NOAA 03-053
Contact: Ben Sherman

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Richard W. Spinrad, technical director to the oceanographer of the Navy and former executive director for research and education at the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) has been named as the new assistant administrator for the NOAA National Ocean Service by retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an agency of the Department of Commerce.

“I am delighted to announce Rick’s appointment to the NOAA leadership team,” said Lautenbacher. “I have had the opportunity to work with Rick over the years in his efforts for the oceanographer of the Navy and at CORE. He brings outstanding talent, commitment and enthusiasm to NOAA and the National Ocean Service.”

Spinrad will join NOAA officially on May 27, at which time Jamie S. Hawkins, who has served as acting administrator, will return to his position as deputy assistant administrator.

A native of New York City, Spinrad holds both doctoral and masters’ degrees in oceanography from Oregon State University and is a 1975 undergraduate of John Hopkins University where he majored in earth and planetary sciences.

Spinrad first joined the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in 1987 and held a variety of responsible posts including director of ONR’s Ocean Biology, Optics and Chemistry Division, and director of the Ocean, Atmosphere and Space Modeling and Prediction Division with annual budget responsibility for over $150 million.

Joining CORE in 1994, Spinrad served as the first director of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program Office before becoming CORE’s executive director of research and education, where he coordinated all activities associated with research and education in marine sciences including the development, performance and management of grant or contract funded efforts.

In his most recent position as technical director to the Oceanographer of the Navy, Spinrad served as the senior civilian advisor to the U.S. Navy on operational oceanographic research and operations and established the priorities for U.S. Navy investment in application of oceanographic products to fleet operations.

Spinrad’s many professional accomplishments include elevating the U.S. Navy’s ocean optics research program to a $10 million annual effort; developing the industry standard sensor for in situ marine fluorescence; creating and managing the first of the now annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl program, an oceanography-based academic competition for high school students throughout the United States; developing the only research and development strategy for U.S. Navy operational forces; and developing the U.S. Navy programs for integrating basic research with advanced research and operations. Additionally he restructured the professional journal Oceanography into an award-winning publication.

Spinrad is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Meteorological Society, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, American Geophysical Union, the Navy League, Optical Society of America, and the Oceanography Service. He has served as the chair of a multitude of professional science policy and advisory committees and is co-chair of the upcoming Oceanology International Americas 2003 Conference slated for this June in New Orleans.

Spinrad and his wife, Alanna Wynn Spinrad (nee Thompson), live in Falls Church, Va. They have an adult son, Gary.

NOAA National Ocean Service is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. The NOAA National Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through research to better understand weather and climate-related events and to manage wisely the nation's coastal and marine resources.

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