Dr. Joseph J. Spigai
July 19, 1936 – June 7, 2023
Joseph J. Spigai
Naval Oceanographer, Management Consultant
Joseph J. Spigai, Ph.D., 86, a retired Navy Commander, oceanographer and former President of Spigai Associates, Inc. a management consulting firm, died of natural causes on June 7, 2023, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He and his family were long-time residents of Silver Spring and Chesapeake Beach, Maryland.
Dr. Spigai served 21 years in the Navy, retiring as a Commander in 1984. His early naval career was spent as a line officer, serving sea and shore tours on both coasts and as an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) analyst for the navy at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. In the latter half of his career, he spent his remaining years as a Naval Oceanographer and marine researcher in worldwide posts, both at sea and ashore. He taught Oceanography at the Naval Academy and was both the Officer-In-Charge of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Eastern Regional Office and the Deputy Director of the ONR Geophysics and Oceanography division before his retirement in 1984.
After his retirement, he joined the then Martin Marietta Aerospace as a systems engineer manager and retired in 1991 as a technical director in the Undersea Warfare group. At Martin Marietta, he worked extensively with ASW and in the emerging field of autonomous undersea vehicles and gained a reputation as a successful proposal writer.
In 1991, Dr. Spigai founded Spigai Associates, Inc., a Silver Spring, Maryland management consulting firm, specializing in consulting and training in the areas of project management, systems engineering and proposal management. Although his work centered primarily in the Washington, D.C. metro area, he traveled extensively providing consulting to organizations throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Dr. Spigai, a native of Brooklyn, New York, received his B.S. at CCNY in Manhattan, his M.S. at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville), and earned his doctorate in oceanography at Oregon State University while still on active duty with the Navy. He had extensive college teaching experience at the schools he attended as well as Rutgers, Hunter college, the Naval Academy, and the University of Maryland, both the College Park and Baltimore County campuses. He was active in the local chapters of a number of professional societies, and the author of over forty technical papers.
A resident of Maryland for over 50 years, he loved the sea and traveling to new places, was an avid map and chart collector, and was proud of the fact that he had sailed in every ocean, visited over fifty countries, and had been to every state.
Dr. Spigai’s survivors include his two daughters, Tracey McKirgan of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland and Tara Cowe-Spigai of Monona, Wisconsin, two grandsons, Daniel and Timothy McKirgan and his brother, Richard J. Spigai of Lincroft, New Jersey. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ann Hutchinson Spigai.
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