Dr. John Michael Ward is a distinguished fishery economist with 40 years of experience to his credit. During his collegian studies, he developed an interest in both political science and economics. He initially intended to become a lawyer until he was introduced to fishery economics by Prof. James Wilson, who believed in Dr. Ward and saw his potential. After Dr. Ward obtained a master’s degree in 1979, Prof. Wilson familiarized him to Mart Miller, who worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Taking Dr. Ward under his wing, Mr. Miller helped him find a job in the fisheries field.
Beginning his career in 1979, Dr. Ward served the Maritime Administration as a team leader until transferring to the southeast region of the NMFS in 1981, where he worked in academics, industry stakeholders and international organizations in various fishery management policy analysis. In 1996, Dr. Ward worked in the NMFS headquarters, serving as the fisheries economics team leader until 2003. He cites the highlight of his career to be creating the national economics program within the NMFS. As a result of the program, 70 scientists are now working for the NMFS to address mitigation of fishery management regulation effects on the fishing industry.
From there, Dr. Ward was employed by the Office of International Trade as the senior economist until his retirement in 2010. Dr. Ward worked even after his retirement, having been recruited by the marine advisory program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science of the University of William and Mary, to serve as their senior fisheries economist beginning in 2012. Recently in 2017, he was recognized for five years of service by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
Impressively, Dr. Ward cooperated with the World Bank and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations on fisheries development and fishing fleet capacity issues. He developed a dynamics bioeconomic ecosystem computer simulation model, which was the basis for a two-week symposium on fisheries management at the invitation of the Namibian Fisheries Ministry. Demonstrating his expertise in the field, he also developed an empirically estimated computer simulation model to analyze bycatch reduction device regulations in amendment nine to the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishery Management Plan.
A former adjunct professor at such universities as the University of Rhode Island, the College of William and Mary and the University of Florida, Dr. Ward has contributed myriad scientific papers to professional journals throughout his career. He was influenced greatly by Tom Weaver, the department chairman, and Jon Sutinen, both from the University of Rhode Island, who inspired Dr. Ward and aided him in the progression of his career. Dr. Ward notes that one should always continue learning and diversify their interests, and one should not stop their education after college. He advises future professionals to keep reading literature, regardless of whether it is in statistics, computer science, language or any other discipline that captivates one’s interest. As a testament to his success, Dr. Ward was selected for inclusion in the 65th edition of Who’s Who in America in 2010.
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