About Us

Mānoa Innovation Center


The Applied Research Lab at the University of Hawaiʻi was established in July 2008 as a Navy sponsored laboratory to provide research, development, test and evaluation, system engineering, and other engineering capabilities essential to the Navy and the Department of Defense.  It is one of 13 University Affiliated Research Centers (UARC) within the Department of Defense and the fifth of five centers contracted with the Navy.

The contract with the Navy is a sole-source mechanism that the Navy and other government agencies can use to fund ARL researchers at the University in approved research areas.


Michael C. Vitale, Vice Admiral, USN (Ret) - Executive Director

Michael C. Vitale

Mike Vitale assumed the position of Executive Director of the Applied Research Lab at the University of Hawaiʻi in September 2012 after retiring from the US Navy after 34 years. In his last Navy position, he served as Commander, Navy Installations Command in Washington D.C. where he was responsible for leading the operations of the Navy’s 70 worldwide installations with 60,000 employees and an annual budget of $12B.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville, a Master of Arts in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College in Washington. 


Joel Ogren - Technical Director for Assured Command, Control, Communications, and Information (AC3I)

Joel Ogren

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Ogren was a member of the Senior Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (JHU/APL). He was responsible for the leadership and management of State, National and Nuclear C2 and cyber challenges, as well as a subject matter expert in complex command and control (C2), National Security programs, highly sensitive National-level communications, continuity of operations, National level evacuation plans, relocation procedures, and response options for the Executive branch leadership. Expert in government structure and implementing in diverse information technology management functions to include strategy, National level policy, operations management, project, program and acquisition management, lifecycle management, financial management, and human resources management.

Mr. Ogren served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 24 years. At the pinnacle of his career, he served in the White House Military Office as the Chief, Presidential Contingency Communications. In this role, he was responsible for providing direct support to the President and the Vice President of the United States as a National level program manager, developing national level goals, objectives and implementation strategies to drive immediate short-term and longer-term activities necessary to improve government-wide continuity capabilities in the evolving post-September 11th threat environment. 

Mr. Ogren received his Master of Science in Information Technology Management from the Naval Post- Graduate School in June 1999. He received his undergraduate degree in Electronic Engineering Technology from the Southwest Minnesota State University, in June 1986. 


Margo Edwards - Technical Director for Ocean Enviromental Effects

Margo Edwards

Margo Edwards serves as Technical Director for ARL oceanographic efforts.  She is also a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in the Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.  Her research focuses on processes that create and modify the seafloor and how they affect the surrounding environment.  Edwards' recent research includes investigations of the Arctic Basin and the use of high-resolution photographic and acoustic data to assess military munitions that were disposed at sea.

Edwards served as Center Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Center of Excellence for Island, Maritime and Extreme Environment Security (CIMES), where she managed a partnership between the Universities of Hawaiʻi, Alaska, Puerto Rico and private industry to enhance maritime domain awareness, particularly in the Arctic, sub-Arctic and other remote and extreme environments.  CIMES investigators conducted research to understand and model the complex dynamics of ice/water and water/shore interfaces using technologies including satellites, unmanned aerial systems, coastal radars, sustainable power systems, underwater acoustics, ruggedized sensors, unmanned surface vessels and situational awareness tools.

Edwards received her doctoral degree from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in 1992.


Management Staff

Cheryl Sato Ishii - Program Administrator

Cheryl Sato Ishii


Latest News

January 30, 2015 - Leadership transition at the Applied Research Laboratory. Read more...

September 12, 2014 - The Office of Naval Research has contracted with the Applied Research Laboratory at the University of Hawai‘i (ARL/UH) for a $2.5 million energy research project to be conducted by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute... Read more...

July 21, 2014 - Work at the Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) located off Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kāneʻohe has received an infusion of $9 million from the U.S. Navy... Read more...