Annual Report 2019-2020

SUT-US is comprised by an Executive Committee and six technical committees; Offshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics (OSIG), Subsea Engineering and Operations (SEO), Group on Environmental Forces (GEFUS), Robotics & Automation (R&A), and Offshore Renewables (OR); by three non-technical committees, the Young Professionals, Education, and Women in Industry Committees; and by five students chapters, Texas A&M University (SUT-TAMU), the University of Houston (SUT-SES-UH), the Texas A&M University – Galveston (SUT-TAMUG), Rice University (SUT-RICE), and Prairie View A&M. All are active groups that meet regularly and which have active memberships.

Notable efforts:

  • Reed Exhibitions and SUT-US leadership meet to engage in the organization and coordination of Oceanology International San Diego 2021.
  • SUT-US joins as a supporting organization of the Project Optimization Rural Coastal High Needs Middle School Students Achievement Via Marine Robotics Competitions (Project ORCA), committing to 50% matching funds if Project ORCA sets funds to support scholarships in underwater technology up to $18,000 USD annually over the next 5 years.
  • Pacific Ocean Energy Trust – an Oregon 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation and the Society for Underwater Technology – US (SUT-US) established a collaboration to aid in the establishment of the U.S Department of Energy’s “Testing Expertise and Access for Marine Energy Research (TEAMER) Program”. The three-year program supports testing and research for marine energy technologies and will provide access to test facilities and technical expertise to assist with numerical modeling and data collection in operational and extreme conditions.
  • SUT-US approved an Intellectual Property Agreement to protect the SUT-US and its presenters from any IP related issues. This agreement should enable the SUT-US to distribute recorded presentation material upon presenters/companies consent.
  • The SUT-US Marine Autonomous Systems Technical Conference & Exhibition led by Christopher Curran, Justin Manley, Fathi Ghorbel, Zenon Medina-Cetina and Jan Van Smirren is confirmed for March 31, 2021
  • SUT-US a supporting and sponsoring organization for the International Symposium on Frontiers in Offshore Geotechnics 2020 (ISFOG) to take place on November 8-11, 2021 in Austin, Texas.
  • SUT-US organizes is hosting an online engineering competition for 1) college students competing with other college students, graduate, and undergraduate students, and 2) young professionals with 0 to 3 years of professional experience. Currently looking for sponsors.
  • Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, SUT-US transitioned all in-person events to virtual events.

SUT-US’ staff is comprised by Mrs. Patsy Rhymes who assumes the coordination of in-person events; Ms. Araceli Lopez who is responsible for the coordination of online events and overall communications for the Branch.

Ms. Monica Lopez-Aguilera left SUT-US in December 2019 to take another job. Ms. Audrey Guzman joined the team as a Supporting Editor and as an accounting assistant.

Below is a summary of the key activities held at the SUT-US branch for the period of 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020.

Networking Meetings


  1. August 1, 2019 – 9
  2. September 12, 2019 – 15
  3. October 3, 2019 – 3
  4. Champagne & Conversation Series October 24, 2019 – 23
  5. November 7, 2019 – 12
  6. Scholarship Awards Ceremony November 15, 2020 – 44
  7. Champagne & Conversation Series January 23, 2020 – 39
  8. March 5, 2020 – 7 (Online)
  9. May 7, 2020 – 18 (Online)
  10. Networking Event & Bingo Night June 4, 2020 – 21 (Online)
  11. Champagne & Conversation Series January 23, 2020 – 18 (Online)

Average attendance per networking event: 19

Other learning programs organized by Executive Committee included the workshop “Key Elements of Subsea Tiebacks,” presented at the Subsea Tiebacks Forum & Exhibition on February 18-21, 2020. This year the SUT-US received a complimentary booth space for marketing support of the workshop. Presenters included: Christopher Curran, Senior Consultant, CJC Enterprises, LLC, William Taggart, Senior Engineering Advisor, Murphy Exploration & Production, Charles Horn, Senior Advisor, NanoRidge Materials, Inc, and Karl Schnakenburg, Global Engineering Advisor, BHP.


