The ocean technology sector in Newfoundland and Labrador has reached a critical mass that, with informed management, will cross the threshold into a sustainable cluster. That was the theme that emerged at OceansAdvance’s 2013-14 annual general meeting (AGM) and election of officers Feb. 27, 2014.
Held at the NRC OCRE Building on Memorial University’s campus in St. John’s, the AGM, 27 Feb. 2014, was attended by the province’s leaders and proponents of ocean technology from business, academia, research, and all three levels of government.
Highlights of the meeting included an election of officers, a review of the past year’s activities, the official introduction of Barry Snow, OA’s new executive director, the launch of OA’s new social media initiative, a special presentation by Dr. Richard Marceau, Memorial University’s vice-president of research, and a tribute to outgoing executive director, Leslie O’Reilly, by the president of the board, Captain Anthony Patterson.
Seven candidates stood for election to the four available positions. Members re-elected board chair Anthony Patterson, president and CEO of Virtual Marine Technology Inc. and director Derek Scott, V.P. of program development with Provincial Aerospace. Newly elected were Dr. Greg Naterer, Memorial’s dean of Engineering and Applied Science and Leonard Pecore, president, Genoa Design International. The election was adjudicated by board director Metzi Prince of Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador.
As MC for the proceedings, Patterson introduced the Barry Snow to the membership. With just under one month under his belt as the new exe4cutive director, Snow expressed admiration for everything his predecessor Leslie O’Reilly and previous boards had accomplished. “I’ve been going through the process of looking under the hood and I am really excited to discover how well respected internationally our ocean technology cluster is today,” said Snow.
He told members that one of the most critical elements of success for the cluster going forward is engagement. Part of that strategy will be an aggressive entry into social media. He told members that the key to success in social media is content. “We have the content,” he said. “To that end we have taken a new step: as of this morning, we launched our social media presence.” Snow cautioned members that success depends on getting the content out there. Snow encouraged members to take an active role and link to OceansAdvance accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. “We can manage the content and source a great deal of it, but we need your help,” he told members.
Outgoing executive director Leslie O’Reilly presented a summary of the past year’s activities which included a broad reaching and thorough review of the industry by an independent consulting firm in what O’Reilly referred to as a bottom up approach of broad engagement, identifying priorities, strategies and action areas.
In the final report, O’Reilly said, the OA’s six pillars were consolidated into three activities in which OceansAdvance was actively engaged:
- Cluster building activities that bring together members in business and research with each other and with international players in ocean technology;
- Fostering an innovation ecosystem especially with regard to working with Memorial university to complete a research and development model, and to consult on a proposed joint chair at Memorial in Innovation and Entrepreneurship; and
- Business development including incoming and outgoing missions to China, Brazil, the EU and elsewhere, wherever strategic opportunities present themselves.
As guest speaker Dr. Richard Marceau, Memorial’s V.P. (research) presented an intricately detailed overview of the Canadian university business model and the role of research in that model. He pointed out repeatedly that the aim of university activity has to be centred on and respectful of their core business outcome: supporting students, whether in recruitment, infrastructure or the educational processes. “But one thing I want to make clear is that, as long as we keep this outcome in mind, we are open to working with the ocean technology cluster,” said Marceau.
Before wrapping up the meeting Patterson paid tribute to the outgoing executive director. “Les O’Reilly has been a mentor for me since he took a chance and hired me into the Marine Institute. He has likewise been a mentor to many in his role with OceansAdvance, bringing calm leadership and fiery inspiration,” said Patterson.
We were fortunate to borrow him for a portion of his remarkable career, especially at the beginning when the cluster was at an embryonic stage and he enabled us to successfully navigate to the place where we are an emerging cluster that international clusters respect and fear because of our innovative research and entrepreneurial expertise. A great deal of thanks for that goes to Les O’Reilly.”
Media Contact: Barry Snow, Executive Director, OceansAdvance Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org