Commander Chad Cary serves as the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center Acting Chief of Operations, Management and Information Division. In this role he is responsible for the budget, human resources, vessel operations, facilities, research communications, environmental compliance and safety. He provides counsel and strategic direction, policy advice and operational guidance to the Director and Executive Staff to promote efficient and high quality execution of NEFSC responsibilities. He previously served as Executive Officer of NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow and augmented numerous times as Acting Commanding Officer underway. As Executive Officer, he supported the diverse NOAA oceanographic and fisheries mission through completion of two field seasons in the North Atlantic. He also led the project team to make Henry B. Bigelow NOAA's first fisheries vessel to collect chart-quality multi-beam data compliant with the International Hydrographic Organization standards.
He is an Alaska native, born in Cordova and raised in Juneau. He attended Mendocino Community College in Ukiah, California from 1996-1998 where he completed prerequisites toward a bachelors of science degree. He then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned his B.S. in Environmental Science with an emphasis in marine sciences in 2000. Two months after receiving his undergraduate degree, he received a commission in the NOAA Corps. Committed to continuous learning, CDR Cary has since earned an M.S. in Geography from Portland State University and a Graduate Certificate in Legislative Studies from Georgetown University. CDR Cary is a graduate of NOAA's ninth Leadership Competencies Development Program.
CDR Cary has proudly served NOAA and the Nation for over 16 years where his balanced career includes seven years of sea time and nine years of shore time. At sea, CDR Cary has commanded NOAA Ship’s Henry B. Bigelow, Nancy Foster, and John N. Cobb. Ashore, CDR Cary has five years of professional experience with the National Weather Service both as a forecaster at the Northwest River Forecast Center and as the Executive Officer of the Environmental Modeling Center. Prior to joining Henry B. Bigelow, he was assigned to a staff billet working directly for the NOAA Administrator in the Program Coordination Office.
Notable citations include two Department of Commerce Bronze Medals for contributions as a river forecaster during a record flood event in the Pacific Northwest during the winter of 2005/2006 and for continuing NOAA Ship John N. Cobb’s five year outstanding safety record; one NOAA Corps Meritorious Service Medal; four NOAA Corps Commendations Awards; three NOAA Corps Achievement Medals; one unit citation; and two Directors Ribbons.
He is married to Dayna, his wife of 12 years. The couple has three children, Tessa, Benjamin and Rebecca. He and his family reside in Sandwich, Massachusetts. They are active in their community, engaging in Parent-Teacher Organization sponsored activities, activities with the Sandwich Partnership for Families, Little League, and Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) where CDR Cary volunteers as a coach. In his spare time he enjoys almost any activity outdoors and spending time with his family.