President, Maritime Heritage Consulting
Mr. Vrana received a M.S. degree from Michigan State University in 1992 in Park and Recreation Resources (specialty in resource management with a minor in Fisheries), and is expecting his Ph.D. in Park, Recreation and Tourism Resources (specialty in maritime studies with a minor in Anthropology) in 2001. Mr. Vrana was employed by the National Park Service (NPS) as an operational scuba diver and scientific diver for 10 years. In 1984, Mr. Vrana was selected from candidates nationwide as research diving technician for the NPS Submerged Cultural Resources Unit. As a member of this federal underwater archaeological team, he participated in cultural resource management studies throughout the United States and in the western Pacific. Mr. Vrana was responsible for operations in scientific diving and boating for over a dozen archaeological survey and assessment projects, primarily involving historic shipwrecks. His specialties included underwater archaeological survey techniques and the protection of underwater archaeological sites.
In 1988, Mr. Vrana returned to Michigan State University (MSU) to pursue graduate education that would further his career in cultural resource management. From 1988 until 1994, he was employed by the MSU Michigan Sea Grant Extension as underwater preserve specialist. From 1994 until 2000, he was director of the Center for Maritime & Underwater Resource Management (CMURM) within the MSU Department of Park, Recreation and Tourism Resources. As director of CMURM, Mr. Vrana was responsible for development of a university center that conducted applied archaeological and social research as well as scientific management studies involving water-based recreation and tourism; marine parks and protected areas; historic shipwrecks; and other maritime, coastal, and underwater resources. During his employment at MSU, Mr. Vrana served as principal investigator, project coordinator, and technical consultant for numerous survey, assessment, and outreach projects involving historic shipwrecks, undersea technology, recreational scuba diving, underwater parks/preserves, and coastal heritage tourism.