Past Meeting Topics

We are always looking for new speakers!  We’re starting to keep an online list of past speakers and topics.  Our hope is that this will be helpful to everyone in regards to finding new speakers with interesting presentations.  If you or someone you know would be interested,  please contact Larry Hagstrom at

November 16, 2017 – MTS San Diego Monthly Meeting @ Old Scripps Building, La Jolla

Speaker: Josh Wells, CEO, Planck Aerosystems. Topic: Josh presented a talk on the technical shortcomings of commercially-available drone products in the maritime environment, and an overview of the work Planck has done to overcome those challenges in our products. Planck Aero is a drone intelligence company, based in San Diego, enabling  drones to operate from moving vehicles detecting, identifying and tracking automatically objects on land and water. More info at

October 26, 2017 – MTS San Diego Monthly Meeting
Speaker: KC Jack Nave, Mechanical Team Captain of the SDSU Robotics Club, MECHATRONICS, Mechanical Engineering Department.Topic: KC Jack Nave, Mechanical Team Captain of the SDSU Robotics Club, MECHATRONICS, Mechanical Engineering Department along with a few of his teammates brought in the Team’s new AUV known as the “Perseverance” for inspection.

September 21, 2017 – MTS San Diego Monthly Meeting

Speakers: Brian Alvara (President) and  Victor Ciccarelli (CEO) of 3R’s Robotics   ( )

Topic: Present and demonstrate “real-time” virtual reality. 360degree 3D Virtual Reality Camera Systems is an area in which Brian and Victor have collaborated to provide services to SeaWorld and Google. They possess the materials, design capabilities, engineering know-how, and fabrication skills to produce specialized camera rigs holding up to 32 cameras, with capability to transfer data at rates of 2GB/second and display virtual reality-like experiences. These cameras are being used for underwater exploration and to enhance marine educational programs.

August 24, 2017 – MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series
Speaker:  Gwen Nero, Director of Corporate Affiliates, Business Development, Industry Outreach, and Innovation at UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Topic: Scripps Institution of Oceanography – Expanded Direction and New Vision for Industry Collaboration.

UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for global ocean and earth science research and graduate training. The scope of the institution has grown in recent years to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical, and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Scripps) is rising to meet new challenges ahead for science and society as the Earth’s climate changes. Scripps partners with agencies, resource managers, industries, and the public who can make a difference by putting Scripps science to work for society. Gwen Nero, Director of Corporate Affiliates, Business Development, Industry Outreach, & Innovation at Scripps, will provide an overview of Scripps academic, research, and public outreach programs and a new vision for industry collaboration at Scripps.

Bio:  Gwen Nero is Director of Corporate Affiliates, Business Development, Industry Outreach, and Innovation at UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography. At Scripps, Gwen created and directs the Scripps Corporate Alliance, a program that facilitates collaboration between Scripps and corporate members just recently launched in 2017. She works closely with the UC San Diego Office of Innovation and Commercialization and innovation programs across the UC San Diego campus and San Diego Region to support Scripps research commercialization, collaborations with industry, and talent recruitment of students and postdoctoral fellows to industry careers. Gwen represents Scripps on the boards of The Maritime Alliance and CleanTech San Diego. Gwen completed a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Columbia University, taught for the NSF I-Corps program, lead programs for a life science innovation fund and a startup incubator in New York City, and worked at Columbia Technology Ventures before joining UC San Diego and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

May 25, 2017 – MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speaker:  Mark Fleming, Business Development Manager – Government & Military Sales, VideoRay LLC.

Abstract: Mark discussed the new VideoRay Mission Specialist Series (MSS) ROV which utilizes a system of interchangeable, modular components, communicating through a single intelligent network. This topology provides an extremely flexible and customizable platform which can be easily adapted to target specific missions. It is this flexibility which sets apart the Mission Specialist ROV Series from current technology in the Remotely Operated Vehicle Industry. It provides a flexible, scalable, customizable platform which can accept additional thrusters, sensors and accessories on location.  Components can be removed individually from the configuration without affecting the entire system, providing full plug and play capabilities.  The philosophy behind the Mission Specialist Series is fitting each system to the sensors, tools, depth rating, and thrust needed for the job at hand, rather than retrofit accessories to a standard ROV.

