Blue Innovation Symposium Attendees

2022 conference packet

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1.24.2023 - 1.26.2023

2023 Blue Innovation Symposium

The Blue Innovation Symposium (BIS) is the premier event in New England for connecting the marine technology industry for education, networking and facilitating partnering opportunities. The conference brings together a broad spectrum of representatives of the marine technology industry from the US and beyond. The BIS has welcomed more than 300 attendees and nearly 40 sponsors for the three-day event, which included keynote addresses, panel discussions and a unique series of five-minute flash talks.

For information or additional sponsorship options, please contact us at [email protected].

Highlights from the 2022 symposium included remarks from US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, RI Governor Daniel McGee, and Dr. Rodney Cluck, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  Over the course of the three day event, we had more than 54 speakers, 30 sponsors, and 250 attendees. We heard about new, innovative technologies, from 16 FlashTalk presenters, including Ian Estephan Owen, Founder of Jaia Robotics, who revealed a new vehicle at the symposium.  Sensor Technology Canada, Dive Technologies, and Jim Hanlon were presented with Rising Tide awards. And the Marine & Oceanographic Technology Network (MOTN) presented its inaugural Steve Withrow award during the opening reception.

The Blue Innovation Symposium is organized by the Blue Venture ForumMarine & Oceanographic Technology Network (MOTN), the Consulate General of Canada in Boston, and TSC Strategic.


Tuesday February 22, 2022, at Wyndham, Middletown, RI

11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Exhibitor Setup, Wyndham Hotel, Middletown, RI

1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Future of the Blue Economy

1:30 p.m. -1:40 p.m. Welcome and Introductions | Tobias Stapleton, PhD, MBA, President, Marine & Oceanographic Technology Network

1:40-2:30 p.m. Panel: Support for Ocean Tech Development, disruptive thinking   

Moderator:  Roger Race, Director of Innovation, Dartmouth Ocean Technologies


  • Nick Rotker, Chief Blue Tech Strategist, MITRE Labs 
  • Erik G. Brine, Director of Defense R&D Initiatives and Operations, URI Research Foundation, URI Ventures 
  • Sagar Jha, Ecosystem and Partnerships Manager, Center for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) 

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. NavalX Tech Bridge, a perspective from the Office of Naval Research

Speaker: Captain Benjamin Van Buskirk, Director, NavalX (ASN RD&A)

3:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Networking Break

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Resilient Infrastructure and Secure Energy (RISE) Consortium: Powering Partnerships to Confront the Climate Crisis

Facilitator: Tobias Stapleton, PhD, MBA, President, Marine & Oceanographic Technology Network


  • Chris Van Metre, President and CEO, Advanced Technology International
  • Michael Wu, Executive Director, RISE Consortium

4:00 p.m. – 4:40 p.m. 401 Tech Bridge Accelerating our Regional Blue Economy through Blue Tech Innovation, a fireside chat with Vic Ricci, Chief Technology Officer, Naval Undersea Warfare Center

Facilitator:    Christian Cowan, Executive Director, 401 TechBridge

4:40 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. MassChallenge Blue, Fostering Blue Technology Innovations

Facilitator: Hope Hopkins, Director, Blue Track, MassChallenge 

Featuring Flash Talks from: 

  • Jaia Robotics LLC.  Jaia Robotics’ mission is to make the collection of ocean data affordable and available for all that need it. 
  • Current Lab: The first unified system for accessing and visualizing powerful real-time ocean data from the global scale to the hyper-local.  

