Alaska Sea Grant in the News

Kodiak's Hank Pennington wins award

Date: October 7, 1998

FAIRBANKS, Alaska--At the biennial conference of the Assembly of Sea Grant Extension Program Leaders, Mike Spranger, Assembly Chair, presented the William Q. Wick Visionary Career Leadership Award to Hank Pennington, former Alaska Sea Grant Marine Agent. The presentation was held at the assembly banquet on September 29th, on the campus of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Hank Pennington is recognized by many in the commercial fishing industry as the individual who was most responsible for developing the premier marine safety education program within the Sea Grant system. He was the creator, founding chairman (1985-1987) and board member (1987-present) of the Alaska Marine Safety Education Program (AMSEA). AMSEA is a consortium of thirteen university, public, and private agencies whose mission is to make marine safety education readily available to the commercial and recreational boating public by training a continually growing cadre of marine safety trainers.

The foundation laid by Hank's commitment to developing a sound educational program now enables AMSEA's continued expansion of marine safety education. AMSEA now provides over 95 instructor training programs annually. These programs not only occur in Alaska, but also across the lower 48 states. Since its inception, AMSEA has certified more than 2,000 trainers who in turn have trained over 65,000 commercial and recreational boaters. According to the United States Coast Guard, this marine safety instruction in Alaska is a "key factor in reducing at-sea deaths by 50 percent and the drowning rate from 25 to 10 per year since 1991."

The William Q. Wick Visionary Career Leadership Award recognizes the achievement and contributions to Sea Grant Extension programs. The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding individuals for their vision and leadership which they dedicated to Sea Grant and Marine Extension efforts.

The award is named after Bill Wick, former extension agent, Sea Grant program leader, and Sea Grant director. For nearly 20 years, Sea Grant was central to Bill's life. He envisioned a national ocean research and education program capable of helping people use the oceans wisely. He was a strong proponent of Sea Grant's unique mission of research, outreach, and education in the marine resource field.

Background on the Assembly

The Assembly of Sea Grant Extension Program Leaders represents the organizational framework of university Sea Grant Extension (SGE) programs within the National Sea Grant College Program. Members include the program leaders of the 29 State Sea Grant Extension Programs.

The Alaska Sea Grant College Program is a marine research, education and outreach service headquartered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. It is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in partnership with the state of Alaska and private industry.

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