SUT US’ Annual General Meeting was held on December 6th, 2019. During this meeting, the executive committee introduced the new elected board members:

  • John Allen (Re-elected)
  • Kim Faulk (Re-elected)

OSIG Committee

OSIG is comprised of the following subcommittees: Short Courses, Student/Faculty Research, Mentoring and Innovation, Learning Seminars & Webinars, School Touring and Communications. 44 active volunteers form OSIG.

OSIG’s activities for the 2019/2020-year have included learning luncheons, courses, and school touring programs.

Learning Luncheons & Webinars

  • July 24, 2019 – General Overview of Renewable Floating Wind Turbine Foundations
    Dr. Charles Aubeny, Texas A&M University
    Webinar attendees: 30
  • October 10, 2019 – Cost Savings via Advance Geotechnical Design
    Scott Whyte, Fugro UK & Joe Hilton, Sea and Land Project Engineering
    Webinar attendees: 13
  • November 11, 2019 – Introduction to Integrated Marine Site Characterization
    Early Doyle, Shell Retired
    Webinar attendees: 33
  • December 5, 2019 – Simultaneous AUV Survey and Seabed Sampling Operations to Optimize Marine Mineral Exploration Programs
    Dan McConnell, Fugro
    Webinar attendees: 8
  • May 21, 2020 – Increasing Role of Field and Laboratory Seismic Measurements in Geotechnical Engineering
    Dr. Kenneth Stokoe, University of Texas at Austin
    Webinars attendees: 32

Workshops & Courses

  • December 9-11, 2019 – Introduction to Integrated Marine Site Characterization
    Seminar attendees: 21 Webinar attendees: 4
  • Geotechnical Developments in US Offshore Wind
    Workshop was comprised of the following sessions:

    • Research and Industry Interaction in Offshore Wind – Webinar attendees: 113
    • Offshore Wind Facilities Design and Installation – Webinar attendees: 126
    • New developments in Site Characterization for Offshore Wind – Webinar attendees: 132
    • US Offshore Wind Market Update – Webinar attendees: 109

OSIG’s School Touring Sub-committee is one of the most active groups in the SUT- US branch. Supporting OSIG members include Kim Faulk, Alan Foley, Francisco Hernandez, Jim Collins, Andy Hill, Dan Lanier, Amanda Evans, Dan McConnell, Logan Brant and Shawn Williamson. Thanks to the dedication and passion of its active volunteers, it was possible to reach 1,099 students from K-12th in the 2019/2020 year.

  • July 3, 2019 – Summer Camp – Roving Robots
    Houston Museum of Natural Science
    Students reached: 24
  • July 17, 2019 – Summer Camp – Roving Robots
    Houston Museum of Natural Science
    Students reached: 22
  • July 24, 2019 – Summer Camp – Roving Robots
    Houston Museum of Natural Science
    Students reached: 26
  • August 7, 2019 – Summer Camp – Roving Robots
    Houston Museum of Natural Science
    Students reached: 23
  • August 14, 2019 – Summer Camp – Roving Robots
    Houston Museum of Natural Science
    Students reached: 24
  • November 8, 2019 – 6th Grade Geology Rocks
    Hamilton Middle School
    Students reached: 450
  • March 6, 2020 – 6th Are We There Yet?
    Salyards Middle School
    Students reached: 530

The primary goal for the next months is to improve the volunteer pool and build an alternate channel to deliver the content to k-12 students given the COVID-19 crisis. Continue to develop links with other groups to move the program out of the Houston area, and support collaboration with other groups of SUT-US.

