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Two Directors, Two Jeffs, Two Days

Jeff Gunderson retires from Minnesota Sea Grant

A Second Sea Grant Director Named Jeff Retires

Today, Jeffrey Gunderson, Director of Minnesota Sea Grant, follows Ohio Sea Grant's former director Dr. Jeffrey Reutter into retirement. Reutter retired yesterday.

Gunderson, who was originally hired as the program's first-ever fisheries extension agent on this day - April Fools day - 36 years ago, said, "My career with Minnesota Sea Grant has been absolutely gratifying. I'm quick to tell newcomers that if you ever get bored working for Sea Grant, it's your own fault."

After several stints as interim director, Gunderson became the program's sixth director in 2009. All the while, he continued to serve as the program's fisheries and aquaculture specialist. His career spanned eating sea lamprey, rearing crayfish and close encounters with smelt, sicowet and leech issues. Gunderson is a master at developing solid and lasting collaborations across the Great Lakes and holds the respect of University of Minnesota officials and his National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration colleagues.

Gunderson's retirement is part of a spate of retirements across the Sea Grant Network. Jesse Schomberg, half of Minnesota Sea Grant's new interim team of directors observes, "Sea Grant is approaching its 50th anniversary and many of the recent retirees, like Jeff, were involved with getting their program's started. I suppose we can't expect them to work forever but since this is not the type of job where there is a lot of turnover, the goodbyes are painful. We're losing much hard-won experience and institutional memory."

Valerie Brady, Research Coordinator and Minnesota Sea Grant's other interim director, said, "Minnesota Sea Grant just won't be the same." She and the rest of the Minnesota Sea Grant staff expect to begin interviewing candidates for Gunderson's replacement within the month.

Hear what Jeff Gunderson says about Minnesota Sea Grant, aqua-shysters, and almost four decades of a fishy career (MP3).

Posted on April 1, 2015


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