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A winning combination

By Jackey Locke

When you talk to Dean Pelley about his success as an entrepreneur, it quickly becomes evident that engineering and entrepreneurship is a winning combination.

Mr. Pelley is the CEO and president of Mad Rock Marine Solutions Inc., a company he started in 2002, along with his colleague Jason Dawe, to provide a modern approach to finding solutions to marine evacuation systems. The Deer Lake native is a graduate of Memorial’s ocean and naval architectural engineering program and has a M.Eng. in naval architecture.

Mad Rock is now being recognized worldwide for its RocLoc lifeboat release hook system, a hook designed to help with the safe evacuation of seafarers. Mr. Pelley says he owes the success of his company to not only hard work and perseverance but to the opportunities he had as an engineering grad student at Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering as part of the faculty’s Offshore Safety Research Team.

“We couldn’t have done this independently. When I was a part of the research group, I saw they were doing some really good work. My research was on the performance of lifeboats in extreme seas. I often met with industry and presented the work and received a lot of really positive feedback. People were pleased that someone was finally looking at marine evacuation from a scientific point of view,” he said.

A year shy of graduating, Mr. Pelley saw an opportunity from what he was doing on the research team and started Mad Rock.

“So, essentially, we started with the Research Offshore Safety Team, we’ve spun out and actually started to impart change on the industry,” he said.

Mad Rock employs 14 people; was named by the Marine Technology Reporter’s Yearbook edition as a top 100 company for its marine industry achievements; is an associate member of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners; and most recently won the Board of Trade Business Excellence Award.