Richard Spinrad confirmed as 11th NOAA administrator

Scientist Richard “Rick” W. Spinrad is back at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this time as the agency’s 11th administrator.

“As an accomplished and respected scientist, educator, communicator and executive, Rick has dedicated his career to the science that is at the core of NOAA’s mission,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo, in the wake of Spinrad’s confirmation on June 17 by the U.S. Senate.

In his new post Spinrad has oversight of the agency’s strategic direction and oversight of $7 billion in proposed FY22 annual spending. That budget is projected to cover advancing U.S. weather modeling and prediction, tackling the climate crisis, accelerating the application of new technologies for improved environmental observations, leveraging non-governmental and private partnerships, and promoting a sustainable blue economy.

Spinrad, a native of New York City, holds a bachelor’s degree in earth and planetary sciences from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s and doctorate in oceanography from Oregon State University.

Under the Obama administration he held the post of chief scientist and assistant administrator for ocean services and coastal zone management at NOAA.

Janet Coit has been appointed as assistant administrator of NOAA Fisheries, a post formerly held by Chris Oliver, who served previously as executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Coit has over 30 years of experience working on environmental issues, natural resource management and stewardship, and will be an asset to the team, said Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo.

Oliver, meanwhile, has joined American Seafoods, in Seattle, as the company’s special advisor on government affairs. Oliver served for 16 years as executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council before accepting the administrative post at NOAA Fisheries.