AUVfest 2008 Explorers


Kathy Abbass D.K. (Kathy) Abbass
Director and Founder
Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project

D.K. (Kathy) Abbass is the Director of the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, which she founded in 1989. Abbass received her doctorate in anthropology at Southern Illinois University in 1979 and was a post-doctoral researcher in maritime history at Harvard University and University of California-Berkeley. She was a professor of anthropology and sociology for 10 years at Norfolk State University and then "ran away to sea" to work on tall ships and to apprentice as a marine surveyor, becoming the first woman in the country to do so. From 1989 to 1990, Abbass was the director of the Museum of Yachting in Newport, Rhode Island; she turned her maritime interests to underwater archaeology in 1991. She has worked around the world on different anthropology, archaeology, and maritime history projects, ranging from African topics to searching for Captain Cook’s ship. Abbass has published widely.



Tom AustinTom Austin
Principal Engineer
Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Thomas Austin graduated from Northeastern University in 1987 with an MSEE in communications and signal processing. He worked for 12 years at Benthos, Inc., eventually becoming chief engineer. He joined the Oceanographic Systems Laboratory (OSL) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in 1990 and took over as the OSL lab head in 2006. At WHOI, he has been involved in many different projects, including tethered remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), towed systems, and sea-floor observatories. Most recently, his technical focus has been in autonomous undersea vehicle (AUV) development for scientific, commercial, and military applications.



David Bellino
Project Manager
UnderSea Enterprise Analysis Group
Naval Undersea Warfare Center - Division Newport

David Bellino's engineering background gives him a unique perspective as a director, producer, and technical lead. Professionally, he has focused on computer science, interactive media, and visualization. He has managed projects for high profile clients, such as the Rolling Stones, and has produced and directed entertainment content for Virgin Records, BMG Music, Sony Music, Hasbro Interactive, EMI/Capitol, MCA Records, and Universal Pictures. His work has been recognized by Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, and Billboard magazine; and he has received international film festival awards.



Frank CantelasFrank Cantelas
Maritime Archaeology Program Officer
NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Frank Cantelas is the maritime archaeology program officer for NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. He oversees maritime archaeology for the office, including a peer-review grant program that funds interdisciplinary voyages to shipwrecks and other submerged maritime heritage sites. Cantelas spent 14 years teaching graduate students in maritime archaeology and research methods in the Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University. He has directed and participated in shipwreck projects related to the American Civil War, including the USS Monitor and the Union transport ship, Maple Leaf. Other research has taken him to Micronesia to study American whaling ships sunk by the Confederate commerce raider CSS Shenandoah, to Alaska to identify the Kad’yak, an historic Russian-American Company vessel, and to Cyprus to survey submerged Roman/Byzantine sites.



Tane CasserleyTane Casserley
National Maritime Heritage Coordinator
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Tane Casserley, the national maritime heritage coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, specializes in 19th-century warships and deep-water archaeology. Casserley holds graduate degrees in maritime archaeology from both the University of Hawaii and East Carolina University. He has led NOAA archaeological expeditions in the Florida Keys, the Great Lakes, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and to the USS Monitor; most recently, he dove with the National Park Service to a sunken B-29 in Lake Mead. Casserley’s projects have used technical diving, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and manned submersibles. He is a dive instructor and certified Trimix and closed-circuit rebreather diver with the National Association of Underwater Instructors.


Ted ClemTed Clem
Senior Research Physicist
Naval Surface Warfare Center - Panama City Division

Ted Clem is a senior research physicist and the coordinator for electromagnetic sensor technology at the Naval Surface Warfare Center - Panama City Division. With over 25 years of experience, Clem is currently directing a multi-facility project to develop and demonstrate autonomous underwater systems that identify buried sea mines through the fusion of acoustic and non-acoustic sensors. His expertise and research interests include magnetic sensor technology, superconductivity, statistical mechanics, electromagnetic theory, functional analysis, signal processing, and advanced underwater system development. Clem received a doctorate from North Carolina State University in 1985.


Denise CrimminsDenise Crimmins
Researcher and Electrical Engineer
Naval Undersea Warfare Center - Division Newport

Denise Crimmins is a researcher and electrical engineer for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island. She works to expand the use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) through strategic partnerships with scientists and other professionals around the world who have a mutual interest in protecting the marine environment. Crimmins is currently working with various state and federal agencies and academic institutes that are looking to upgrade their ocean technology infrastructure to include AUVs. With a background in both technology development and environmental management, she is interested in exploring new methods for studying the ocean and its diverse, delicate and complicated ecosystems. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BS in electrical engineering and an MS in marine affairs.


