Saturday, August 1, 2009

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders Visits AUVSI Competition

On Friday, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders visited the 12th International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition hosted SSC Pacific’s TRANSDEC facility. AUVSI representatives briefed the mayor on the goals and challenges of the competition. Many of the student competitors took a few minutes from their practice and qualifying runs, eagerly discussing details of their vehicle designs with the mayor. Introduced by Captain Mark Kohlheim, Commanding Officer of SSC Pacific, Mayor Sanders welcomed the students to San Diego.

Mayor Sanders remarked on his first impressions of the event. “It’s really a pleasure to come and talk to people out here and see the pride they bring to their work.”
It’s inspiring he said, “to come out and see how smart these high school and college students are, especially in how they approach problems.”

Asked about the importance of young people embracing science and engineering, the mayor emphasized San Diego’s need for engineers, “I think one of the things we know as a nation, and as a region, especially San Diego, is that we need many, many more engineers than we’re getting right now.”

Currently, he says, San Diego has to bring in engineers from all over the world “simply because the United States doesn’t produce enough engineers for our high tech and military” needs. Events such as AUVSI, he says, can “inspire a whole generation of young people who want to come out here and do things just like this.”

The mayor was impressed with the participation in this year’s AUVSI competition. “It bodes well for the future of the country in terms of the number of engineers that we need,” he said.

The mayor also commented on the importance of the city’s partnership with the Navy.
“We’re very proud to have SPAWAR and the U.S. Navy as one of the biggest parts of this region.” “We have a great partnership with SPAWAR,” he said. SPAWAR research and engineering activities, he remarked, “ form a great nucleus” for similar activities in the region.

Speaking to the student engineers at the end of his visit, the mayor said that “it’s great to have so many of you come out and get acquainted with San Diego--we think a lot of you will want to come out here and work at some point in your lives.”

He wished all of the students good luck in the competition, reminding them also to take advantage of the opportunity to network with other students and enjoy the camaraderie of the event. “I know all of you are going to have a good time whether you win or not,” he said.

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