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Drawing on extensive backgrounds, the OFI management team is working towards harnessing the vast potential of the world's ocean in a safe and sustainable manner. 

Executive

Scientific Director & CEO, Dalhousie University Associate Vice-President Research (Ocean)

Dr. Anya Waite

+1 902 494 1921

Dr. Waite was appointed Associate Vice-President Research (Ocean) of Dalhousie University and Scientific Director of Ocean Frontier Institute commencing Sept. 1, 2018. Previously, she served as Section Head of Polar Biological Oceanography at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven and as Professor of Oceanography in the Department of Biology at the University of Bremen.  


After completing a BSc in biology in 1985 Dalhousie, she obtained her PhD in 1992 in biological oceanography at the University of British Columbia. She then held postdoctoral positions at WHOI (USA) and the Victoria University (New Zealand). 


In 1997 Dr. Waite took a professorship at University of Western Australia in Perth, and was there for 17 years as a biological oceanographer. She was a research group leader in the Oceans Institute as well as teaching students in the Environmental Engineering program. Dr. Waite’s early work included participation in the first Southern Ocean iron fertilization experiment, SOIREE. After this, Dr. Waite’s work in the East Indian Ocean explored the dynamics of mesoscale eddies, the nitrogen cycle in oligotrophic systems and the biology of the spiny lobster larvae in Australian waters. Her current interests include nitrogen fluxes in polar oceans and particle dynamics in mesoscale eddies.


Dr. Waite is co-chair of the prestigious Global Ocean Observation System steering committee - the first woman at the head of this body since its creation in 2011. She also sits on the boards of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster and The Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR). She is on the Editorial Board of the international journal Limnology and Oceanography, co-chair of the SCOR Working Group on biological observation systems, “P-OBS” and was on the Steering Committee of the Southern Ocean Observation System (SOOS) from 2017-2020.


Earlier commitments included the Board of Directors of the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre ACE CRC in Hobart, Australia, the Norwegian Research Council Advisory Board, the Programme Advisory Group for the NERC Changing Arctic Ocean Research Programme, and the Board of Directors for the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. 

Associate Scientific Director

Dr. Paul Snelgrove

+1 709 864 3773

Dr. Snelgrove is a Professor of Biological Oceanography in the Department of Ocean Sciences and Biology Department at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Since 2008 he has served as Director of the NSERC Canadian Healthy Oceans Network, a research initiative that began in 2008 and brings together researchers in Canada from coast to coast.

In March 2020, he began an appointment as Departmental Science Advisor to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). From 2003 to 2013, he held a Canada Research Chair in Boreal and Cold Ocean Systems, and in 2012 he held the Knapp Visiting Chair at the University of San Diego. 

From 1996-2002 he held an NSERC Industrial Chair in Fisheries Conservation. In addition to publishing more than 100 research papers through his career, Dr. Snelgrove published the book “Discoveries of the Census of Marine Life: Making Ocean Life Count” with Cambridge University Press in 2010. DFO awarded him the Parsons Medal for Achievement in Interdisciplinary Ocean Sciences in Canada in 2013. In 2015, Memorial University awarded him the title; University Research Professor. Among his many awards and achievements, Dr. Snelgrove sits on numerous advisory boards in Canada and internationally and frequently participates in review panels and editorial boards.

Dr. Snelgrove received a BSc. Hons degree in Biology at Memorial in 1984, a Master's degree in Oceanography from McGill University in 1987 and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Biology Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1993. 

Kim Thomson

Chief Administrative Officer +1 902 223 3706

Ms Thomson has more than 20 years of experience as a senior administrator in both university and government sectors. Prior to joining OFI, she served as Chief of Staff to the Provost and Executive Director of the Provost’s Office at Dalhousie University where she was responsible for developing and implementing strategy to address priority initiatives, and for providing senior administrative leadership and oversight within the Provost’s complex portfolio. Prior to joining Dalhousie in 2001, Ms Thomson spent more than ten years at the Council of Maritime/Atlantic Premiers facilitating collaborative programming between the Maritime/Atlantic provinces, and between Eastern Canada and the New England States. She has also provided strategic and administrative leadership to numerous volunteer-based organizations. She has an MBA from Saint Mary’s University.

Catherine Blewett

Chief Strategic Engagement Officer +1 902 497 2381

Catherine Blewett comes to the OFI after a long and distinguished career in provincial and federal public service, most recently as Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Associate Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet. Since March 2019 she has been Canada’s representative for the international High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, a unique group of world leaders committed to developing, catalyzing, and supporting solutions for ocean health and wealth in policy, governance, technology, and finance.


Previous to her current position, she served as Canada’s Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans where she led on oceans for the G7 and achieved the country’s Mandate on Ocean Protection targets of 5 per cent by 2017. She also led the development and implementation of key fisheries legislation between June 2016 and December 2018.