Chris DuarteChris Duarte
Computer Scientist
Naval Undersea Warfare Center

Chris Duarte is a computer scientist at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. Her research efforts have focused on autonomous control for single and multiple autonomous vehicles. She has participated in the design and development of command-and-control strategies for autonomous vehicles — including surface, swimming and bottom crawling — in both military and scientific applications. Her research includes behavior-based control strategies for group search operations, adaptive mapping algorithms and a common language for autonomous group cooperation. Duarte is a graduate of the Brown University with both a BA and an MS in computer science.


Jose E. FernandezJose E. Fernandez
Electrical Engineer
Naval Surface Warfare Center - Panama City

Jose E. Fernandez received his BA in electrical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico in 1984, and an MS in electrical engineering from Florida State University in 1994. Since 1984, he has been working at the Naval Surface Warfare Center - Panama City Division, where he has been involved in the design, testing, and data analysis of several sonar systems. Over the past eight years, most of his work activities have related to the development of synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) technology. He is currently working in the design, development and testing of high frequency and low frequency automonous underwater vehicle-mounted SAS sensors for sea-floor mapping and the detection of submerged or buried objects.


Brendan FoleyBrendan Foley
Maritime Archaeologist
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Dr. Brendan Foley practices maritime archaeology at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He specializes in advanced technologies for archaeology, including application of autonomous underwater vehicles and human-occupied vehicles to precision shipwreck investigations. His fieldwork focuses on ancient shipwrecks in the deep Mediterranean Sea.


R. Grant Gilmore IIIR. Grant Gilmore III
St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research

R. Grant Gilmore III is the director of the St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research. Gilmore earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees, concentrating in history and historical Archaeology, respectively, from the College of William and Mary. He worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for several years before earning his doctorate in historical archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology at the University College London. In 2004, he moved to St. Eustatius in the Caribbean, where he manages both the terrestrial and submerged cultural resources on one of the richest archaeological areas in the Americas.


Kelly GleasonKelly Gleason
Maritime Archaeologist
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

Kelly Gleason is a maritime archaeologist with the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Following an undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame, Gleason pursued a master’s degree in nautical archaeology at St. Andrews University in Scotland, and a doctorate at East Carolina University in North Carolina. In 2004, she began working for the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in Honolulu, Hawaii, as part of the Pacific Islands Region. She became the maritime archaeologist for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in 2007. In addition to her experience working on sites in the Main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, she has worked on shipwreck sites in Scotland, North Carolina, Northern California, the Great Lakes, and the Caribbean.


Brian Houston
Research Physicist
Naval Research Laboratory

Brian Houston works with the low frequency broadband mine identification (LFBB) autonomous underwater vehicle, which detects, classifies, and identifies sea mines. Houston’s specialty is physical acoustics and structural acoustic based mine classification approaches. He received his bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees in physics from American University, and has been working with the Naval Research Laboratory since 1984.



Robert HughesRobert Hughes
Transphibian Project Lead
Nekton Research, LLC
Durham, North Carolina

Robert Hughes is the vehicle lead for the Transphibian platform, an extremely maneuverable multi-role autonomous underwater vehicle. Since joining Nekton in 2004, Hughes has been key in the design of eight different platforms, and currently leads the Nekton-based vehicle development. Prior to Nekton, Hughes earned both his bachelor and master of science degrees in mechanical engineering and mechatronics from North Carolina State University. Hughes enjoys driving innovative solutions from concept to in-the-field operation.



Matthew LawrenceMatthew Lawrence
Maritime Archaeologist
NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Matthew Lawrence is a maritime archaeologist working with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Scituate, Massachusetts. He received a master of arts degree in history from East Carolina University’s program in maritime studies. His research interests include 19th-century American steam navigation and remote sensing survey. He is an avid diver and has participated in archaeological research projects throughout the United States and Caribbean.



Charles LoefflerCharles Loeffler
Senior Engineering Scientist
Applied Research Laboratories
University of Texas - Austin

Charles Loeffler is a senior engineering scientist at the Applied Research Laboratories (ARL) with the University of Texas at Austin. He received degrees in electrical engineering and digital signal processing from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Rice University in Houston, Texas, respectively. After finishing graduate school, he taught at Colorado State University and then joined ARL in 1988. ARL introduced him to the world of underwater acoustics, where he has developed multi-ping processing schemes to build images of the sea floor from data of various sonar systems, as well as high-speed array geometry-specific algorithms to process thousands of channels of data from these sonar systems. This research has taken him to experiments in various locations, including the lab’s tanks, ARL’s Lake Travis Test Station, a small boat in the Chesapeake Bay, on large ships in the Pacific, and in a few submarines.



