Dennis C. Hansford

Dennis C. HansfordDennis C. Hansford received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Lincoln University in 1979. Prior to graduation, I worked as an intern at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole, MA, May 1977. After graduation, I left my hometown of Philadelphia, PA and moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where I continued to work at the Science Center aging Winter and Yellowtail flounders, Silver hake, and Redfish. He was a certified research diver for the Manned Undersea and Technology Division, served as the Watch Chief and a member of scientific parties for Resource Survey Cruises onboard scientific survey vessels, Albatross IV and Delaware II. He deployed on foreign and domestic commercial fishing vessels as an observer, trained observers on data collection methodologies, species identification, and identification of various fishing gear types. He coordinated observer coverage for gillnet, pelagic longline, lobster, and trawl fisheries in the Northwest Atlantic from Maine to Rhode Island for the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program.

During my tenure at the Northeast Science Center, I served on the EEO Committee where he assisted with addressing issues affecting NMFS employees of color in the Northeast Region and Science Center. He also served as the Chair of the Woods Hole Black History Planning Committee, which coordinated Black History Month events in conjunction with the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, U.S. Coast Guard Group Woods Hole, U.S. Geological Survey, and Sea Education Association to bring such noted speakers as:

  • Herman Branson, physicist and President of Lincoln University, Pennsylvania,
  • Ivan Van Sertima, Professor of African Studies, Rutgers University,
  • S. Allen Counter, Neurophysiologist, author and filmmaker, Harvard University,
  • Frederick Gregory, Astronaut, NASA,
  • Walter E. Massey, President, American Association for the Advancement of Science,
  • Rear Admiral Freddie L. Jeffries, Director, Atlantic Marine Center, NOAA,
  • Captain William Pinkney, the first African-American to sail solo around the world,
  • Fayneese Miller, Professor and Researcher, Center for Race and Ethnicity , Brown University, and
  • Evelyn Fields, Admiral, NOAA Corps

As well as the coordination of the culminating event, Harambee, a Swahili term meaning “come together.” The event featured ethnic music, food, children activities, and all around good time.

In 1999, He and his family, wife, Patricia, son, Patrick Dennis, and daughter, Morgan Denise, moved to Silver Spring, MD to accept a Fishery Biologist position and become part of NMFS Science and Technology, National Observer Program. In this capacity, he coordinated with regional observer programs through the National Observer Program Advisory Team (NOPAT), to address common regional issues on a national level, i.e. observer training, safety, data quality, data requests, funding, and outreach. He served as the liaison between the NOPAT and their Safety Committee and Co-chair their Electronic Monitoring Committee. In 2009, he coordinated and chaired the 6th International Fisheries Observer and Monitoring Conference, a biennial conference that attracted over 300 scientists, marine resource managers, environmentalists, commercial fishers, and vendors from 37 countries.

In 1987, he joined the Army National Guard and was trained to repair radar and transponders for helicopters, e.g. Hueys (UH-1), Cobras (AH-1), Kiowa (OH-58), and Black Hawks (UH-60). After moving to Maryland, he continued to serve in the 29th Infantry Division (ID) coordinating electronic maintenance for the battalion and other subordinate units.

Prior to his deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina, in late 2001, he was introduced to Blacks In Government, NOAA Chapter and became a member after he immediately recognized that the chapter’s vision of promoting opportunities and fairness affecting the rights of NOAA’s employees coincided with my own and that his desire to affect positive changes could be manifested through the organization. After his return from active duty, he immediately picked up where he left off in Massachusetts. Since becoming a member, he has consistently supported and/or coordinated the chapter’s on-going activities, to include:

  • Thanksgiving Food Drive,
  • Christmas Toy Drive,
  • Black History Month Commemorations,
  • Send Your Child Camp Program, and
  • Scholarship Awards Program
  • Chapter Membership Drive
  • BIG National Training Conferences

As he continues to Think BIG, he also views NOAA BIG as a key vehicle for realizing his life’s mantra:
Be of service, Be a friend, Be a leader!