Category: News

Michael D. Max, FN05

Michael D. Max, FN05

It is with deep sorrow and regret that I convey the news of the passing of Michael D. Max, FN05, ECWG’s Program Director for the past six years. He died of cancer on Sunday, May 31, 2020, days after celebrating his 78th birthday. Michael had a broad background including geology, geophysics, chemistry, acoustics, and information technology. He had received a B.Sc . (History, Geology) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, an M.Sc. (Petroleum & Economic Geology) from the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. (Geology) from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

Michael worked as a geologist/geophysicist for the Geological Survey of Ireland, for which he carried out detailed scientific mapping and established a nearshore exploratory unit involving scientific diving. Then he was at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, working on shallow water acoustic propagation prediction. This is where I first met him. He also worked at the NATO’s Undersea Research Center in La Spezia, Italy where he conducted at-sea experiments and designed and carried out operational technology applications involving major research vessels.

Last year he regaled our Chapter with a presentation describing aeromagnetic surveys he conducted around Antarctica. From 1999 to 2011 he was CEO and Head of Research for Marine Desalination Systems LLC, a small innovative R&D company which established a hydrate research laboratory and explored industrial applications of hydrate chemistry as a government contractor under DARPA and ONR. At the time of his death, he was a principle and an active member of Hydrate Energy International, which is a consulting company specializing in unconventional natural gas, particularly natural gas hydrate (

Michael authored many scientific publications and three textbooks, a number of map sheets, and several GIS/relational database operational geographic digital maps. He assisted in the writing of the U.S. Gas Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000. Michael was appointed by the Secretary of Energy to the Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee of the Department of Energy for 2014–2018, and was Co-Chair, Diving Committee of the Marine Technology Society. He was an Adjunct Professor in the School of Geological Sciences of University College, Dublin, Ireland, at which he was currently supervising a Post-Doctoral research student. Michael was involved with over 40 patents and patent applications.

Michael’s membership’s included the: Geological Society of America, Geological Society of London, American Geophysical Union, American Chemical Society, Explorers Club (Program Director, ECWG), Marine Technology Society (Vice-Chair and Co-Chair Diving Committee), Coast Guard Auxiliary (Vessel Inspector), Acoustical Society of America, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, amongst others. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor, and daughter, Rachel, a graduate student in Hamburg, Germany. Services will be private.

Bruce F. Molnia, Ph.D.

Zoom Meeting Instructions

Zoom Meeting Instructions

Fellow Members,
Here are the necessary steps you will need to use Zoom to access our virtual presentation.


  1. Download Zoom and create and account
    • Zoom is available for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android  OS/devices. 
  2. Click “Join A Meeting”
    • The ECWG will provide this code.
  3. Once you have entered the code you will be granted access to the Zoom meeting and virtual presentation.


  • Welcome to the ECWG Virtual Presentation!
  • All members will be muted to ensure the speaker can give the best possible presentation. If you have questions for the speaker, please type them into the chat box.
  • A moderator will process through questions and relay them to the speaker.
  • The speaker will answer questions for 15-20 minutes at the end of their presentation.

Zoom Basics

For more help with Zoom and an introduction to the basics please watch this video:


  • Computer Audio Issues – if we can’t hear you, then call in with the phone number provided on the agenda.
  • Finding Menu at bottom of screen – Move your cursor toward bottom of screen to view menu icons.
  • Connectivity issues – use the next icon and stop your video feed.  Connections are sometimes problematic depending on your home internet service.
Cancellation of ECWG Dinner Meetings and Happy Hours

Cancellation of ECWG Dinner Meetings and Happy Hours

As we are all aware, these are very trying times. With respect to protecting the health of our members and guests, the ECWG Board of Directors fully supports Federal, State, and District of Columbia guidance to stay at home and to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

Therefore, we have cancelled our April and May Dinner Meetings and future Happy Hours until further notice.

We appreciate your understanding and look forward to resuming meeting with you again once the pandemic has ended and the medical professionals leading the response have pronounced ‘all clear’.

The Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Awards Weekend – SATURDAY MORNING AWARDEE PRESENTATIONS

The Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Awards Weekend – SATURDAY MORNING AWARDEE PRESENTATIONS

National Geographic Grosvenor Auditorium
Saturday, October 12, 2019, starting at 8:30am


Robert L. Fisher, Ph.D., HON ’88 is a research geologist emeritus in the Geological Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. His life’s work involves over half a century of in-depth seafloor/crustal exploration, specifically regarding the composition, crustal structure, and actual topography underlying the Pacific and Indian Oceans. From that shipboard work, by mid-1959 he established that at 10,915±10 meters Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench was the world’s deepest; this maximum was confirmed six months later by manometer on the bathyscaph Trieste. Bob Fisher Ridge, a wholly-submerged mountain range of Sierra Nevada dimensions south of Madagascar is named for him.

David L. Mearns, OAM, FI ‘91, is a chartered marine scientist, historical researcher, author, and expedition leader of deep ocean projects. He is one of the worlds most experienced and successful deep-sea shipwreck hunters, having located 24 major shipwrecks with an overall success rate of 89%. Mearns’s most important discoveries include HMAS Sydney and AHS Centaur for which he was awarded an honorary Medal of the Order of Australia. He has travelled to more than 50 countries and is a long-standing fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Bruce F. Molnia, Ph.D., FN ’80 has more than five decades of experience in exploration, research, community service, communication, public policy, and education. Currently the Senior Science Advisor for National Civil Applications for the U.S. Geological Survey National Civil Applications Center, Molnia has conducted extensive research in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic marginal seas, as well as in Alaska, where his work has focused on understanding the response of glaciers to changing climate and the dynamics of tidewater. Among many awards and public recognitions for his service, Molnia is a recipient of the Antarctic Service Medal.

Joseph M. Rohde FN ’10 is a Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering. He is known for leading the team that conceptualized, designed, and built Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Through that process he was instrumental in the development of the Disney Conservation Fund. Rohde has also participated in a number of research expeditions on behalf of Disney to countries all over the world. He speaks regularly on the art of cultivating creative innovation through narrative framing, and has spoken at NASA, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the TED conference, as well as many other venues.


Ellen R. Stofan, Ph.D., FN ’17 is currently the John and Adrienne Mars Director at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. She has over25 years of experience in space-related organizations and a deep research background in planetary geology. She was chief scientist at NASA (2013–2016), where she helped guide the development of a long-range plan to get humans to Mars. Stofan’s research focuses on the geology of Venus, Mars, Saturn’s moon Titan, and Earth. She has published extensively and received many awards and honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

Astronaut Frank Culbertson (Capt, USN, Ret.), is an American former naval aviator, test pilot, aerospace engineer and executive, and NASA astronaut. He recently retired as President of the Space Systems Group at Northrop Grumman and is currently consulting and supporting educational programs. He served as the Commander of the International Space Station for almost four months in 2001 and was the only American not on Earth when the September 11 attacks occurred. A veteran of three space flights: Pilot of STS-38, Commander of STS-51, and Commander of ISS Expedition 3, Culbertson has logged over 144 days in space and performed one EVA.


Emma Carrasco is the senior vice president of global engagement at the National Geographic Society, leading strategic engagement and outreach efforts with key stakeholders around the world to further the visibility, vision, and impact of the Society. Her responsibilities include the management of the Society’s most strategic partnerships, executive thought leadership, crisis and reputation management, and oversight of the internal communications function. Carrasco’s career spans more than 30 years in marketing, branding, media, and communications, working with various national and international brands including NPR, Univision, McDonald’s Corporation, Nortel Networks, and Fleishman Hillard.


Michael J. Manyak, M.D., MED ’92 is an explorer, author, urologist, and corporate medical executive. He is Global Medical Affairs Director for the GlaxoSmithKline urology franchise, and the Chief Medical Advisor for Crisis Response for Accenture. Dr. Manyak is a Fellow of The Explorers Club, served on the Board of Directors from 1996-2006, and received the prestigious Sweeney Medal in 2004 for service to the Club. He is also a consultant to the National Geographic Society and has served on the NASA Aerospace Medicine and Occupational Health Advisory Committee. Dr. Manyak maintains an avid interest in field exploration and expedition medicine, and has led or been medical director for scientific expeditions around the world.

ECWG and National Geographic Liaison: Lonnie Schorer & Krista Strahan