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Established in 1970, the center is one of Alaska's principal docking facilities for marine research vessels and was the home port for the 133-foot R/V Alpha Helix for 25 years.

Staff at the center provide essential laboratory space, accommodations and office support for Alaska's visiting marine and fisheries scientists, as well as coastal support for the students, faculty and staff of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

The SMC is proposed to become the main docking facility for the Alaska Region Research Vessel, according to a proposal submitted by UAF to the National Science Foundation in January. If approved, the proposal would grant UAF the right to build and operate the 236-foot vessel.

Oliver’s vision for the SMC includes capturing this state-of-the-art new research vessel, expanding shoreside laboratory and vessel support facilities and developing the research partnership with the neighboring Alaska Sealife Center.

"Being able to provide enhanced research facilities to the scientific community from around the world will be a big boost to all who study the Arctic and the waters surrounding Alaska," said Oliver.

The new SMC director will arrive in Seward and begin work on May 21. Oliver is retiring from the U.S. Coast Guard after 28 years of active duty. He is currently the operational forces manager for the Pacific theater of the Coast Guard, stationed in Alameda, California.

Oliver was the commanding and executive officer of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy, the Coast Guard’s largest icebreaker. As the commander of the Healy, Oliver directed 80 personnel on 12 multidisciplinary science missions throughout the Arctic Ocean from 2003 to 2006. He has also served as the engineering officer of the Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Sea and as an assistant professor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

As the executive officer of the Healy, Oliver led several scientists and graduate students from UAF on the 2005 NOAA Ocean Explorer expedition to the Hidden Ocean in the Canadian Arctic. Scientists on this expedition discovered up to seven new species of marine animals. The chief scientist on the expedition, Rolf Gradinger, is a biological oceanographer at the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

"Captain Oliver is an outstanding person and a great team leader," said Gradinger. "I enjoyed his excellent leadership every day while on the expedition."

"I am excited that he will be part of our UAF team," added Gradinger.

Oliver received a master’s degree in naval architecture, marine engineering and mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in marine science from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

"Captain Oliver’s experience operating icebreakers in the Arctic makes him the ideal person to lead the center that plans to operate the nation's premier ice-capable research vessel," said Denis Wiesenburg, dean of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Oliver’s
experience in the arctic regions will help solidify UAF’s position as America’s arctic university."

The UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences conducts world-class marine and fisheries research, education and outreach across Alaska, the Arctic and Antarctic. More than 60 faculty scientists and 135 graduate students are engaged in building knowledge about Alaska and the world's coastal and marine ecosystems. SFOS is headquartered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and serves the state from facilities located in Seward, Juneau, Anchorage and Kodiak.

Contact

For more information:
Carin Bailey
Public Information Officer
UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
Tel: (907) 322-8730
E-mail: bailey@sfos.uaf.edu

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