In January 2019, after an extensive search, the Marine Technology Society (MTS) appointed Kathleen Herndon, PhD as their new Executive Director. Judging from the buzz in the exhibition room at the recent Underwater Intervention conference in New Orleans, they made an excellent choice.

ON&T Editor Greg Leatherman spoke with Dr. Herndon about what she brings to MTS.

“MTS is made up of many wonderful experts in the field of marine technology, and there remains an opportunity from a society management perspective, to leverage its infrastructure and grow capacity, so that the society can better serve its members. I bring experience in accomplishing that goal.”

Dr. Richard Spinrad, President of MTS, said “Dr. Herndon is an accomplished association executive whose experience in the U.S. Foreign Service and with statewide professional associations has uniquely prepared her for the challenges of supporting MTS as we usher in the era of the New Blue Economy. She is well equipped to support MTS in our goal to promote awareness, understanding, advancement, and application of marine technology worldwide.”

In her conversation with ON&T, Dr. Herndon said that her immediate goals for MTS are to “grow our membership and fulfill our mission,” but that doesn’t just mean reaching out to new members. It also includes staff retention and an increased emphasis on interconnectedness.

"MTS is uniquely positioned to foster cooperation between ocean engineers, technologists, policy makers, and educators,” says Dr. Herndon. “For example, when you’re talking about bathymetry and all of the ocean mapping on the private sector side, that is a great example of where MTS can serve as a forum for discussions that might facilitate moving data out to the broader community.”

Dr. Herndon also described some exciting plans that will put MTS technical experts in the spotlight.

“Right now, our newsletter (Currents) goes out every other month. That’s too infrequent, given all that goes on with our members. Besides, keeping people in the loop is one of the main functions of a professional society. The people that make up MTS are consumers of information, but it has to be timely information, because the thing about technology is that it accelerates. If you are not already at a dead sprint, you’re falling behind. That’s why we are going to get the news out in a more timely manner and increase the frequency of our media relations. We’re also going to take advantage of digital media including embedded video, audio clips, and weekly podcasts from subject matter experts.”

No one who meets her will question Dr. Herndon’s enthusiasm, and with an extensive background in research and program evaluation, as well as over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, it’s clear that she is well-suited for promoting MTS as the leading authority and advocate for marine technology and resources, while enabling member success and public understanding.

A graduate of the College of William and Mary and Monroe Scholar, Dr. Herndon earned her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychological Research and Program Evaluation from Walden University. Dr. Herndon has led numerous research studies and has served as the managing editor of multiple trade industry publications.

MTS was incorporated in June 1963 to give members of academia, government and industry a common forum for the exchange of information and ideas. Their mission is to: facilitate a broader understanding of the relevance of marine technology to wider global issues by enhancing the dissemination of marine technology information; promote and improve marine technology and related educational programs; advance the development of the tools and procedures required to explore, study and further the responsible and sustainable use of the oceans. To learn more, click here.

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