From 1990 until her departure to Ottawa in 2016, she has held many increasingly senior positions in the Nova Scotia provincial government, most recently as Clerk of the Executive Council and Secretary to Cabinet, Government of Nova Scotia. Her previous portfolios included the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Citizenship and Immigration, Office of Aboriginal Affairs, and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Julie Rideout

Manager of Operations +1 709 864 7493

A former Chartered Professional Accountant, Ms. Rideout joined OFI after a nine-year career as a part of Memorial University’s Faculty of Science. An entrepreneur, she was formerly the owner-operator of four Subway franchises in St. John’s, NL. She recently completed her Bachelor of Education at Memorial University.

Richard Davis

Research Implementation Unit Manager + 1 902 494-2829

Mr. Davis coordinates the technical team formed by OFI to serve the oceanographic needs of OFI, Dalhousie and external partners. Mr. Davis has managed scientific projects within Dalhousie University for over 20 years, including expeditions from the Arctic to the Antarctic. He was the project manager for Canada’s first automated research buoy system installed in Lunenburg Bay as part of the Centre for Marine Environmental Prediction. For the last eight years he has managed the underwater glider program started by the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) and then enhanced by the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network of Centres of Excellence. He also is the technical team lead for MEOPAR’s Observation Core on the east coast.

Mr. Davis received his bachelor’s degree (honors) in aquatic biology from the University of Texas at Austin and his master’s degree in biological oceanography from the University of Texas with Dr. John Cullen as his supervisor. His research interests are primarily in bio-optical oceanography and phytoplankton physiology and ecology but of late has expanded to the use of marine robots to expand ocean observation.  

Hilary Harron

Director, Partnerships +1 902 989 7873

Dianne O'Leary

Administrative Secretary +1 709 864 3773

Angie Collez

Executive Assistant +1 902 494 8823

Khrista Jeffrey

Executive Assistant to the Scientific Director +1 902 494 3450

Mary Jane Webber

Communications Manager +1 902 219 1555

Michelle MacArthur

Finance Manager +1 902 494 4410

Dr. Carl Peters

Research & Transnational Projects Manager +1 902 999 3165

Since November 2019, Dr. Carl Peters manages the Large Research Projects, Seed Fund and Opportunities Fund research programs, as well as the International Postdoctoral Fellowship and Visiting Fellowship programs at the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI). Originally from Bremen, Germany, Dr. Peters has been in Halifax since 2017 and worked as a Mitacs-funded postdoc at Saint Mary’s University and the Offshore Energy Research Organization of Nova Scotia (OERA). Before moving to Atlantic Canada Dr. Peters did his PhD in Sydney, Australia, in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Macquarie University and worked as a researcher at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). His five-year stay Down Under followed studies in geochemistry and marine geosciences at the University of Bremen where he obtained his BSc and MSc, and worked in several marine research institutes, such as MARUM (Centre for Marine Environmental Sciences), the IODP (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program), and the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).

Sarah Al-Shaghay

RIU Operations Manager +1 902 494 4080

Ron Irwin

Collaboration Manager +1 902 237 2414

Mr. Irwin’s role is to provide support and advice to OFI institutional research partnerships including university, NGOs, and government partnerships, both domestic and abroad, including facilitating and tracking commitments and contributions. Additionally, he assists OFI researchers with access to opportunities available from partners (e.g. access to ship time, data sets, equipment, facilities etc.) and provides information and advice on sources of research funding, including supporting researchers in the development of grant funding proposals. Mr. Irwin hails from the UK and served as Head of the Europe Office, within the Research Contracts Office, at Imperial College London, and then as Head of the European Research Funding Office of King’s College London, prior to immigrating to Nova Scotia. In both universities he devised and implemented the approach to securing funds from the European Union’s Research Framework Programmes helping researchers to identify precise sources of funding for their research within the labyrinth that is the EU, then assisting with the preparation of some 5,000 proposals. Subsequently, he progressed and monitored over time the 2,000+ grants and contracts awarded, sitting on the project management committees for those projects coordinated by the University advising on such matters as contractual obligations, budgets, project governance, confidentiality, risk management, access to partner information for implementation of the project and use of results. Mr. Irwin holds a bachelor’s degree in Law (LL.B.) from the University of Glasgow where he specialized in European Community Law and the Law of International Institutions.

Curtis Martin

Projects & Communications Coordinator +1 778 679 3400

Simeon Roberts

Ocean Graduate Excellence Network (OGEN) Coordinator +1 902 312 1400

Bruce Batstone

Industry Partnership Manager +1 902 220 5281

Darrell Adams

Lead Mechanical/Electrical Technician +1 902 494 3946

Michael Vining

Mechanical/Electrical Technician +1 902 494 4081

Richard Cheel

Ocean Acoustic Specialist +1 902 442 2321

Alessi Kwawukume

Microbiome Sequencing Technician

Kate Patterson

Data Team Manager

Odum Idika

Assistant Ocean Data Manager

Katie Bosman

Marine Data Technologist, Geophysics

Tracey Woodhouse

Executive Assistant to the CAO and IMBeR +1 902 494 4088

Peter Fajner

Software Developer

Magda Waclawik

Time Series Manager