Christopher von Alt
While not a native of Vermont, Mr. von Alt has enjoyed camping on Maidstone Lake with his family since 1989, switching to living on the Lake year-round in 2015 with his wife, who grew up in Vermont. He holds a B.E. in Electrical Science from Stony Brook and an M.S. in Ocean Engineering from MIT, and has held research appointments at MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Over a 20 year period at WHOI, he co-founded and led the Oceanographic Systems Laboratory and led numerous at-sea operations throughout the world, including the engineering team that developed and fielded the tethered vehicle known as Jason Junior, first used to explore the interior of the RMS Titanic in 1985; Mr. von Alt operated Jason Junior on the deck of the Titanic during Alvin Dive # 1709. During the ‘90s, Mr. von Alt pioneered the use of untethered Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) in US Navy Mine Counter Measure and deep sea seafloor survey operations. In 2011, he received the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society’s Distinguished Technical Achievement Award for his leadership in the development and use of AUVs. In 2001, he co-founded Hydroid, a privately owned AUV company with sales offices worldwide. He served as President and CEO of Hydroid for 11 years, retiring in January 2016. More recently, Mr. von Alt began his community volunteer work: currently he serves on the Zoning Board, the Planning Commission, and the Audit Committee for the Town of Maidstone; he is the VP of the Maidstone Lake Association, the Vice Chair of the Essex County Natural Resource Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors, a member of the National Resource Conservation Council Finance Committee, Chair of the Northeast Kingdom Conservation Districts Union, a member of the Board of Directors of the Vermont Federation of Lakes and Ponds, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Nulhegan Basin Fish and Wildlife Refuge. During the summer, he manages the Maidstone Lake water quality programs, including the Greeter Program and the collection of field samples for the Lay Monitoring and La Rosa Programs.