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Susan E. Ford & John N. Kraeuter Honored Life Members of the NSA

Please join us in congratulating two of our own as Honored Life Members into one of the oldest scientific associations in North America – The National Shellfisheries Association (NSA).

Yesterday, at the 104th Annual Business Luncheon (yes the 104th!) of the NSA in Seattle, WA, Susan Ford, Professor Emeritus of Marine and Coastal Sciences and John Kraeuter, Associate Director of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory became Honored Life Members of the Association.

John and Susan now join the ranks of many well known Honorees such as Brian Bayne, John H. Ryther, R. Tucker Abbott, Robert R.L. Guillard, Victor S. Kennedy and Ruth Turner to name a few.

The Executive Committee unanimously approved their nomination and, recognizing that John and Susan were close colleagues, somewhat deviously invited John to present Susan her award without John knowing that Susan would turn around and present John with the same award.  It was a wonderful ceremony to which both received a standing ovation from the more than 300 attendees.

Here are a few excepts from the presentations:

Susan E. Ford

Susan’s recognition by the Association dates back to 1971 when she won the Thurlow C. Nelson Award for her presentation ‘”MSX” – 10 Years in the Lower Delaware Bay’.  The published record indicates she was the fifth recipient and the first woman to win.

Her contributions to the field have continued persistently to this day without compromise of quality or integrity or impact.  She has been appointed to the editorial board of several journals during her career, including the Journal of Shellfish Research, Diseases of Aquatic Organism and the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology.  She is routinely sought out to serve as an expert on national and international review panels, and currently serves as the only US representative on the ICES Working Group on Pathology and Diseases of Marine Organisms.

Susan’s contributions to the field are well recognized by her peers where she enjoys the highest level of respect.

Within NSA, Susan has always preferred to work behind the scenes, turning down requests to run for office but never falling short on service in a variety of appointments and volunteer posts including Newsletter Editor, Awards Committee Chair, Student Presentation Judge, session chair/moderator/organizer, local site conference committee, NSA Historian, and of course co-Chair of the Publications committee.

As Historian, Susan organized and moderated the Centennial Roundtable at the annual NSA meeting in Providence.  Her most recent and perhaps most significant accomplishment to NSA was negotiating the agreement to place the Journal of Shellfish Research online with BioOne.  Through her negotiations, Susan obtained free online access for members to JSR via BioOne along with royalties from BioOne that, to date, have increased revenue to support production of the Journal.  For years the EXCOM debated the pros and cons of online access with the cons winning out. Essentially single-handedly, Susan found a way to provide online access that produced revenue to help balance the books.  Not only did we benefit, but BioOne was so impressed that they asked her to be a member of their Board of Directors.

Susan Ford exemplifies the kind of professional that all NSA members should seek to become.  As a researcher she has sought solutions for difficult problems both basic and applied, which ultimately impact every oysterman’s ability to earn a living, feed people and support their family.  As a member of NSA she has provided assistance and leadership without expectation of reward or recognition.  Though she seeks no recognition, the Awards Committee and the EXCOM overwhelmingly feel that her service, accomplishments and example deserve recognition as an Honored Life Member of the National Shellfisheries Association.

John N. Kraeuter

John’s connections to NSA and the field of shellfish research are strong and significant.  After graduating from Florida State John’s fascination with science and the natural world led him to graduate school at William and Mary where he completed a Master’s degree with Dexter Haven (a former NSA President and Honored Life Member) and then completed his dissertation on “A taxonomic and distributional study of the Western North Atlantic Dentaliidae”.  From there he began his successful career at Sapelo Island – a beautiful, isolated barrier island research station operated by the University of Georgia.  There John matured into a outstanding estuarine ecologist working on “Invertebrates and nutrient cycles in salt marsh ecosystems.”  But he is perhaps best known for his work with another NSA Past President and Honored Life Member, Mike Castagna, at the VIMS Eastern Shore Laboratory in Wachapreague, Virginia.  Together, John and Mike perfected hard clam aquaculture methods and produced the “Manual for growing the hard clam, Mercenaria”, a publication that has yet to be replaced as the basic bible for hard clam aquaculturists.

John is well-respected nationally and internationally for his work on shellfish, particularly hard clams (aka eastern quahogs for you strict New Englanders) and this is best embodied in another great effort with Mike Castagna: “The Biology of the Hard Clam”.  John’s love has been estuaries and the soft sediment fauna within, particularly clams.  His research has always bent towards the applied side, often directly supporting fisheries and aquaculture.  And his honest and forthright manner has gained him an incredible amount of respect from shellfish growers all along the eastern seaboard.  He is known for his innovative and well-designed, well-replicated experiments, even ones that include putting little buried fences around clams, because, “hey, you just don’t know!”

He has served on countless committees locally, regionally and nationally; on which he is particularly known for his reliability (if he says he’ll do it, you will rarely have to remind him), his penchant to play the devil’s advocate or to point out the obvious when academics stray from dealing with the problem at hand – “I mean come on folks…”; and (3) his infectious laugh.

John has been a member of NSA for many years, and has certainly been an active force in the Association.  In 1990 he was appointed Chair of the Constitution Committee to update the Constitution and By-Laws, a task long overdue at the time.  The following year he served as Vice President and Program Chair for the annual meeting where he was elected to serve as President.

John has continued serving in various capacities without interruption through the Past Presidents Committee or simply at the request of the EXCOM.  As President, John recognized the need to put the organization on sound fiscal footing and developed the plan that is followed to this day to maintain one year’s operating funds to ensure the organization can persist through economic troubles.  John was instrumental, behind the scenes again, in collecting and collating materials for Mel Carriker to compile the organization’s history into The Taming of the Oyster.  John has been working tirelessly on the Publications Committee providing advice and oversight to the Journal, the Quarterly Newsletter and the Website.

So John, in recognition of your dedication to supporting NSA and your outstanding contributions to the field of shellfisheries, it is my pleasure, on behalf of President LeRoy Creswell and the Executive Committee to recognize you as an Honored Life Member of the National Shellfisheries Association.

Congratulations John and Susan!