Sunday, May 08, 2011

Successful Maritech

By all indications, Mari Tech 2011 in Victoria, this past Friday and Thursday, was a definite success, if not an overwhelming success. The papers were enlightening, the exhibitors were making good leads, from the several I approached, and the whole conference was a gold mine for interaction with peers, and networking was excellent, with all levels of the industry being represented.


Picture above - Audience member asks a question of BC Ferries' Greg Peterson.

The overarching backdrop of the conference was of course, the National Ship Procurement Strategy, the Canadian federal government plan to invest about $30 billion dollars in new ships to refurbish the dilapidated ranks of the naval, and civilian government fleet. The technical papers also touch on real uses of LNG at sea, and hybrid designs for ship propulsion, among others.

The weather was mostly cooperating, the venues was perfect, the food good and plenty. I believe the organizing committee is still a bit stunned how well things went, although we have not had our wrap up meetings yet. No scheduling hiccups or other malfunctions and disasters occurred.

Picture right - Techsol's display in the lobby of the conference area.

I was probably most impressed by Day Two’s Lunch Time speaker, Assistant Commissioner Vija Poruks, who gave a well thought out overview of the challenges that the Coast Guard is dealing with and its proposed solutions. I don’t often give Coast Guard credit, but I believe that it certainly merits it as they appear to have a good grasp of their apparent challenges, but more importantly a willingness to change their processes and adopt a different attitude to surmount these. I was expecting the usual bureaucratic dry and evasive “blurbage”, but she was frank and passionate, so I was pleasantly surprise, and wish her the best in representing the Coast Guards goals to the politicians.

Pictured right - A good turnout at the Church and State winery tour and dinner, with a special presentation by Babcock Canada, on the HMCS Chicoutimi transit to Victoria.

Another obviously passionate and knowledgeable individual was Ron Burchett from Corvus Energy. He gave a good presentation on some very dramatic changes in battery technology, and the possibilities this now presents. The potential is illustrated in a later technical presentation by Paul Jammer’s, of AKA, on the Dorothy Foss, the “green tug” in the Port of Los Angeles.

Over in the exhibition area, the best swag prize, was a three way tie, between MAN, Wartsila and Thordon Bearings. But definitely, the most interesting, in our house, with the boys playing with it constantly, was a bouncing widget given out by Babcock Canada.

I actually also found some solutions that I will be following up for my own ship, there as well, so I am looking forward to getting that underway when I get back to work next week. I also met up with one of our supplier’s top dog, Claude of Techsol, in Quebec City. I am pleased to learn that this relatively recent and “local” upstart, and its constant performance, is making great inroads in various markets, on our shores, but also significantly abroad too.

Picture right - At the end of the technical paper presentation on day one, a reception was held, and a great opportunity to mingle with peers.

Jane McIvor was presenting her new magazine, BC Shipping News, filling in the void left by the retirement of BC’s Harbour & Shipping magazine. She has published two editions so far and they look great, full of relevant content. Over at Thordon, Axel was the maestro; and Peter from Belgium was presenting their rugged ABC Diesel engines. Thank you Paul at Viega for the wine, and the numerous colourful stories. And those guys at Young and Cunningham, some of the first participants at Mari Tech 2011, were certainly colourful – good on you.

Personally I was pretty involved in the “delivery” of the event, so I did not get a big chance to interact at will, but certainly appreciated meeting long time visitors and contributors to www.dieselduck.net, like "JK". After almost 7 years of chatting online, we finally met. Good seeing you!

Picture right - George Coman, a fourth year BCIT engineering program student give an overview of his experiences.

I must also give a big “shout out” to Kamen of MAN, Daryl of Memorial Institute, Byron and Glenn at ABB, Andrew at DMSI, Riseley at Wartsila, and Paul at AKA to name a few. Thanks for seeking me out, much appreciated your comments and input. I must also give a shout out to the “usual suspects” I seek out and interact with on routine a basis - always good to see you. Matthias, Russel, etc.

I am also encouraged by CIMarE National Council Chairman Jeffrey Smith (pictured right), who appears to have a good grasp of the challenges the Institute and the industry faces. I feel that he will do a good job advancing some of the issues Marine Engineers face, here in Canada. I am sure the same could also be said of Glenn Walters of Babcock, who is also quite involved with SNAME, especially with their Young Professional mentoring program. I was also excited to hear of MAN’s expanding presence in Canada, thanks Katharina.

All in all, it was a very hectic time leading up to the conference, so I do apologize to my family, for being a bit of a bear during that time. I personally enjoyed this professional experience very much, and gained much from it. I encourage you to attend the next one, to be held next year, in Ottawa, by the Ottawa Branch. Check the main CIMarE website for updates.

From an organizer’s perspective, I encourage those wishing to present a technical papers, or have a booth in the exhibition area, to plan early and express your interest ASAP to the organizing committee. Many companies and presenters felt left out because the event sold out / booked up, so fast.

By the way, if you are interested, the power point presentation utilized in the technical papers presentations, are available online for download, from the main Mari Tech 2011 website. The previous year’s papers are also available, from the main CIMarE website. I will be uploading some pictures as well, shortly.

Thanks also to John, the organizing committee chairman, and the other dedicated volunteer who put in allot of time and energy, putting this event together; Bert, Alicja, Phil, Mike, Tony, David, Roger and Chris. I ended up working alongside Mark Collins quite a bit as well; he did a great job as Master of Ceremonies - Pictured right, thanking Ron Burchett, of Corvus Energy, after his technical presentation.

Thanks all for putting up with me. Hope to see you next time, but of course you're always welcome to send me an email.

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