SEO Committee

SEO is comprised of 10 members. SEO’s activities for the 2019/ 2020 year have included learning luncheons, webinars and its flagship subsea course:

Learning Luncheons, Webinars & Courses

  • August 27, 2019 – Drilling 101
    15 Learners
  • September 9-12, 2019 – Subsea Awareness Course
    7 Learners
  • January 23, 2020 – Offshore Workforce Engagement Through Modern Technology & Techniques
    Indresh Chauhan, Marybeth Burgess, Vijayanandraj VR, Vineeth Veetil, Sify eLearning
    Seminar attendees: 23 Webinar attendees: 2
  • January 30, 2020 – Westwood Global Energy 2020 Offshore Rig Market Outlook
    Terry Childs, Westwood Global Energy Group
    Seminar attendees: 19 Webinar attendees: 1
  • February 18, 2020 – Key Elements of Subsea Tiebacks
    68 Learners
  • March 26, 2020 – Subsea Water Treatment and Injection Design, Qualification and Operations
    Cobie W. Loper, National Oilwell Varco (NOV)
    Seminar attendees: 6 Webinar attendees: 8
  • June 19-July 10, 2020 – Subsea Awareness Course
    10 Learners

The Subsea Awareness Course (SAC) continues to be one of the main income generators for SUT US. The SEO committee and staff members continue to invest efforts to improve the learning experience of this course, and reaching out to more professionals throughout the industry. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the course was held remotely comprised of three sessions over a three-week period (one session per week). These sessions were recorded, and the SEO is looking to work on the best version of this material to monetize from it. The leading hosting companies for the course have been TechnipFMC, BP America, Shell, Evoleap, Chevron, Genesis Oil & Gas, and Oceaneering.
The SEO in representation of SUT-US was a supporting organization for the International Society of Automation (ISA) Process Industry Conference held on November 4-6, 2019. This was the first time SUT-US has representation in this conference.

Upcoming events for SEO 2020:

  • October 1-22, 2020 – Subsea Awareness Oline Course
  • October 7, 2020 – Webinar: Testing Expertise and Access for Marine Energy Research Program
  • November 5, 2020 –Flow Assurance Fundamentals and Emerging Technologies Online Course
  • January 2021 – Drilling 101 Course

Group on Environmental Forces (GEFUS)

19 volunteers form part of the Group on Environmental Forces (GEFUS).

GEFUS continues to host the 1000-Year Scholarship program organized jointly with Loop Current & Eddies Alliance. The 1000-Year Scholarship rewards outstanding students studying curricula and performing research in the fields of meteorology or physical oceanography and who are pursuing a career in Metocean. The funds are obtained by donations from the metocean community and marine technology industry. In 2019, two scholarships worth $1,500 were awarded.

Upcoming events GEFUS 2021:

  • Marine Autonomous Systems Technical Conference & Exhibition. Call for abstracts is open.

Robotics and Automation Committee

The Robotics and Automation Committee (R&A) is chaired by Dr. Fathi Ghorbel, Professor at Rice University, and Director of the Robotics & Intelligent Systems Lab. Individuals from the following organizations committed membership: Schlumberberger, SAAB, inRobotics, Kongsberg, Chevron, CANRIG, RBR Group, TAMU, UH CL, and Rice University.

The committee finalized and approved their constitution in June 2020, and Faisal Yousef from Canrig is Chair Elect. Upcoming learning programs will focus on panel discussions on policy issues, standards, or key challenges in robotics and automation and strategies to address them.

Offshore Renewables Committee

Roger Osborne from Offshore Energy Advisors, Chairs the Offshore Renewables Committee (OR). Current efforts are focused on defining membership.

Learning Luncheons, Webinars & Courses

  • September 5, 2019 – A Review on Offshore Renewable Development
    Webinar attendees: 8

Education Committee

Four members comprise the Education Committee, chaired by John Allen. This committee is responsible for reviewing SUT US’ annual scholarship applications.

