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Stone Lab Put-in-Bay Director To Retire

Dr. Jeffrey Reutter, the director of The Ohio State University’s Stone Lab on Gibraltar Island and the director of Ohio Sea Grant, retired on March 31st. Jeff had been with Stone Lab for the last 42 years.  Over the years, Jeff became one of the most dedicated scientists interested in promoting and protecting Lake Erie. Working 60 to 70 hours a week addressing every possible issue, from algae blooms and pollution to invasive species and lake levels, he fought to make Lake Erie a healthy and productive natural resource we all can use and be proud of.

In countless meetings over the years with local, state, and federal officials, business people, scientists, outdoor writers, farmers, commercial and sports fishermen, school children, grad students, environmentalists, and everyday people, he spread the word about Lake Erie with dedication seldom seen in this day and age. Mr. Reutter said he had given over 130 speeches over the past two years alone.

If you needed to know something about Lake Erie, Jeff and his staff could help. As director of Stone Lab, he was also in charge of Gibraltar Island’s facilities, including classrooms, labs, a dormitory, and a dining hall; he hired staff and ran a fleet of vessels.

Jeff grew up near the Lake Erie shoreline in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. His career started in 1971 when he took four courses at Stone Lab. In one interview, he said he loved Stone Lab but could hardly wait to get off the island after ten weeks of classes. He said it wasn’t long before he realized how much of a totally life-changing experience it was.

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

In 1982, he made sure Ohio politicians knew about the work being done at Stone Lab and began Ohio Sea Grant Legislature Days, where legislators were invited to Lake Erie, the islands, and Stone Lab to learn about the lake issues. Jeff also leaves behind a legacy that includes creating a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) youth program that reaches 8,000 people yearly, more than $1.3 million in endowments for scholarships and research equipment, and local and international partnerships.

Jeff, who lives in Westerville, plans to spend more time with his grandsons, twin boys who live in Cincinnati. However, he is also staying on with a half-time appointment as a senior adviser indefinitely to ensure a smooth transition for those vital Lake Erie programs and to continue as a science communicator for anyone from schoolchildren to governors.

OSU held a retirement party for Mr. Reutter on March 31st at the OSU Faculty Club in Columbus, Ohio Sea Grant also has set up this page for people interested in making donations on Mr. Reutter’s behalf or leaving comments for him. OSU announced that Stone Lab’s associate director, Dr. Christopher Winslow, will serve as the interim director until the search is completed for a new permanent director. Winslow has been a long-time faculty member at Stone Lab and was president of Friends of Stone Lab (FOSL) from 2006- 2009. He was hired as Ohio Sea Grant assistant director in 2011

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