Mark Fleming retired from the U.S. Navy as a Chief Warrant Officer 5 after more than 30 years of service with distinction. His titles include Master EOD Technician, EOD Officer, and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist. His personal decorations include the Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star and Combat Distinguishing Device, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various service and campaign awards.

April 27, 2017 – MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speaker:  James Walton, sales manager of AML Oceanographic (formerly Applied Microsystems Limited) talked about some interesting CTD deployments in Canada and Kuwait and then go on to discuss UV based anti-fouling techniques.

Abstract:  AML is based near Victoria, Canada and is an innovative manufacturer of Sound Velocity, CTD and environmental sensors, probes and instruments. AML’s success story originated with developing UV protected CTDs for the Smart Oceans project run by Ocean Networks Canada.  Their UV biofouling protection technology was developed and tested with the help of the Folger Pinnacle node on the NEPTUNE cabled observatory, and soon after concluding the test there AML supplied 5 CTDs to be deployed on Smart Oceans.  They made one or two mistakes along the way, and James will recount the story of the sale, what went wrong, what they did to fix it, and an example of a later sale to another customer where they learned from their previous mistakes.

Mr. Walton has a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta, and lived in Japan for 6 years.  James joined the AML sales team in 2011, and is currently sales manager for environmental and science-related projects globally, supporting the regional sales people, agents and resellers.

March 16, 2017 – MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speaker: Kevin Hardy, Founder, Global Ocean Design, San Diego, CA

Topic: Chinese Exploration of Ocean Trenches

Abstract: The Shanghai Ocean University, located in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is leading the aggressive development of a sustainable means to access the deepest ocean trenches on a predicable, if not routine, basis. Prof. Weicheng Cui, anointed “Hero of the Deep Sea” by the Chinese government for his development of the 7km rated Jiaolong submersible, manages the project.  His unique funding model includes private and city investment, with the goal of technology transfer to a  close-coupled ocean-centered, high tech industrial park.  Four unique surface support vessels are being developed to carry the HOV Rainbow Fish to its dive sites, two large monohulls, typical of gyre scale oceanographic research ships, and two exotic vessels, a tri-hull catamaran, and an icebreaker.

This talk described the hadal landers and ARVs, Autonomous Remotely-controlled Vehicles, what we in the west refer to as HROVs. Shallower diving submersibles from Graham Hawkes are also planned.  The twin MIRs may reluctantly be moved from Russia to China, which can support the submersibles.

The talk will show a number of creative approaches the Chinese are bringing to solve the many problem associated with such a massive undertaking.

Speaker bio: Kevin Hardy founded Global Ocean Design after retiring from a career at Scripps Institution of Oceanography that spanned 40-years. Along with his wife, Michelle, Kevin was an invited lecturer to the Shanghai Ocean University, and the adjacent Lingang  High Tech Business Park, in early August 2016.

Jan 19, 2017 – MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speaker: Jeremy Crutchfield, Senior Engineer, from the San Diego County Water Authority:

Topic: News and updates from the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which on December 14, 2016 marked the first anniversary of the nation’s largest seawater desalination project!

Jeremy has seventeen years’ experience planning, designing and constructing water infrastructure projects. He has been with the San Diego County Water Authority for nearly ten years after beginning his career as a design consultant with Black & Veatch in Los Angeles, CA. Jeremy has worked on a variety of projects including treatment facilities, conveyance and storage facilities, large diameter pipeline installation, and hydroelectric facilities; and currently leads the Water Authority’s Facilities Planning Group. Jeremy earned his Civil Engineering degree from the University of Arizona and his masters in Civil Engineering from Loyola Marymount University.

November 16, 2016 – Open house at Teledyne Seabotix

A tour of new facilities for customers and MTS-San Diego section members

October 18, 2016 – MTS- San Diego Section social event

Fellow members and non-members got together at Ballast Point Brewery in Scripps Ranch for a casual evening of networking and just for having a good time!

