2019 SNAME Maritime Convention – Canadian Alumni Gathering and Overview

Following the 2019 SNAME Maritime Convention (chaired by NAME faculty member, and former co-director, Professor Chris McKesson) attending Canadian alumni gathered for an event which brought together industry members, faculty and students from across Canada, including UBC NAME. SNAME Global Membership Committee Chair Glenn Walters shared the following overview of the event, and Canadian participation in the SNAME conference as a whole.

On the heels of a very successful and invigorating SNAME Maritime Convention 2019 in Tacoma, Washington, the tradition of a Friday evening Canadian Alumni evening event continued through the efforts of Dan McGreer (PNW).

In addition to celebrating Sandy Thomson (ECS) as the 2019 Elmer A. Sperry Award recipient and Maggie Nate (CAS/Chesapeake) as the 2019 Francis T. Bowles Medallist, we welcomed Andrew Kendrick (ECS) as the now formally elected incoming SNAME President Elect.  Andrew will shadow our current SNAME President Suzanne Beckstoffer for the year 2020 prior to leading the society for a two-year term commencing in January 2021.

We also took the opportunity to toast the formation of the newly minted SNAME section of Canadian Pacific Section.  Although the name still needs to be formalized, I take this opportunity on behalf of the Canadian Atlantic Section (CAS), Eastern Canadian Section (ECS) and Arctic Section to welcome this new Canadian section.  As background, the Council and the membership formally approved the new section in order to simplify the governance of the previous cross border Canada and US section and to acknowledge the strengthening and growth of active membership in the both the BC and Washington sides of the Pacific North West (PNW) section.

While the University of Michigan, Webb Institute and MIT alumni held their more traditional alumni events, we continued to adopt a very informal mantra of: “Come if you can, come as you are and bring a friend!”  Although the photo nicely captures the popularity of the evening with over 50 SNAME members participating, closer examination of the photo will reveal the extraordinary depth of experience coupled with the youthful enthusiasm evident in our growing Canadian SNAME maritime community.

We had the honour of Past President, Jerry Land Medallist, Honorary Member and Canadian Citizen, Peter Noble, to once again join the festivities.  From the photo, one can also identify seven SNAME Fellows, four PhDs, two PhD candidates, a number of Masters graduates and a hockey sock full of students from the SNAME student sections of University of British Columbia (UBC) and Memorial University (MUN).  The diversity of our academic backgrounds is not only demonstrated from the growing number of international students attending UBC and MUN, it is comes from the foundations of a wide variety of engineering and technical institutions: Royal Military College (RMC), University of New Brunswick, (UNB) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Strathclyde University, University of Newcastle, University of New Orleans (UNO), University of Michigan, Institute maritime du Quebec (IMQ), École de technologie supérieure – Montreal (ETS) and Marine Institute, to name but a few.

On behalf of Chris McKesson, Chair SMC 2019, I thank the Canadian contingent of exhibitors, sponsors, panellists and speakers who all added to the success of the convention. The SMC Planning Committee also had critical support input from Iain Braidwood (PNW), Maggie Nate (CAS) and Pierre-Charles Drapeau (ECS).  Canadians were well represented at SMC with over 10% of the 750 attendees, including the 190 students. For exhibitors, we had eight of the 60, including Bronswerk, InnovMarine , Jastram, Robert Allan, Seaspan, Thordon Bearings and UBC Sailbot.  Of note, SNAME and Green Marine continued to exercise our growing relationship with an exhibitor booth staffed by Manon Lanthier (ECS) and Eleanor Kirtley (PNW).  Of note, over 20 companies participated in this year’s job fair, including VARD and Seaspan.  In addition to the many industry participants, we were ecstatic to see representatives from Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), Department of National Defence (DND), Transport Canada (TC), Classification Societies, Defence and Research Development Canada (DRDC) and BC Ferries.

Fully leveraging the SNAME T&R awareness and mentoring that Rick Ashcroft provided at MARITECH 2019 in Ottawa, David Males (ECS), Chair of the new panel on Digital Twin (OC-52) moderated a panel supported by Leonard Pecore (CAS) as a panellist on this very relevant transition to in-service support topic. Similarly, Abigail Fyfe (ECS), member of the new panel on Underwater Radiated Noise (EC-14) supported the Friday topical breakfast on this rapidly emerging environmental topic.  In addition, Roger Basu (ECS), T&R Hull Committee Chair, participated in the council meeting and various T&R committee meetings.

As feedback to those who may not have been able to attend, my most valuable SMC 2019 moment was the Closing Keynote Speaker, Rear Admiral (USN) David Hahn, Chief of Naval Research and Director of Innovation.  Admiral Hahn exceeded my expectations by specifically speaking to the relevance of SNAME as an engineering brain trust of the marine community, with a very emphatic corollary that this very much includes the knowledge and experience of allies and like-minded nations.  Adm Kahn also gave a shout-out to his submarine shipmate, Kevin Hein (PNW).

Although there were a few Canadians who escaped before the photo or were unable to attend, this served as a reminder for “Absent Friends”, to coin one of the traditional naval toasts.  From SMC 2019, I take the time to acknowledge the contributions of Marcel Laroche (PNW), RAdm Bill Christie (ECS) and most recently Prof Dan Masterson (Fellow Arctic) and Alan Rowen (HQ).

Looking forward, please save the date for the Green Marine event in Montreal, 02-04 June 2020 with the call for papers released this morning from Green Marine.  Please also note the earlier than usual date for SMC 2020 in Houston as 29 September – 02 October 2020. For SMC 2020, this will also result in a much earlier call for papers.  Therefore, please start thinking about what you want share with your SNAME community at SMC 2020 or the subsequent SMC 2021 in Providence, Rhode Island.

In the meantime, I challenge us all to take the enthusiasm and networking we created at SMC 2019 to continue the theme of “Get Smart.”  As with many in the photo, please continue to support your local sections through active involvement and please support SNAME through various volunteer and leadership opportunities.  As a final consideration, should your busy travels take you to St John’s, Vancouver or Rimouski, please reach out to the MUN, UBC or IMQ student sections. From my interactions with them at the pub night, they are all hungry to learn more, so lets take every opportunity to feed them with our experiences.