That’s where Marine Acoustics Inc. (MAI) comes in. The company continues to maintain its reputation as an expert in the ocean acoustic environment and is poised to meet the new generation of leadership challenges in the small business defense sector. The keys to its success as an incorporated small business have been the people. That has always been the vision of our Founder and Chief Scientist, Dr. Bill Ellison, since the company’s inception in 1983. "Having fully transitioned to an employee-owned company as of 2015, our model remains centred on identifying good people, molding them, and retaining them as part of the future leadership of the company. They come from all levels of expertise in the Navy systems we work with, and many are recognized as systems subject matter experts in prior careers,” mentions Skevos (Steve) Psaras, Vice President, Virginia Operations, MAI. “We invest heavily in Acoustic Analysts, Ocean Engineers, Navy Trainers, and Test Coordinators as well as Marine Biologists; all respected professionals in their relative field of expertise.” Even during the challenges of the last 18 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, MAI has not only been able to “weather the storm”, but also thrive in the evolving environment. In fact, the company remained poised for an unprecedented expansion of both capability and personnel to meet the challenges identified above under the leadership of its President and CEO, Mr. Tom Stewart.
MAI has a very niche capability at its disposal, competing both in the Navy systems and environmental compliance space. It has developed key software that has enabled both these activities in a way its competitors have not, providing the versatility to compete on a variety of small business initiatives. In order to gain mutual benefit in a limited market space, MAI also teams up with its market competition to buy crucial branding power for its respective sponsors in the process. Key to these relationships is understanding and being a part of sponsor-led working groups that serve as a conduit for the industry as well as a mechanism for collaboration of small businesses with government, academic research centers, and each other.
We invest heavily in Acoustic Analysts, Ocean Engineers, Navy Trainers, and Test Coordinators as well as Marine Biologists; all respected professionals in their relative field of expertise
Also, Marine Acoustics’ select MAI locations at the key “centers of gravity” for the Navy acoustic communities, to include proximity to the Navy Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Middletown, RI, the Office of Navy Research (ONR) in Arlington, VA, as well as new locations near Naval Submarine Base New London, CT, help serve customers more efficiently.
With an inherent capability to apply its operational acumen to creative solutions for its clients, MAI has significantly accelerated its Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) initiatives. “The solutions answer key questions and needs for the Navy in Phase I, and leverage MAI’s operational understanding of the problem, use cases, and key Navy protocols that must be taken into consideration in formulating the solution,” mentions Psaras. Some of these concepts range from ways to network collaborative sensors in a cooperative, coordinated Concept of Operation (CONOPs) to visualizing and representing Commander’s Risk to future undersea warfare operations for Navy planners. “Many of these initiatives having been chosen to transition to Phase II and even Phase III of the SBIR lifecycle,” Psaras asserts.
MAI sees itself posturing for capabilities in exciting new areas such as Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) and distributed, automated sensors for data collection capability. As AI and ML become an increasingly important realm for a Navy’s ability, the company will also be investing in these technologies to assess large volumes of data for optimized tactical performance of sensor systems. Lastly, MAI has been positioning capability for exporting tried and true methodologies to foreign partners; to include Foreign Military Sales (FMS) initiatives for Navy training and assistance, test and evaluation, and modeling and simulation to the U.S. Allies, as well as Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) service support of acoustic Environmental Compliance (EC) projects for upcoming overseas markets. “We feel we are particularly well positioned for these types of markets with both existing and growing company capability and are excited for the possibilities,” concludes Psaras.