I am delighted to announce that Russell Callender, Ph.D., has accepted the position as director of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS).
Since August 2009, Dr. Callender has served as NCCOS’s acting director. In this role, Dr. Callender quickly distinguished himself as a manager who put people first and kept his eye on the agency’s mission. Since being named as acting director, he led the transformation of the office, resulting in a new scientific mission focus, new business model, and increased national relevance. He guided the development of a new vision for NCCOS through a participative, consensus-based process involving virtually all staff as well as consultation with partners and customers. During a time of significant reductions in funding, Dr. Callender has reduced unnecessary costs, enhanced cost recovery, improved access to reimbursable funds, and worked to improve appropriations.
When I was asked to serve as NOAA’s incident commander for the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill, Dr. Callender willingly assumed the responsibilities of deputy assistant administrator for NOS to allow Dr. Holly Bamford to take on my assistant administrator duties. Dr. Callender’s focus on mission, responsiveness and sense of humor were invaluable to NOS headquarters during this time.
Before serving as acting director of NCCOS, Dr. Callender directed the Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment. In this role, he oversaw key NOAA science programs that included coral reef habitat mapping and monitoring; marine protected area efficacy assessments; the National Status and Trends Program; ecological forecasting (hypoxia, harmful algal blooms); biogeographic assessments of NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries; and coastal oceanographic characterization.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Callender directed the headquarters science and policy office at the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and previously served as assistant director for the Virginia Sea Grant Program at the University of Virginia. Dr. Callender was himself a Knauss Sea Grant fellow with the Oceanographer of the Navy. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Austin State University in geology and his doctorate from Texas A&M University. He is trained as an interdisciplinary scientist and has peer-reviewed publications in the fields of marine ecology, paleoecology, and deep sea biology.
I am pleased that NOS has found such an excellent leader to direct NCCOS. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Callender.