5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Entering the Canadian Ocean Technology Ecosystem, a cross-border perspective


  • Erin Donahue, Trade Commissioner, Ocean Technologies, Canadian Consulate General of Canada in Boston
  • Hon. Stephen McNeil, Senior Business Advisor, Cox & Palmer
  • Mohammad Ali Raza, Partner / Lawyer, Cox & Palmer

5:30 p.m – 7:00 p.m. Opening Reception, Wyndham Atlantic Hotel, Middletown, RISponsored by Marine & Oceanographic Technology Network (MOTN) 

Rising Tide Awards, sponsored by Boston Engineering Corp. &TSC Strategic/Ocean News & Technology

Wednesday, February 23, 2022, Wyndham Hotel, Middletown, RI

7:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Exhibitor Setup

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Conference Registration, continental breakfast with exhibitors

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Blue Innovation Symposium

8:30 a.m. – 8:40 a.m. Introductory Remarks

Toby Stapleton, PhD, President, Marine & Oceanographic Technology Network (MOTN)

Jeff Smith, VP and General Manager, Autonomous and Undersea Systems, SAAB, Inc.

8:40 a.m. – 8:50 a.m. Welcome | The Honorable Daniel McKee, Governor, State of Rhode Island (confirmed)

8:50 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Opening Remarks | US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (recorded remarks) 

9:00 a.m – 9:40 a.m.  Opening Plenaries: The Future of Offshore Wind and Ocean Research

Dr. Rodney E. Cluck, Chief, Division of Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies Program, Office of Environmental Programs, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Department of the Interior

Craig McLean, Assistant Administrator for Research, NOAA

9:40 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Accelerating innovation in the offshore wind industry, a fireside chat with Neil Hamel, Head, US Innovation & Venture Hub, Ørsted

10:15 a.m. – 11:00:   Panel: Creating Opportunities in the Blue Economy, a regional perspective

Moderator: Nate Walton, Principal, Sachem Strategies 


  • Christian Cowan, Executive Director of 401 Tech Bridge
  • Molly Magee, Executive Director, Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium (UTIC)
  • Carolyn Kirk, Executive Director, MassTech Collaborative 
  • Eric Siegel, Executive in Residence, Creative Destruction Labs (CDL) Oceans 

11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Networking Break

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Flash Talks: Global Innovators and Entrepreneurs

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.  Lunch, Networking

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Panel: From in situ, to distributed to sensorless sensing- New Approaches to Ocean Data and Services 

Moderator: Jose Vazquez, Director, Information Technology, Boston Engineering Corporation

  • Vince Sieben, Associate Professor at Dalhousie University, Dartmouth Ocean Technology
  • Shik Sundar, VP Sales, Sofar Ocean, Inc.
  • Michael Wardlaw, Program Officer, Maritime Sensing, Office of Naval Research (invited)

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  Flash Talks: Global Innovators and Entrepreneurs

3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.  Networking break

3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Panel: Bluetech Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Moderator: Justin Manley, Just Innovation

  • Yi Chao, PhD, Founder and CEO, Seatrec,
  • Raymond Schmitt, PhD, Professor, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) and Founder and President/CEO, Salient Predictions
  • Marc d’Entremont, CEO & Founder, Pombcoup Technologies 

4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Plenary:  

Dr. Anna Michel, Chief Scientist: National Deep Submergence Facility at WHOI   

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Closing Reception, Wyndham Hotel, Middletown, RI  

Thursday, February 24, 2022

8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Economic Update Breakfast, The Future of the Region’s Blue Economy, a fireside chat with Dr. Marc Parlange, President, University of Rhode Island, and Stefan Pryor, Secretary of Commerce, State of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island has a diverse, and world-class, blue tech ecosystem that includes industry, governmental, and research organizations that make significant contributions to the blue economy both regionally and around the world.  To provide support to these existing assets, foster startups, and attract blue technology firms to the state, a team from Rhode Island, that included the University of Rhode Island and the State of RI, recently submitted a proposal, and was selected as one of 60 finalists, to the US Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC).  If selected for a full award, it would mean millions of dollars in funding to support industry through specific infrastructure projects, and workforce training initiatives.  

