Q & A with Alumnus Dan Herlihy

Alumnus Dan R. Herlihy graduated from the School of Marine Affairs in 1985 and is now a Senior Marine Consultant for the The Gerson Lehrman Group. We had a chance to catch up with Dan and hear about his job, his time at SMA, and advice he has for current SMEA students.

Can you give us a brief description of what you do?

I provide consulting services and subject matter expertise within the areas of marine science, research ship operations and logistics, polar marine science & marine operations, and hydrographic surveying/marine charting with various private companies, U.S. government agencies, and a number of international Antarctic programs.

What do you like best about your job?

After 29 years in uniform as a NOAA Commissioned Officer and working full-time for over 38 years, I can now afford to pick and choose who I want to consult/work with and when, and I have the option of working as much or as little as I prefer. I now work mostly from home, which is a huge physical and psychological advantage.

How did SMA (now SMEA) help you prepare?

SMEA, or specifically the School of Marine Affairs / Master of Marine Affairs program as it was called when I attended, came at an important time in my NOAA Corps career and provided a wide range of academic knowledge, experience and discipline that I was able to successfully take advantage of throughout the rest of my career with NOAA and since. The school and program offered exceptionally talented and dedicated professors, whose real world expertise and wisdom I still rely on today.

If you had one piece of advice for current SMEA students, what would it be?

Same as I told all three of my children as they entered college, study hard, take all the difficult courses, pick a relevant and beneficial thesis topic, and network like crazy with your fellow students and as much of the faculty as possible. Also for SMEA students today, look for an internship with more potential than initial salary, and continue to network like crazy.


If you are a SMEA alum who would like to share what you’re doing, you can do so through our Alumni Update, we’d love to hear from you! You can also update your information via the UW Alumni Services site http://www.washington.edu/alumni/services/update/