Alumni Spotlight: Marcin Whitman ‘81

Some Webbies have been known to get into fishy business but Whitman has gone too far. Marcin Whitman ’81 started his professional career as a typical Webbie, working for a design firm: Earl & Wright of San Francisco on such issues as stability and wave spectrum analysis for semi-submersibles, jack-ups and tension leg platforms..

However, Marcin’s path soon diverged from Naval Architecture as he returned to college at UCSC to complete a degree in marine biology. He briefly returned to naval architecture for a year, working for Westinghouse on a Navy project but then went back to grad school at UC Davis for an M.S. in aquaculture engineering.

He was looking for an aquaculture job when another opportunity, needing the same skill set of fluid mechanics combined with fish physiology, presented itself: working for NOAA in designing fish ladders and fish screens to help restore dwindling stocks of salmonids in California.

This appealed to Marcin’s wilderness ethic. After 9 years at NOAA, where he started the engineering department for NMFS Southwest Region, he moved to CDFG in 1998 where he has added fluvial geomorphology to his technical mix to work on issues such as dam removal (testifying to the US Senate on same), stream-road crossings, flood management, in addition to fish passage with some international consulting interspersed.

He is past president of the BioEngineering Section (BES) of the American Fisheries Society and currently chairman of a joint project between BES and ASCE. He would welcome touring Webbies of fish passage projects in California during the winter.