MIIN Member Spotlight - TechWorks Marine

Kicking off our 2024 #MIINMemberSpotlight series is Charlotte O'Kelly, co-founder and managing director of TechWorks Marine

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Introduce yourself and the organisation. What is your role and focus area?

My name is Charlotte O'Kelly, I'm the Managing Director and Co-Founder of TechWorks Marine. I run the business on a day-to-day basis and I've been doing it for the last 23 years. The area of interest is Metocean Data Provision.

Why did you choose to work in the marine industry?

My academic background is in Oceanography and I came to Ireland in 1997, initally working for an Irish company in the area of marine data management and operational oceanography.

In the early 2000's I set up my own company. I always was planning to work in the marine sector, and Ireland was a good place to do that, at that point in time.

What is your organisation’s unique selling point? Are you developing any new products or innovations?

At Techworks Marine, as I said, we focus on Metocean Data, that's been our focus from the get-go. We specifically focus on the end-to-end, so from the data acquisition system all the way to the data on our clients report, and that is really our uniqueness.

We are only in the metocean space and specifically in that area. In terms of innovation, R&D and innovation is an ongoing part of what we do. We're involved in several disruptive technologies innovation fund projects and we work extensively in R&D with the European Space Agency.

So, linking in other data, such as remote sensing data or modelling data, into the in-situ data that we collect to offer our clients value-added services.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for your company as part of Ireland’s Marine Industry in the coming 5-10 years?

As I've said we've been doing this for a long time. Our time isn't quite here in terms of marine, but we are on the cusp of it, and I see that in the next five to ten years, that it will be our time as an island nation to own the space, to be able to take what we have delivered here and export it internationally.

We're doing that at the moment because the level of activity in Ireland is a bit slowed down,  but there's still a lot of work to do here and we're all very proud of being based here and being able to have this amazing resource as everyone says in terms of extreme waves, extreme winds, in which we can test and showcaseour ability to collect accurate, robust, reliable and secure marine data.

What is the biggest challenge, in your opinion, facing businesses like yours in the marine industry today?

The marine industry is an international one, it's an international opportunity that we're addressing from here in Ireland. Our biggest challenge today, at an Irish level, is uncertainty.

We see that things are changing, in terms of the planning and the foreshore licensing of projects,so whether the projects are renewable, or water, or engineering, we've always had issues around foreshore licensing, those are slowly being resolved.

In terms of the challenges going forward, there's a massive supply chain bottleneck. If someone contacted me today and they wanted to deploy equipment, we might have to tell them it might take us six months or longer to get it in-place, unless we had the equipment in-house, which fortunately we do at the moment. But people who don't have equipment capacity within their own companies are in a difficult situation because lead-times for supply of equipment, and also for supply of personnel, are very long.

The other issue facing our industry today is the availability of vessels and ships.There are a few vessels for a very big amount of activity, and so often we have weather windows all at the same time, and that causes issues. That's not only an Irish problem, it happens everywhere.

All the problems we see happening here at an Irish level are actually issues that are happening internationally, and that we should really try and address. But they are slowly being addressed.

Is there anything you would like to share with the network?

We're based in Dun Laoghaire in South Co. Dublin, if any of you are in the area we'd love to show you around and have a conversation with you.

We are really into partnerships, and finding synergies with other Irish companies, and that was the main reasons of joining MIIN and we actually really value those types of networks as we have seen they work internationally. So, if ever you're around Dun Laoghaire and at a loose end, come and pay us a visit.

Techworks.ie is our website. Follow us on social media aswell @TechWorksMarine

We're actively involved in research projects, actively looking to either support existing bids, or new bids, or bring people onto bids that we're looking to put in. So, if you want to collaborate, if you think that any of the stuff we do is quite cool, and you think you can bring a value-added dimension, please do.

Again, with regards to roles, we're always looking for roles, so, we might not always advertise them, but send in C.V.s, we do respond. We take on-board students for research work. We also take on board Transition Year students and we've done a lot of that over the yearsbecause we've all had to gain experience somehow. Come and have a chat!

Where can we find more information about TechWorks Marine?

Website: techworks.ie
X: @TechWorksMarine
LinkedIn: TechWorks Marine

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