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Success that's easy to sea

{Sea Success}
(L-R) Les O'Reilly, executive director of the Marine Institute (representing Memorial University); Gary Dinn, president, Consolidated Technologies Ltd.; Joe Ryan, president, Sigma Engineering Ltd.; and Byron Dawe, president, Rutter Technologies Inc. Rutter was co-founded by Gary, Joe & Byron - Consolidated & Sigma provided some of the core technologies.

Another of the Genesis Centre's graduates is making waves in the international market. Rutter Technologies Inc., a graduate of the Memorial University-based business incubator, is taking its research to the world's oceans, selling almost as many of its Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs), or "black boxes", in the past three months as it sold last year in total.

"Centuries ago, pilots (navigation officers) used small books called rutters to record the detailed observations of a voyage and assist them in navigating the world," explained Byron Dawe, president of Rutter Technologies. "Noted within its pages were the aspects of the journey necessary for them to retrace their voyage safely, and so the rutter was the navigator's most prized possession. Our Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) is a modern day version of these rutters, recording all the critical elements of the voyage."

Established in 1998 by Sigma Engineering Limited and Consolidated Technologies Ltd, Rutter Technologies Inc. became a client of the Genesis Centre, learning and growing from this business support network that helps technology-based businesses/entrepreneurs create high-growth enterprises. This relationship "has given Rutter Technologies Incorporated a significant advantage for growth both locally and internationally," said Mr. Dawe.

While with the Genesis Centre, Rutter Technologies Inc. was afforded the opportunity to develop its research into a viable and privately financed international operation. Their August 2001 graduation from the centre was the culmination of much dedication, resulting in a substantial investment from ConPro Group Ltd., a diverse range of companies providing services and products to the oil, gas, marine and construction industries.

"Together with the ConPro Group of Companies and with the knowledge we acquired working with the Genesis Centre, we will continue to provide advanced technology to meet international demands," added Mr. Dawe. "To date, we have delivered systems to, and have orders for, some of the most prestigious cruise lines in the world, including Carnival, Celebrity, Costa and Holland American Lines. We have agreements in place with integrators and other companies. These agreements are providing us with worldwide access to the market."

The latest flurry of activity for Rutter Technologies Inc. is sparked by recent changes to international shipping regulations, requiring the installation of VDRs, which are the equivalent of airplane black boxes, on all passenger vessels over the next five years. This is very good news for the local enterprise, as very few companies worldwide offer the highly technical product.

"Based on our reference list and the number of customers that we've been able to get, we think we're probably the leading supplier in the world today," said Clarence Dwyer, vice-president of corporate affairs for Rutter.

The success of this company is no accident, however, considering the strong commitment to both research and commercial viability that emanates from both Rutter Technologies Inc. and the Genesis Centre, alike.

"Our clients must share our entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to pursue an export-oriented, technology-based product or service," noted Keelin O'Leary, manager of the Genesis Centre. "Both qualities were certainly evident in Rutter Technologies Incorporated."

With international headquarters in Sweden and Italy, this St. John's-based marine technology company is working hard to keep up with industry demand, and is committed to providing the most responsive customer service in the industry. "To accomplish this we have built a large international team dedicated exclusively to VDR services," the company's president explained. "This seasoned team of engineers and technicians listen closely to the requirements of every customer, quickly developing these ideas into customized solutions and product innovations."

It is this devotion to linking research with the business world that underpins the relationship between the Genesis Centre and its clients. Rutter Technologies Inc., with its steadily growing success, is a true testament to the vast capabilities of such vision and commitment.

"Through its relationships with the Genesis Centre and the Canadian Centre for Marine Communications (CCMC), Rutter Technologies Inc. represents an excellent example of how Memorial University can assist a local business," commented Memorial University President Dr. Axel Meisen at the company's graduation in 2001. "Management support from the Genesis Centre and technological support from the CCMC have enabled Rutter Technologies Inc. to bring a world-class technology to market."

For more see www.genesis.mun.ca.

{Memorial University of Newfoundland}