2017 Distinguished Service Award

For contributions to the governance of the Society as a member of the Administrative Committee, for service as Vice President Conference Development and Vice President Professional Activities and for the organization of the OCEANS conference.

Robert L. Wernli

Robert Wernli is a Senior Member of the IEEE OES and has served as an elected Administrative Committee member (’03-’08 and ’10-’12) and was elected to serve again during ’18-’21. He was also elected to the Executive Committee as VP for Conference Development (12-’14) and VP for Professional Activities (’15-’17) where he is presently responsible for membership, chapters and the promotion of the society, which includes conferences, the OES website and Beacon newsletter, of which he is presently the Co-Editor-in-Chief. As a member of, and then chair of, the OES Reconnaissance (RECON) committee, his efforts over the past 15 years has resulted in OCEANS conferences being held in Germany, Australia, Spain, Korea, Italy, Norway, Taiwan and China.

Robert has chaired 20 international conferences that include: OCEANS MTS/IEEE ’95, ’03, and ’13, all in San Diego, and Underwater Technology ’04 (Taiwan), ’07 (Tokyo), ’09 (Wuxi, China), ’11 (Hawaii with OCEANS), ’13 (Tokyo), ’15 (Chennai, India) and ’17 (Busan, S. Korea).

He received the B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California Santa Barbara in 1973 and the M.S. degree in engineering design from San Diego State University, San Diego, CA in 1985. He retired in 2005 from his career at a navy laboratory in San Diego where he specialized in the field of underwater robotics research and development. As president of First Centurion Enterprises, he began his second career as an underwater technology consultant and a writer. His most recent technical publication is The ROV Manual, 2nd edition; in fiction, he has published three novels. He has over 30 technical publications and was also editor and co-author of the book on CD-ROM—Operational Effectiveness of Unmanned Underwater Systems.