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School of Science Welcomes New Vessel Captain

We are thrilled to welcome Virgilio Gonzalez as our new vessel captain.  Virgilio is a 2016 graduate of East Carolina University and comes to Monmouth with a wealth of experience.   He will serve as the captain and primary operator of university vessels and oversee operation, maintenance, servicing and repair of university vessels, vehicles, and trailers. Virgilio will be instrumental in providing technical support to our students, faculty, and institutes such as the UCI on research projects, training activities, and grants and contracts.

He will take over the operation of the R/V Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe, a 49-foot former NOAA vessel, the R/V Seahawk, a 27-foot May-Craft, the R/V Little Hawk, an 18-foot Parker.  Virgilio is already taking the lead in the final stages of securing the new university vessel, a 32-foot H & H Marine Company Ormond Beal design vessel which will be outfitted to support projects in areas such as wind energy and coastal research. For more on our vessels please see our vessel page.

We are also celebrating the retirement of our former vessel captain, Jim Nickels, as much as we are sad to see him go. Jim Nickels has been a permanent fixture around Monmouth University.  Officially, he has held the position as Marine Scientist in the Urban Coast Institute for nearly 16 years. Among the many responsibilities Jim had was that of vessel captain playing a pivotal role in contract and grant work as well as a mainstay in taking classes out on the water for hands on experiences. With the growing fleet, workload/demand, and Jim’s retirement on March 1, the duties of vessel captain have now transitioned into a full-time position that works directly with the Dean’s office in the School of Science. With careful planning, the school was able to fill this new position in time for a brief, but productive overlap prior to Jim’s departure.