The proposed RI Blue Economy Technology Cluster (RI BETC) will establish Rhode Island and Southern New England as the leading global center of the Blue Economy, building upon existing regional, national, and global assets and backed by a consortium of industry, government, non-profit, and academic partners. This initiative will impact Rhode Island’s entire Blue Economy which spans 6 sub-industries: ports & shipping, defense, marine trades, ocean-based renewables, aquaculture & fisheries, and tourism & recreation.  During this fireside chat we’ll hear, from Dr. Marc Parlange, President, University of Rhode Island, and Stefan Pryor, Secretary of Commerce, State of Rhode Island, how URI and the state of Rhode Island are supporting blue technology firms and how this potential funding from EDA might benefit the region’s blue tech community. This fireside chat will be facilitated by Peter Rumsey, Chief Business Development Officer, URI Research Foundation/URI Ventures.

Location: Wyndham Atlantic, Middletown, RI

8: 00 a.m – 8:30 a.m. Registration & Breakfast 

8:30 a.m – 8:40 a.m. Introduction and Remarks: Tobias Stapleton, PhD, co-founder Blue Innovation Symposium 

8:40 a.m – 8:50 a.m. Welcome: Erin Donavan-Boyle, President Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce 

8:50 a.m – 9:30 a.m. The Future of the Region’s Blue Economy  

Facilitator: Peter Rumsey, Chief Business Development Officer, URI Research Foundation/URI Ventures 


  • Dr. Marc Parlange, President, University of Rhode Island 
  • Stefan Pryor, Secretary of Commerce, State of Rhode Island 

Sponsored by the Greater Newport Area Chamber of Commerce, Connect Greater Newport 

Download 2021 Conference Packet

Online 2-4 PM (Eastern) February 2, 2021

Networking 4-5PM

2:00 p.m. – 2:05 p.m.

Opening Remarks

Toby Stapleton, PhD, Co-Founder, Blue Innovation Symposium

2:05 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.


Rhonda Moniz, Woods Hole Group & President of the Marine & Oceanographic Technology Network (MOTN)

2:10 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Panel Introduction

BAE Systems/BAE Fastlabs

2:15 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.

Global Innovation Panel


Melaine Nadeau, CEO Center for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE)


Eric Siegel – Ocean Startup Challenge (Halifax, Canada)

Derek Puzzuoli – SeaHawk Robotics (Vancouver, Canada)

Vince Sieben – Dartmouth Ocean Technologies (Halifax, Canada)

Jerry Sgobbo – Dive Technologies (Quincy, Massachusetts, USA)

Jeff Smith – BAE Fastlabs (Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA)

Robert Dane – Ocius Technology (Syndey, Australia)

Remaining 20 minutes Q&A moderated by Melanie Nadeau

3:20 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


3:30 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.


Matthew Dunbabin, Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane, Australia) Robots for Coral Reef Restoration

3:50 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The Future of the Blue Economy

Dean Paula Bontempi, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

4:00 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

Closing Remarks


4:05 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Tuesday, January 14

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.


Light refreshments at Wyndham Hotel, Middletown, RI

1:30 p.m. – 1:35 p.m.

Welcome and Introductions

Tobias Stapleton, PhD, MBA,

Dean, Graduate and Continuing Education Programs,

Salve Regina University

1:35 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.

Opening Remarks

Sandra Whitehouse, Environmental Consultant, Ocean Policy

1:50 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Panel: Ocean Tech Investment, disruptive thinking


Leslie-Ann McGee, Assistant Director of the Center for Marine Robotics at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


Jim Hanlon, COVE

Mark Huang, Sea Ahead

Joe Turner, Exocetus Autonomous Systems

2:30 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.


Digital Reality: Living with Data Superabundance


Nick Napp, Cofounder, Xmark Labs

2:50 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.

Networking Break

3:20 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.


Sensors and the next wave of data


Pete Scheidler, Director of Electrical and Software Engineering, Midé Technology

3:50 p.m. – 4:10 p.m.


Distributed Undersea Operations an Overview of MITRE’s Undersea Research Program


Nick Rotker, Co-Department Head, MITRE

4:10 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.