Kerry Lynch
Cultural Resource Management
University of Massachusetts

Kerry Lynch is a professional archaeologist working in cultural resource management (CRM) at the University of Massachusetts.  She is also involved with the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) as its field director and current vice president. Lynch's involvement with northeast archaeology has spanned more than a decade and includes directing academic field schools, all phases of contract archaeology, and many hours logged underwater for RIMAP. Some of her current projects include site condition assessments and GPS monitoring of National Park Service properties in Boston Harbor, supervising an archaeological survey in Western Massachusetts, analyzing Native American artifacts from CRM excavations, and in her spare time, completing her doctoral dissertation on inundated, pre-contact archaeological sites under the waters of New England.



Rod MatherRod Mather
Associate Professor of History
University of Rhode Island

Rod Mather is the director of the archaeology and anthropology graduate program at the University of Rhode Island, and the advisor of the university's underwater archaeology undergraduate program. He received his bachelor of arts from Leeds University in 1986, his master of arts from East Carolina University in 1990, and his doctorate from New College in Oxford in 1996.



Ed MatsonEd Matson
Ranger AUV Project Lead
Nekton Research, LLC
Durham, North Carolina

As the Nekton Ranger project lead, Ed Matson brings over 10 years of experience in mechanical design and electronics packaging to his role. Matson has worked on collaborative projects with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stevens Institute of Technology, SeeByte, and BlueView Technologies, and has logged over 500 hours of field operations with the Ranger autonomous underwater vehicle in support of Office of Naval Research projects.



Tony MatthewsTony Matthews
Electrical Engineer
Naval Surface Warfare Center - Panama City Division

Tony Matthews retired from the U.S. Navy Reserve, Civil Engineer Corps, as a commander. He received his master of science degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech and a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from University of South Florida. He is currently developing synthetic aperture sonar, remote control for mining science and technology, autonomous vehicles for MCM, and automatic target recognition systems for the Navy at Naval Surface Warfare Center - Panama City Division.


William SchopfelWilliam Schopfel
Demonstration Manager
Office of Naval Research

William Schopfel is a demonstration manager for the Office of Naval Research, working on fleet demonstrations and experiments in the field of undersea surveillance, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare technologies. He is a retired career military officer with more than 32 years of service, including two combat tours in the Republic of Vietnam, one tour in Beirut, and one tour in Southwest Asia in Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations. He has a BA in mathematics from the University of Texas, an MA in management and supervision in business management from Central Michigan University, and an MA in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Field Artillery Officer’s Advance Course, the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, and the Command and Staff College.


Thomas SweanThomas Swean
Leader, Ocean Engineering and Marine Systems Team
Office of Naval Research

Thomas Swean is team leader of the ocean engineering and marine systems team at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the science and technology leader of the organic mine countermeasures Future Naval Capabilities program. He received his PhD in aerospace and ocean engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1976, and was research scientist for magnetohydrodynamics systems technology at STD Research Corporation from 1977 to 1981. In 1981, he joined the Naval Research Laboratory as a senior mechanical engineer and later became head of the Center for Hydrodynamic Systems Development. In 1993, he transferred to ONR as ocean technology program manager and assumed his current position in 1996. He is U.S. national leader to Technical Panel 13 (mine warfare) of the Maritime Systems Group of the Technical Cooperation Program, and U.S. delegate to NATO Maritime Capability Group Three (mines, mine countermeasures, and harbor protection). He is a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.


Charlotte TaylorCharlotte Taylor
Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission

Charlotte Taylor is an archaeologist at the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, the state agency responsible for the identification and management of historic sites. Her job responsibilities include overseeing the study of the state's shipwrecks. She works closely with the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) on projects such as RIMAP's ongoing study of the Revolutionary War fleet. She received her bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr and her master’s from the University of York, United Kingdom. Taylor is currently completing her PhD at Brown University.


Jerome VaganayJerome Vaganay
Hovering Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Project Manager
Bluefin Robotics

Jerome Vaganay is the hovering autonomous underwater vehicle (HAUV) project manager for Bluefin Robotics. He participates in the development of the vehicle, which focuses on ship hull inspection for anti-terrorism and force protection. Vaganay joined Bluefin Robotics in 2001 to develop navigation algorithms for Bluefin AUVs, including shallow-water, deep-water, multi-vehicle, and hull-relative applications. Vaganay had a two-year post-doctoral position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant AUV lab and IFREMER (France), which focused on AUV navigation; and he worked for four years at the French National Center for Scientific Research, where he led development of the AUV Taipan.