February 21, 2023 – Thunder Bay, Ont.
Julie Angus will be the keynote speaker at Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation Week on Monday, Feb. 27 at 12:30 pm in the Faculty Lounge.
Angus – who is an author, a scientist, and an entrepreneur – will describe what it was like for her and her partner Colin to row across the Atlantic Ocean over five months in 2005-2006.
They began their 10,000 km journey in Lisbon, Portugal and ended it in Limon, Costa Rica.
“I wanted to explore the ocean and push myself mentally and physically,” Angus said.
A year before the expedition, the pair began training with the Vancouver rowing club to learn how to row and build up strength.
Over the five-month trip, Angus realized the ocean is a beautiful place and that most people will never see it so far from shore.
“It also made me think about how that difficulty in exploring and monitoring our oceans leads to challenges protecting it and sustainably growing the ocean industry.
“That eventually led to the creation of Open Ocean Robotics, a company I co-founded and am CEO of that produces autonomous boats for ocean monitoring.”
The pair experienced two hurricanes – one out of season and the other in a part of the ocean that had never before seen a hurricane. “Those were very challenging conditions,” she said.
The journey gave Angus a much deeper respect and appreciation for the ocean and its wildlife.
“It was also a very humbling experience because you look around at the marine mammals, fish, birds who all are adapted to this extremely challenging environment where we struggle to survive.”
Angus and her husband Colin founded Open Ocean Robotics to protect the sustainability of oceans using solar powered, autonomous boats.
“These vessels can go out for weeks or months at a time collecting a range of data to better understand, protect, or operate on oceans,” she said.
They started the company in their garage four years ago and have now grown it to more than 30 employees with a range of customers and projects from around the world.
“We largely provide services in environmental monitoring, marine mammal monitoring, and security, including illegal fishing enforcement,” she said.
Goal setting is very important, she said, when you want to achieve your dreams.
“We need a North Star to guide us and a staged approach to achieving those dreams, along with the ability to adapt to the unforeseen circumstances that will undoubtedly arise.”
Angus will present her keynote speech after Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation Week opening ceremonies, which the public can also attend.
For more information or to register, visit www.lakeheadu.ca/ri.
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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has nine faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2023 World Universities Rankings for the fourth consecutive year, and the number one university in the world with fewer than 10,000 students in THE’s 2022 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.