On April 26, 2010, the Environmental Law Program welcomed Andy Winer, External Affairs Director at the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to provide students and community members with an insider’s view of NOAA’s outreach strategies and ocean policy under the Obama administration. Describing himself as a “former legal practitioner later bitten by the political bug,” Mr. Winer discussed his rise from the ranks of running local campaigns in Hawai‘i to becoming a Presidential appointee in the Obama administration.
As a former Hawai‘i resident, Mr. Winer made it a priority to be in a position to have a direct impact in the islands. At NOAA, Mr. Winer has helped develop the “One NOAA” concept, centered on the significant expansion of the NOAA regional collaboration framework to enhance the engagement network at the local level. Putting the One NOAA concept to action, Mr. Winer explained how it requires spending a lot of time with various recreational fisherman groups and other constituencies to garner consensus before implementing policy.
Making community engagement a top priority and a part of the agency’s main message, Mr. Winer sees the External Affairs division as “a creative force within NOAA that markets the people behind our science, service, and stewardship missions.” Mr. Winer believes that he is in a unique position “to create vibrant outreach efforts that engage our constituents and the public at large.” As a parting message, Mr. Winer assured the audience that the External Affairs of NOAA “will serve as the conduit for identifying NOAA’s constituent base, growing that base, and working with constituents for the benefit of the agency and the public at large.”