Innovation in Ocean Robots


Jim Bellingham, Director, Center for Marine Robotics,

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Opening Reception

Ochre Court, Salve Regina University

Sponsored by FLIR

Ocean Innovator Awards:

Sponsored by TSC Strategic / Ocean News & Technology

Wednesday, January 15th

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Conference Registration

Continental breakfast with exhibitors

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Blue Innovation Conference

8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

Introductory Remarks

Toby Stapleton, Ph.D.,

Dean of Graduate Programs,

Salve Regina University

8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.


Dr. Kelli Armstrong, President,

Salve Regina University

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Opening Plenary

Ocean Technologies:

Enabling the Blue Economy


Alan Leonardi, NOAA Director of Ocean Exploration and Research

9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.


A Smart Bay:

Towards Novel, Integrated, and Event Triggered Sensors and Data Streams in Rhode Island.


Geoff Bothun, Project Director, Rhode Island Consortium for Coastal Ecology Assessment, Innovation, and Modeling (RI- CAIM), University of Rhode Island (URI)

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.


DOLPHIN Full Duplex Acoustic Signals Enabling Next Gen Sensors and Communications


Greg Folts QinetiQ North America

10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Networking Break

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Flash Talks

Global Innovators and Entrepreneurs

Cerulean Sonar

C-2 Innovations, Inc



General Dynamics

CryoWave Advanced Technology

Klein Marine Systems, Inc.


Dartmouth Ocean Technology

Sponsored by: District Hall & Venture Café Providence

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Lunch and Networking

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Defense Sensor and Data Panel


Jose Vazquez, Director, Defense and Security, Boston Engineering


Mike Wardlaw, ONR

Fletcher Blackmon, NUWC Newport

Justin Manley, Just Innovation

2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Flash Talks

Global Innovators and Entrepreneurs

SeaLite Engineering, Inc


Woods Hole Group

University of Rhode Island

ARMADA Marine Robotics

CSA Ocean Sciences


ShipIn Systems Inc.

Pro-Oceanus Systems

Sponsored by: District Hall & Venture Café Providence

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Networking Break

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


International Sensor Technology


David Shea, Vice President of Engineering, Kraken Robotic Systems Inc.

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Global Sensor Solutions Panel


Roger Race, Director of Innovation at Dartmouth Ocean Technologies


Chris Gilson, 2G Robotics

Moya Cahill, Pangeo Subsea

Niru Somayajula, Sensor Technology Ltd

Guillaume Labbe-Morissette, CIDCO

Vincent Sieben, Dalhousie University

4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Closing plenary

Eivind Alling, VP QHSE & Integration, Americas, Kongsberg Maritime, Inc

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Closing reception

Wyndham Hotel, Middletown, RI

Thursday, January 16th

9:00 a.m – 12:00 p.m.

Matchmaking for participating companies

Innovate Newport, Newport, RI

12:00 p.m – 1:30 p.m.

Economic Update Luncheon

The state of the region’s blue economy, Innovate Newport


Hilary Fagan, Executive VP of Business Development, RI Commerce Corporation

Chancellor Robert E. Johnson, UMass Dartmouth

Pre-Conference | Tuesday, Nov. 27

Salve Regina University, 518 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI

9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.


Light refreshments at the Pell Center, Young Building Salve Regina University

9:50 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions

Tobias Stapleton, Ph.D., MBA,

Dean, Graduate and Continuing Education Programs,

Salve Regina University

10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Opening Plenary

State of the Maritime Unmanned Vehicles Industry:

Justin Manley, Just Innovation

10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Networking Break

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

UTIC Rapid Prototyping Opportunities

Molly Donohue Magee,

Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium

1:30 – 4 p.m.


Business to Business Tours and Meetings

with/for Canadian delegation.

University of Rhode Island, North Kingstown Campus

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m

Opening Reception

Cambria Hotel, 240 Aquidneck Avenue, Newport, RI

sponsored by AUVSI New England featuring Jim Bellingham,

Director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s Center for Marine Robotics

Wednesday, Nov. 28 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cambria Hotel, 240 Aquidneck Avenue, Newport, RI

8 – 9 a.m.

Conference Registration

Continental breakfast with exhibitors

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Blue Innovation Conference

9 – 9:05 a.m.

