The Outstanding Staff awards are chosen by nominations received by the Awards Committee from all faculty, staff, and students at VIMS. They are awarded in the categories of Facilities/Safety/Trades, Technical Support, and Administrative Support.

Mr. Sean Fate.This year, we are pleased to present the Outstanding Employee in Facilities/Safety/Trades to Mr. Sean Fate.

Sean Fate has worked at the Eastern Shore Laboratory for more than 10 years, becoming an indispensable part of the Lab’s daily operations. As Watercraft Operations Manager, Sean successfully coordinates the ESL vessel fleet, often despite demanding and changing schedules. Beyond this, Sean organizes visitor bookings, dormitory space, laboratory usage, holding-tank requirements, and much more.

Sean Fate catches a ride on Christopher Hein's GeoProbe rig during field work on the Eastern Shore.With his tremendous time-management skills and kindness, Sean finds time to meet with and assist everyone who spends time at the ESL, from senior-level faculty to graduate researchers and visiting students. Many such visitors remark on Sean’s eagerness and willingness to help solve problems and propose creative solutions to challenging research endeavors, while always maintaining a positive attitude.

Sean’s commitment to quality and service extends beyond the ESL and VIMS communities. He serves with the Wachapreague Volunteer Fire Department and first-aid squad, an excellent example of his selfless commitment to others. There is also at least one documented case of Sean saving a colleague’s life during fieldwork, another example of excelling above and beyond his job title.

Overall, Sean is essential to the success of the Eastern Shore Lab and the entire VIMS community.