Columbus, OH Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory, The Ohio State University’s island campus on Lake Erie, say a heartfelt “thank you” to Dr. Jeffrey Reutter, who is retiring from his position as Ohio Sea Grant Director today.
“I feel like I’ve had the best job at the university for about 40 years, but this is good timing for my retirement,” Reutter says. And with accomplishments like the creation of a STEM youth program that reaches 8,000 people every year, more than $1.3 million in endowments for scholarships and research equipment, and partnerships ranging from local communities to international collaborations, he leaves behind a legacy of successes that will benefit Ohio Sea Grant for years to come.
Reutter first joined Ohio Sea Grant in November of 1972 to take over management of a project related to the construction of Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station. In 1977, he wrote the successful grant proposal that brought the NOAA Sea Grant College Program to The Ohio State University, and was instrumental in the program’s designation as the country’s 24th state Sea Grant College in 1988.
Reutter had previously attended graduate classes at Stone Lab in 1971, and immediately caught the bug. “I absolutely loved it. Took four courses, was in class six days a week for ten weeks, and couldn’t wait to get off the island at the end of ten weeks. But I wasn’t gone for more than about two weeks when I realized how much of a total life-changing experience it was.”
That life-changing experience started a 40-year career that, in the end, has always been focused on educating people about the importance of Lake Erie to Ohio. From state and federal legislators and local elected officials to outdoor writers and the business community, Reutter’s leadership made Ohio Sea Grant one of the premier sources for information about the health of Lake Erie and its economic impact on the region.
“We have done so much to create and to enhance understanding and awareness of how important Lake Erie is within the people who are making decisions about it,” Reutter reflects. Hands-on educational programs like the Ohio Sea Grant Legislature Days, which started in 1982, and the Coastal County Commissioners, Mayors, and Decision Makers Day are considered a Best Management Practice by NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office and have informed similar events across the Great Lakes states.
But with a new generation of staff in place and ready to take on new responsibilities, Reutter is looking forward to slowing down just a little. “I’m giving serious thought to buying a boat,” Reutter laughs. “And I’ll enjoy being a grandfather to my twin grandsons.”
If you would like to express your appreciation for Reutter’s contributions to Ohio Sea Grant and Lake Erie, please visit go.osu.edu/reutterthanks.
Ohio Sea Grant Associate Director Dr. Christopher Winslow has been named Interim Director while the university completes the search for a new permanent director.
Located on the 6.5-acre Gibraltar Island in Put-in-Bay harbor, Stone Laboratory is Ohio State’s Island Campus on Lake Erie and the research, education, and outreach facility of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program. The Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 33 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For information on Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.