Summer 2020 eNewsletter

Director’s Corner: A Message from CIGLR’s Director, Dr. Thomas Johengen

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are facing so many new and unexpected challenges, both in our work and in our home lives. I hope that these changes have not been too burdensome, and that everyone is staying safe and healthy. I have been fortunate enough to work with an amazing and inspiring group of people who have made these difficult times more manageable. Every day, I am inspired by our scientists and staff who have found new ways to meaningfully contribute to the missions of CIGLR and NOAA. The quality and dedication of my colleagues gives me hope and optimism for a future beyond the limitations of the pandemic. I also hope that we all take pause to consider and support those who may have lost jobs or are struggling to care for their families. Because right now, we need to pull together and help whenever we see an opportunity to do so.

As you may have learned already, I was presented with yet another unexpected challenge. Recently, I was approached by the Dean of the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability about the need to provide new leadership for CIGLR. My decision was easy, because although it has only been a year since I stepped down as associate director at CIGLR, my work family needed me. After 29 years of working for CIGLR it truly does seem like family to me, and it is truly my honor to return to serve as acting director while we search for a permanent leader. During this period, I will also continue leading Michigan Sea Grant and conducting select research projects. My goal is to ensure a seamless transition for both our internal institute staff at NOAA GLERL and for all the ongoing activities with our external Consortium Partners. For those new Consortium Partners with whom I have not yet had the pleasure to interact, I look forward to working with you and helping to keep those partnerships thriving.

To this point, I want to express my sincere appreciation for everything that Dr. Brad Cardinale has done to promote expanded opportunities for new research and collaborations among all of our CIGLR Consortium members. Since undertaking the lead to win the recompletion for CIGLR in 2017, the organization has seen uninterrupted growth in the number of research projects, student fellowships, research staff and scientists, and the development of a strong network of 19 academic, business, and non-governmental partners. This growth translates into a significantly increased capacity to support NOAA, expanded leadership in helping drive science-based management of the Great Lakes, and a stronger commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

In closing, I want to congratulate and thank all of our staff and all our partners, for the passion and dedication you bring to the job of helping to protect the resources and vitality of our beloved Great Lakes. What a privilege it is to work with you within the confines of such exemplary Great Lakes organizations, CIGLR and Sea Grant.

Thomas Johengen



Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research &
Michigan Sea Grant