Stone Lab chief retires after 42 years


COLUMBUS – Jeff Reutter is retiring from his position as Ohio Sea Grant director.

He leaves behind a legacy that includes the creation of a Science Technology Engineering and Mathetmatics (STEM) youth program that reaches 8,000 people every year, more than $1.3 million in endowments for scholarships and research equipment, and partnerships ranging from local to international.

Reutter first joined Ohio Sea Grant in November of 1972, to take over management of a project related to the construction of Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station.

Sea grant program

In 1977, he wrote the successful grant proposal that brought the NOAA Sea Grant College Program to The Ohio State University, and was instrumental in the program’s designation as the country’s 24th state Sea Grant College in 1988.

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Jeff Reutter speaking at a science writers workshop in 2014.

Reutter had previously attended graduate classes at Stone Lab in 1971, and immediately felt attached.

“I absolutely loved it,” he said. “Took four courses, was in class six days a week for ten weeks, and couldn’t wait to get off the island at the end of ten weeks. But I wasn’t gone for more than about two weeks when I realized how much of a total life-changing experience it was.”

That life-changing experience started a 40-year career that has always been focused on educating people about the importance of Lake Erie to Ohio.

From state and federal legislators and local elected officials to outdoor writers and the business community, Reutter’s leadership made Ohio Sea Grant one of the premier sources for information about the health of Lake Erie and its economic impact on the region.

“We have done so much to create and to enhance understanding and awareness of how important Lake Erie is within the people who are making decisions about it,” Reutter said.

Educating others

Hands-on educational programs like the Ohio Sea Grant Legislature Days, which started in 1982, and the Coastal County Commissioners, Mayors, and Decision Makers Day, are considered a Best Management Practice by NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office and have informed similar events across the Great Lakes states.

But with a new generation of staff in place and ready to take on new responsibilities, Reutter is looking forward to slowing down a little.

Ohio Sea Grant Associate Director Christopher Winslow has been named interim director while the university completes the search for a new permanent director.

About Stone Lab

Located on the 6.5-acre Gibraltar Island in Put-in-Bay harbor, Stone Laboratory is Ohio State’s Island Campus on Lake Erie and the research, education and outreach facility of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.

The Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 33 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources.

For information on Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab, visit

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