Dear BIO Community,
At the end of 2021, BIO said goodbye to our long-time colleague Alan Tessier as he began his retirement.
Over the last several years, Alan served as my right hand – and sometimes my left, too – in his role as Deputy Assistant Director for the Directorate. Around the halls of BIO, Alan was known for his nearly encyclopedic knowledge of NSF policy and procedures and forethought about how changes thereto might be interpreted and who they would impact. Personally, I found his openness to team building, community engagement, and sharing all that he knows as some of his greatest contributions.
Trained as an aquatic ecologist, Alan spent 17 years with NSF, beginning as a rotating program director in the Division of Environmental Biology, through a time as Deputy Division Director in the Division of Environmental Biology, and ending as Deputy Assistant Director for BIO.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Alan had a distinguished career in academia, including as a professor at Michigan State University.
Alan’s imprint on BIO and NSF cannot be captured in words, but key aspects of his work include efforts to advance convergence and environmental research. Alan served Executive Secretary and Chair of the Working Group for the Environmental Research and Education coordination activity and was critical in the development of what is now the Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems (DISES) program.
As I noted, he was also a champion of strong teamwork between program officers and administrative staff, which has created a positive work environment in BIO and our ability to support the scientific community so well.
Engaging you all, the community, was also one of Alan’s foci. He promoted diverse connections with and support of the research community, including leading BIO’s transition to eliminating deadlines for the core programs and supporting community engagement with NEON as the facility came online to maximize its utility for cutting edge research.
As you can see, and I hope as you experienced, Alan did a lot over his time at NSF and made DEB, the BIO front office, the Directorate, and the whole agency better for it.
We thank Alan for his service, will miss him, and wish him well in retirement.