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Paul M. DiGiacomo, A champion for oceans and waters

Paul DiGiacomo4 December 2019 - The Group on Earth Observations recognized STAR's own Dr. Paul DiGiacomo (Chief, Satellite Oceanography & Climatology Division) with the GEO Individual Excellence Award before a global audience during a special awards ceremony held during the GEO annual plenary meeting in Canberra, Australia, November 5-9, 2019. The GEO Individual Excellence Award is a new GEO award, awarded to individuals who have gone above and beyond in fulfilling GEO’s mission by making real-world impacts to the GEO community, while demonstrating extraordinary personal commitment to GEO.

When it comes to supporting GEO initiatives, Paul truly 'walks the talk.' Paul's support of The Blue Planet Initiative and AquaWatch was years ahead of other collaborative institution's efforts. As a NOAA leader, Paul connected GEO personnel with NOAA offices best suited to advance GEO's mission and initiatives. Paul's work advanced GEO's mission by securing funding for the home offices for both The Blue Planet Initiative and AquaWatch secretariats. Paul engaged in various leadership roles within The Blue Planet Initiative, and continues to emphasize open source technology and interdisciplinary evidence-based collaborative approaches favored by GEO. Paul is a strong advocate for geographic team diversity and gender-parity, demonstrated by the diverse management and Steering Committees' teams.

In his acceptance speech, Paul stated, "I am humbled at receiving this award because of the tremendous respect and gratitude that I have for all of the exceptionally capable and passionate people involved in GEO who work so hard to make it a success, particularly my Blue Planet and AquaWatch colleagues. It is on their collective behalf that I am honored to accept this award," said Paul. "In this regard, I think back to something our former GEO Secretariat colleague Michael Rast once told me: 'You ask what GEO is? I am GEO, you are GEO. We are all GEO!'"

Congratulations to Paul for this global recognition of your steadfast leadership.