Introductory Remarks

Toby Stapleton, Ph.D.,

Dean of Graduate Programs, Salve Regina University

9:05 – 9:15 a.m.


Sister Jane Gerety,

RSM, President, Salve Regina University

9:15 – 9:45 a.m.

Opening Plenary:

An Ocean of Data and Digitization

Louis Beaubien, CEO BlueNode

9:45 – 10:30 a.m.


The Role of Regional “Clusters”


Laurie Jugan, Mississippi Marine Industries Science and Technology (MIST)


Mark Huang, Sea Ahead Hugh Dunn, UMASS Dartmouth George Nickolopouos, University of Rhode Island

10:30 – 11 a.m.

Networking Break

11 – 11:45 a.m.

Flash Talks:

Global Innovators and Entrepreneurs

SIM –CI: “Enhancing environmental security through improved critical infrastructure resilience”

Boston Engineering: “NOAA dropsonde data for hurricane prediction”

PowerDocks LLC: “Autonomous floating power micro grid platforms”

Mississippi Enterprise for Technology (MSET): “Gulf Coast Cluster”

Cleantech Open: “What is a startup accelerator?”

The Blue Incubator – “Innovation in Plymouth, MA” 7. Geospectrum: “Innovative Acoustic Technologies”

Sensortech: “Enabling ocean instrumentation”

Igloo Innovations Inc.: “Swim-Fly-Swim, a new drone concept”

11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m

Lunch, Networking, and a Fireside Chat:

The Future of Work and the Blue Economy Fireside Chat


Toby Stapleton, Ph.D., MBA, Dean of Graduate Programs, Salve Regina University


Tuni Schartner, Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Innovate Newport

Leonora Valvo, Founder, Swoogo

1:15 – 2 p.m.


Oceantech Innovation in Canada


Justin Manley, Just Innovation Inc.


Jim Hanlon, Center for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship

Karl Kenney, Kraken Robotics

Derek Inglis, XEOS Technologies

Derek Puzzuoli, Igloo Innovations

2 – 2:45 p.m.

Flash Talks:

Global Innovators and Entrepreneurs

Riptide Autonomous Solutions: “Swarming UUVs”

Woods Hole Group: “From the shelf out into the deep basins one team for all of your ocean and coastal data needs”

Kraken Robotic Systems Inc: “Advancing unmanned systems”

CIDCO: “Data acquisition in shallow water”

M2Ocean: “Ocean observing and mapping”

1MH Solutions: “From surveys to systems”

Center for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship: “Ocean tech in Atlantic Canada”

Seatrac: “A new unmanned surface vehicle”

MRECo: “Renewable ocean energy in New England”

2:45 – 3 p.m.

Networking Break

3 – 3:45 p.m.


Maritime Robotics Data, AI and Autonomy


Leslie-Ann McGee, WHOI Center for Marine Robotics


Bob Melvin, Teledyne Marine

Joe Provost, Salve Regina University

Stephanie Petillo, Ocean Observing Initiative – Coastal & Global Scale Nodes, WHOI

Amy Kukulya, Ocean Systems Laboratory, WHOI

3:45– 4:45 p.m.


US Navy is Open For Business


General (Ret) Frank Kelley, Vice President Defense Acquisition University


Chris Egan, Director, Undersea Warfare Unmanned Systems and Autonomous Behavior, NUWC Newport CDR Anders PEO Unmanned and Small Combatants

Brant Brockett, Flight Experimentation Director, SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific

4:45 – 5:15 p.m.

Closing Plenary:

Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), Ocean Data in Action

Tom Shyka, Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS)

5:15 – 7:15 p.m.

Closing Reception

Sponsored by the Marine and Oceanographic Network (MOTN)


Stefan Pryor, Secretary of Commerce, State of Rhode Island.

Thursday, Nov. 29 at UMass Dartmouth (CIE)

10 a.m – Noon


Tour and Tech Venture Company

Presentations and Visits

UMass Dartmouth Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), 151 Martine Street, Fall River, Mass.