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AFSC Deputy Director Jim Coe Retires from Federal Service

jim coe  

James M. Coe announced his retirement from Federal service effective 3 January 2008.

In his capacity as AFSC deputy over the past 11 years, Jim’s strong leadership has provided the Center with clarity and direction during a period of considerable change. He has served under two Center Directors and as Acting Center Director for a total of roughly two years during that time. All of the Center’s Division Directors have been replaced during his tenure. Two new Divisions, the Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis Division, and Operations, Management, and Information Services were added. The new interdisciplinary program Habitat and Ecological Processes Research was created. The NOAA ship Oscar Dyson was built and transformed into a research vessel that worked. Construction of the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute in Juneau was successfully completed. And the arduous task of implementing the Department of Commerce pay-for-performance Demonstration Project Center-wide was accomplished.

As deputy (a position he described as herding cats), Jim’s enthusiasm and tireless efforts to balance the needs of AFSC staff with those of the Alaska Region and Headquarters has set the standard for deputies in all Science Centers. He is considered one of the best managers in the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Jim began his career with NMFS in the early 1970s in the Porpoise Observer Program at the Southwest Fisheries Center (SWFC). He went on to work as field operations manager for the NMFS Porpoise-Tuna Interaction Program (1976-78) and as manager of the SWFC Gear Research Program (1978-81). In 1981, he came to Seattle to join what was then the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center where he worked under Dick Bakkala as a research fishery biologist in the Bering Sea Groundfish Program. In 1985 he was appointed director of the NMFS Marine Entanglement Research Program, which focused on the sources and effects of persistent waste in the marine environment. In addition, Jim coordinated the NMFS Driftnet Fisheries Research Program (1985-93), a confederation of research programs for the scientific investigation of the impacts of foreign driftnet fishing. He was appointed Deputy Director of the AFSC on
1 December 1996.

Jim received a Department of Commerce Silver Medal award in 1993, the NOAA Administrator’s Award in 2002, both the Bronze Medal Award and the NMFS Employee of the Year Award in 2003, and another NOAA Administrator’s Award in 2007. He is the author of more than 35 scientific publications and has served on numerous national and international committees related to environmental and resource management. He recently was honored with the prestigious appointment to the National Research Council Committee on the Effectiveness of International and National Measures to Reduce and Prevent Marine Debris and Its Impacts, a position he began in December 2007.

Jim earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1968 and a master’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Washington in 1986. He also pursued more postgraduate work as a Ph.D. Candidate in the University of Washington School of Fisheries.

Jim’s talents as a manager, his keen mind, candor, and outrageous sense of humor will be greatly missed at the Center, but certainly his legacy will remain for years to come. The Center joins in wishing him the very best in retirement and much pleasure on his boat and on the slopes.

By Susan Calderón


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