The 2019 scholarship recipients where recognized during the Scholarship Awards Ceremony on November 15, 2019. The selected students by the Scholarships Subcommittee were:

  • Moslem Moradi, Geotechnical Engineering, Texas A&M University
  • Tejas Pawar, Subsea & Petroleum Engineering, University of Houston
  • Guillermo Duran, Geotechnical Engineering, Texas A&M University
  • Issam Ben Moallem, Mechanical Engineering, Rice University
  • Alyssa Rene Coy, Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston
  • Abhishek Sharma, Subsea Engineering, University of Houston

The Education committee has established two new student chapters in the University of Texas at Austin and Prairie View A&M University.

Looking to establish clear membership guidelines, the education committee was previously broken down into separate entities, due to size. The board position of Chair for K-12 outreach was created, separating out the University student branch committee as a separate chair. John Allen is requested to assist create university student branches globally, and discussion has started on how to expand university student branches in the U.S. beyond the reach of the Houston centric executive.

Young Professionals Committee (SUT-YP)

Learning Luncheons, Webinars and Networking Events:

  • July 11, 2019 – Networking Event
    Attendees: 4
  • July 19, 2019 – BBQ Scholarship Fundraiser
    Attendees: 18
  • February 6, 2020 – Marine Geohazards
    Andrew Hill, Bp
    Seminar attendees: 27 Webinar attendees: 19
  • May 28, 2020 – Put Your Retirement Plan to Work
    Suzanne Short, Edward Jones
    Webinar attendees: 4
  • June 4, 2020 – Virtual Networking Event + Bingo Night
    Webinar attendees: 21

The SUT-YP have remained active throughout the past years supporting SUT-US sponsored events such as Oceanology International Americas, Offshore Technology Conference, networking events, and the School Touring program. In addition to organizing their own fundraising activities such as a Barbeque Scholarship Fundraiser scheduled for July 19, 2019 sponsored by Benthic, Geosyntec, and TechnipFMC.

The SUT-YP along with SEO and OSIG committees, are leading the SUT-US 2-Tier Mentoring Program for students and young professionals. An application system has been set up, and the current efforts are focused on recruiting a pool of mentors to be able to advertise the program for mentees.

Student Chapters

SUT-US gave its student chapters their annual sponsorship checks during the Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony on November 15, 2019. The annual contribution serves as an affirmation of SUT-US’ support to the university student chapters.
The student chapters’ sponsorships help the student communities organize seminars, workshops, meetings, community service activities and competitions throughout the academic year. Some of the activities organized by the different student chapters are listed below:

Texas A&M University Student Chapter (SUT-TAMU) program of activities for the 2019/2020 included:

  • January 16, 2020 – Underwater Robotics/Artificial Intelligence Seminar
  • February 18, 2020 –SUT Young Professionals Seminar
  • March 12, 2020 – Climate Change Seminar
  • April 11, 2020 – ROV Competition
  • TBA – SUT-TAMU Student Chapter Elections

University of Houston Student Chapter (SUT-SES) program of activities for the 2019/2020 included:

  • February 24, 2020 – First General Meeting
  • March 7, 2020 –Resume Critique and Networking Workshop
  • TBA – Information Session (Dr. Medina-Cetina)
  • March 13, 2020 – Company Tour (TechnipFMC)
  • TBA – Technical Writing Contest
  • TBA – Information Session (Diego Lamacchia)
  • April 16, 2020 – Technical Writing Contest

Prairie View A&M Student Chapter (SUT-PVAMU) program of activities for the 2019/2020 included:

  • Every Thursday – Officer Board meetings
  • Every Thursday and Friday – AUV Workshop
  • January 13 – March 27 – Recruitment Efforts
  • TBD: Tech demos, Food sale, Flyer distribution, Guest Speakers
  • February 1 – April 30 – Cybersecurity Integration
  • March 19 – Officer Elections
  • TBD – Additional Official Activities
  • TBD – Guest Speaker Dates

Due to COVID-19 some of the student activities were suspended and others moved to online events. The student chapters continue meeting regularly and organizing activities remotely.