 Sept. 29, 2016 –  MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speaker:  Mr. Ben Reineman, Scripps Institute of Oceanography

Topic:  Over the past decades, autonomous vehicle development has pushed the boundary of oceanography and atmospheric science into new territories, driven by low-power sensor and processing circuitry, and improved global communications and positioning systems. I will discuss instrumentation and platform development of two systems: the ship-launched and recovered Boeing-Insitu ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and the Spray buoyancy glider Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). Improved endurance and reliability, and new sensors and sensing techniques for these two systems have permitted new insights into boundary layer physics and coastal ocean sensing.

May 26, 2016 – MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speaker:  Paula Sylvia, Port of San Diego’s Program Manager on Aquaculture and Blue Technology

Topic:  Update on the Port’s Green Port Program and the Climate Action Plan. The Port’s Climate Action Plan was adopted in 2013, placing the Port at the forefront of the San Diego region’s climate planning efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

April 28, 2016 – MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speaker: Kevin Hardy, Global Ocean Design LLC, Scripps Institution of Oceanography/UCSD (retired) AND Rodney Moll, who is helping break new ground with SeaKeepers on the west coast.

Topic:  In 2011, in a throwback to the earliest days of oceanography, Kevin Hardy, a just retired Scripps Ocean Engineer, and Patty Elkus, a member of the Scripps Director’s Council, presented a proposal to the International SeaKeepers Society to make their mega-yachts available to academic ocean researchers.  They did so.  With the cost of getting to sea reduced to often zero, and availability improved from the gyre scale UNOLS ship model, graduate students, researchers and engineers from academia are now able to push new limits of design, development and operational training.  First operational on the eastern seaboard, the program is jumping to the west coast with the help of Rodney Moll and the San Diego Yacht Club.

 March 24, 2016 – Open House at the Tecnadyne Facility

Feb. 18, 2016 – MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speaker:  Mr. Sheldon Rubin

Topic: Periodic Inspection of Hazardous Environment Storage Tanks using ROV. Periodic inspections of petroleum product storage tanks are mandated by law and currently cost between $1 million and $5 million to perform.  Because of the high cost, the inspections are sparingly performed and insufficient data is collected to accurately extrapolate when a tank will need future repairs or to be retired.  Due to the extremely adverse and hazardous working conditions, very limited data of poor quality is collected.  The Sonasearch Storage Tank Surveyor (STS) system performs a comprehensive, detailed inspection of tank integrity without taking it out of service for a small fraction of the current cost and the cost of the system is less than the current cost of a single tank inspection.  An ultrahigh resolution Acoustic Camera™ is positioned by an amphibious ROV to perform the tank inspection from the inside of the tank.  The patent-pending system is being certified for operation worldwide in hazardous areas.

January 28, 2016 

Speaker:  Alex Tardy, Warning Coordination Meteorologist
NOAA/National Weather Service.  San Diego, CA.  Web:

Topic: This month’s presentation will be a discussion of historical El Niño’s and their impact on California plus a look at the current El Niño and it’s projected impact.  It  will also look at some of the climate impacts over the past few years.

Sept. 24, 2015 – MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speakers: Dale Stokes and Christian MacDonald, SIO

Topic: Scripps Institution of Oceanography has been at the forefront of underwater exploration for more than 100 years. Even before the development of SCUBA, several pioneering Scripps scientists were exploring the underwater world with snorkels and surface-supplied gear and making observations of the marine environment.

Aug. 27, 2015- MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speaker: Ken Richter received his PhD in oceanography from Scripps Institute of Oceanography in 1981.  Dr. Richter has worked at SPAWAR Systems Center in San Diego for the past 20 years, primarily conducting ecological risk assessments and assessing natural resources.

Topic: Evaluating environmental variables that effect power output of marine microbial fuel cells and evaluating their applications in powering underwater instrumentation.

May 26, 2015 – MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speaker: David Millar, President of Fugro Pelagos

Topic: The Search for MH 370!  Challenges in Performing an Underwater Search in a Remote Area of the Deep Ocean

April 14, 2015- MTS-San Diego Monthly Meeting Series

Speaker: Robert Jechart, CEO of RJE International

Topic: Whenever there is an aviation disaster, the first question is, “where’s the black box?” Robert Jechart, CEO of RJE International, discussed his company’s development of underwater locator beacons for worldwide aviation use.


Opportunity runs deep….