Dr. Larry Robinson, assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management, to leave NOAA

October 28, 2011

Dr. Larry Robinson, NOAA’s assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management, and deputy administrator, announced today that he plans to step down effective November 18, returning to academia to resume his work in academic administration and train the next generation of environmental scientists and leaders.

Assuming his duties in May 2010, Robinson arrived shortly after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and immediately led the coordination of NOAA’s work with partners and stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico. He also provided vital leadership to advance the Obama Administration’s priorities, serving as the NOAA representative to the National Ocean Policy Deputy’s Committee; the National Science and Technology Council Committee (NSTC) on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education; the NSTC Committee on Environment and Natural Resources; the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force and other key restoration related taskforces.

Earlier this year, Robinson led a working group on ocean plumes established to model and predict ocean transport of radiation threats to U.S. assets in the Pacific and in the continental United States from radioactivity released by the damaged Japanese Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.  His training as a nuclear chemist was critical to the group as they worked to generate models to enhance understanding of the movement of radiological contaminants in the ocean.

“I deeply appreciate Larry’s service, especially his ability to engage in the breadth of scientific activities during his tenure at NOAA, and the mentoring he provided to senior NOAA managers,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “In every instance his contributions on behalf of NOAA advanced the administration’s environmental and ocean conservation and management priorities.

In keeping with his commitment to education and diversity, Larry also focused his participation with the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education to highlight NOAA’s important role in education programs and activities to prepare the next generation of NOAA scientists from all segments of American society.

“From the visionary and inspirational leadership of Dr. Jane Lubchenco, to the world-class talent and unwavering commitment to our mission by the NOAA team all across the nation, and to the Department of Commerce and the federal family, I am privileged to have worked with them all in service critical to the well being of communities and ecological resources entrusted to us to manage and conserve,” said Robinson. “I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to this administration for providing me this opportunity to serve.” 

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