Inaugural Ocean Energy Leader Award Presented to Captain Rick Williams

Oregon Wave Energy Trust founding board member and long time ocean energy advocate selected by Board of Directors to receive first annual leadership award.

The Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET) Board of Directors announced the selection of Rick Williams for the Inaugural Ocean Energy Leadership Award presented at the seventh Ocean Renewable Energy Conference. The conference was held during Oregon Wave Week that was proclaimed by Governor John Kitzhaber September 24-28, 2012.

The Inaugural Ocean Energy Leadership Award recognizes the pioneering role of Captain Williams. He has demonstrated consistent, thoughtful leadership and ocean engineering technical expertise throughout the formative years of the ocean renewable energy industry in the United States. Going forward, OWET will select worthy individuals for an annual award.

Captain Rick Williams, US Navy (Ret), is an Oregon City resident who represents SAIC, a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology company in the Columbia Region. He consults to government and industry as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Engineer. He has over 30 years of project management and systems engineering experience. His industry certifications include Project Management Professional and New Product Development Professional.

He was a member of the team that presented the Oregon Wave Energy Initiative to the Oregon Innovation Council in 2006. Out of twenty-one applications, wave energy was competitively selected as Oregon’s next emerging industry. Rick was a Founding Board Member of OWET. During his five years on the Board, he served as Chair of the Research and Development Committee and as Ocean Renewable Energy Conference Co-Chair for the first six conferences. OWET recognized Captain Williams and Mr. David Gibson of Oregon Iron Works as Honorary Lifetime Co-Chair Emeriti at this year’s seventh conference.

Captain Williams is an ocean engineer and career naval officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Construction Engineering Management from Oregon State University. After initial assignments in hard hat diving, salvage and surface warfare, Rick was selected as a Saturation Diving Officer (Aquanaut). He was then selected for the submarine duty and the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program.

Following deployments to the Western Pacific on an attack submarine, Rick was selected to lead the crew of Deep Submergence Vehicle SEA CLIFF and qualified as a Deep Submergence Pilot (Hydronaut). During his command tour, DSV SEA CLIFF was converted from 6,500 foot to 20,000-foot (6,000 meter) depth capability. Rick was Command Pilot during sea trials, shakedown, deep ocean recovery operations and the initial test dive to 20,000 feet in the Middle America Trench in 1985. SEA CLIFF was the deepest diving manned submersible in the world and was designated as “Flagship of America’s Year of the Ocean”. Rick was elected as Fellow of the Explorers Club.

During his twenty-five years of active duty, with twenty-one years of sea duty, Rick served on surface ships, submarines, research vessels, and the Third Fleet Staff. He earned two US Navy masters’ degree-equivalent technical sub-specialties in Naval-Mechanical Engineering and Naval-Nuclear Propulsion, and an MBA from San Diego State University. During his assignment to nuclear attack submarine, USS SPADEFISH (SSN 668), he led two expeditions to the North Pole as Commanding Officer. Captain Williams led the conversion of USS CORONADO as the Joint Command Ship Prototype and created the Sea Based Battle Lab. He was selected as a Defense Acquisition Professional, served at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, and was assigned additional duty at the Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Rick’s service was recognized with the Legion of Merit (two awards) and other military decorations.

Rick continues to support OWET as Chair of the Industry Advisory Group. He was appointed as Wave Energy Industry Representative to the Territorial Sea Plan Advisory Committee (TSPAC) by the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC). Rick is a member of the Oregon State University College of Engineering Advisory Board, the Habitat for Humanity Portland Metro Board of Directors, and is an officer of the Mt Hood Ski Patrol.