Following his selection by the Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Shepard Smith was promoted from captain to rear admiral (lower half) and named director of the NOAA Office of Coast Survey during a change of command ceremony on August 26.
As Coast Survey director, Smith will oversee NOAA's charts and hydrographic surveys, ushering in the next generation of navigational products and services for mariners who need integrated delivery of coastal intelligence data.
Smith succeeds Rear Adm. Gerd Glang, who is retiring after a 27-year NOAA career. Glang served almost four years as Coast Survey director, leading NOAA's transition from a paper-based nautical charting system to a full digital system.
"NOAA's navigational services provide critical support to our nation's maritime transportation system," said Russell Callender, NOAA assistant administrator for the National Ocean Service, in announcing Smith's appointment. "Rear Adm. Smith has the experience, knowledge, and leadership skills to lead the transformation of navigational intelligence into the integrated data delivery platform required for the next generation of navigational services."
Smith has served with NOAA for 23 years, during which time he has been deeply involved in advancing the state-of-the-art in hydrography and nautical cartography. He has spent 11 years as a field hydrographer and most recently served as the commanding officer of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson. He previously served as the chief of Coast Survey's Marine Chart Division, managing the privatization of paper chart printing and distribution.
In addition to his three tours on Thomas Jefferson (twice as her commanding officer), Smith also served on NOAA Ship Rainier, surveying in Alaska, and as the officer-in-charge of Research Vessel Bay Hydrographer. He served on the interagency response teams for the search and recovery of TWA flight 800, EgyptAir flight 990, and the private plane piloted by John F. Kennedy, Jr. He commanded Thomas Jefferson during her six-week response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.