Riverside employees recognized as Team Members of the Year for 2016 by NOAA

Riverside Technology, inc. is proud to recognize our outstanding employees who have been nominated and awarded the NOAA Fisheries Team Member of the Year Awards. These individuals are honored for their outstanding contributions in advancing the NOAA Fisheries mission as recognized by their peers and supervisors. Ryan Caillouet, Alyssa Mathers, and Thomas Morrell were each awarded this prestigious honor. We also want to recognize Andy Millett, who was nominated but just missed the final cut for the award. As an organization, we pride ourselves on the valuable contributions that our employees provide to our partners in the pursuit of scientific advancement.

Ryan Caillouet is a Fisheries Biologist II. He has worked for Riverside since 2015 as a member of the Reef Fish Unit, assisting the Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) at the Mississippi Laboratories (MS labs). Ryan was a huge asset to the team as they worked on an Advanced Science and Technology funded grant to build and test a full-spherical camera. He brought an extensive knowledge of design, fabrication, and use of stereo-camera technology. He went above and beyond to add skill sets that have magnified the value he has added to projects, such as computer aided design (CAD) and additive manufacturing (3D printing).  The spherical cameras that Ryan has been developing have been successful and are on the cutting edge of science and technology. The Reef Fish Unit is considered a leader nationwide in the application of optics on projects at various laboratories across the country and worldwide. In addition to Ryan’s invaluable work with his team, he has also used his skills to assist others in the MS lab on various projects.  In a letter from William B. Driggers III, a Ph.D. Research Fishery Biologist, he states “ I am extremely impressed with Ryan’s knowledge and abilities, and was not aware of what an asset he is beyond the Reef Fish Unit until he single-handedly and very quickly repaired two pieces of equipment (for us). Given Ryan’s expertise and our need for someone to repair and maintain environmental equipment and perhaps, more importantly, ensure we are collecting accurate and reliable environmental data, I am certain he would be a great candidate (for the NOAA Fisheries Team Member of the Year Award).”

Alyssa Mathers is the Observer Coordinator with the Panama City Laboratory’s Gillnet Observer and Bottom Longline Observer Programs and has been in this position since 2013. She oversees and manages day-to-day operations of the observer program, including logistics, analysis, and reporting for Fisheries scientists. Her performance in 2016 was exceptional, showing positive work ethic, attention to detail, initiative, and problem-solving skills. She increased team productivity and data quality for the Panama City observer and Shark Team. Alyssa stepped into a vacated role, in addition to her other duties, to manage and maintain the intern program with the Shark Team at the Panama City Laboratory. Alyssa’s willingness to take on this additional role unprompted allowed this program to continue. Despite not having formal training, she not only successfully led this program but accepted a role in analysis and model development of the data they gathered. Even with the added responsibilities, she was able to maintain a high quality of work in her other job duties. She showed extreme initiative and resourcefulness, developing ways to make the entire team operate more efficiently under strategies that she devised.

Thomas Morell is the Observer Coordinator for the Pelagic Observer Program (POP). His duties range from talking to fishing vessel owners/captains, to training maritime safety to fisheries observers, to quality controlling observer data that is used for various fisheries management decisions. He is an exemplary member of the team in these everyday duties, but his Team Member of the Year recognition highlights an act of heroism. In March 2016 he was responsible for executing the maritime rescue of a sick and unresponsive observer aboard one of the POP vessels. His calm and swift assessment of the situation allowed for a seamless rescue of the observer by the Coast Guard helicopter. He was then vigilant in monitoring the status and providing updates to the program manager and family. Later the same year on Christmas Eve 2016, he was again put in an emergency situation and was able to rescue another ill observer off a vessel, calmly and effectively executing the POPs Emergency Notification Plan (ENP). It is not an exaggeration to state that his quick thinking and calm approach in assessing these situations saved the lives of these two team members by getting them medical attention as quickly as possible. Kenneth Keene, the Pelagic Observer Program Manager states “(This) is an extreme case of heroism and dedication not only to the job but to the people that work for him. I’m proud to have Thomas as a member of our team, and I am assured that if an emergency situation occurs he has the skills to act appropriately and effectively.”

Andy Millett is a Field Part Chief (FPC) of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) plankton survey aboard the NOAA Ship McArthur II. This is a job that involves collecting samples for determining damage caused to the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) planktonic ecosystem by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Andy has since served as FPC for all routine Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) ichthyoplankton surveys conducted by the SEFSC/Mississippi Laboratories/Pascagoula Facility. Andy is recognized for the drive and expertise that he brings to all areas of his work, including developing more efficient ways to collect data and complete the surveys. Andy sought out training beyond the scope of his role in order to repair and perform maintenance during his time on the vessels. This training has prevented loss of data collection, reduced time lost on surveys, and assured continued accurate data collection needed to complete the goals of the SEAMAP surveys. The work that Andy has accomplished since his time as a graduate volunteer in 2008 has expanded the routine data collected during the standard SEAMAP ichthyoplankton surveys. As NOAA moves towards an ecosystem based management, this data will become essential in understanding the dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico. His drive to collect the best possible data while at sea, strong work ethic, and dedication to the goals of the Mississippi Labs SEAMAP Plankton Unit and NOAA Fisheries, makes Andy Millett an individual truly deserving of this special recognition.

Huge congratulations are in order for these individuals as well as the other nominees and recipients for this prestigious honor. We are proud to have so many hard-working members of the Riverside team recognized for the common theme of team work, maximizing efficiency, and taking the initiative to learn and utilize new skill sets for the betterment of the team. 

For additional information about the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, where Riverside's support of NOAA's Fisheries is located for this contract, please visit: SEFSC.