VideoRays "VIPS" microROV conference concluded November 8th. Held every year in the Fall, this year's conference was the biggest and best yet, attracting over 100 delegates from around the world. Attendees we able to hear presentations from industry experts each morning, then test new microROV accessories and developments in a variety of water conditions in the afternoon. Classes and training sessions involving VideoRay maintenance, ROV driving, searching, and retrieval skills, and sonar and positioning system operation were conducted. A number of well known diving and ROV driving celebrities were in attendance, including John Chatterton.
At a special awards dinner on Tuesday night, the following annual awards were presented:
2007 VIPS AWARDS
1. Highest Overall Sales: Atlantas Marine
Atlantas Marine (http://www.atlantasmarine.com) have been VideoRay dealers in the southern part of the UK for several years, and have won the award for highest VideoRay sales for five out of the last six years. Their dedication to customer support, and the fact that they find and deliver the best VideoRay ROVs and accessories, is self evident from their success.
2. Best Sales & Marketing Performance: Mecco
Mecco, Inc. (http://www.meccoinc.com) are a premier marketing and equipment consultants to the marine community in the Northwest, California, Alaska, Hawaii and Western Canada. Their dedication to the success of their customers begins when they first discuss a solution, and never ends. They have had particular success local law enforcement and port security applications.
3. Marcus Kolb - Best New Technology: KCF Technologies
The innovative "Smart Tether" technology that KCF (http://www.kcftech.com) has developed and is bringing to market may well change the way we all think about positioning systems. Based strictly on the position and orientation of the tether, it is unaffected by acoustic issues and requires no additional equipment in the water. This solution's first public demonstration was at VIPS, and it was very well received.
4. Best Mission - Rachael Miller, Stormboarding - Lake Champlain Shipwrecks
Rachael's company (http://www.shipwrecktour.com) provides a whole new way for the average tourist to appreciate the underwater treasures of Lake Champlain. Through the use of VideoRays and her specially equipped tour boat, she allows her guests to experience the thrill of underwater discovery without the inconvenience - and dangers - of diving in the frigid water.
5. Best Gadget - Tim Rackham, Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC)
As with all UK councils, employees of BCC employees need to do more work with less funding and time. Tim Rackham's work - chronicled in the Council's Risky Business newsletter on pages 3 and 4 - shows how VideoRay paid for itself in the first 4 weeks of operation. Tim's innovative low cost accessories were key to BCC's success in bridge and structure inspection.
6. Best News Story - Carl Shipley - USCG MSST 91110 - Minot Lighthouse
In June, the US Coast Guard launched an expedition to investigate and preserve the wreckage of the Minot Light lighthouse in Cohasset, Massachusetts. There were several divers and one VideoRay searching for the remains. The actual foundation was discovered by Shipley using his unit's Pro 3 GTO VideoRay on the third day of the search. The entire story is on the VideoRay web site http://www.videoray.com/Press_Room/USCG_minots-lh_092507.htm.
7. VideoRay Skills Competition - Brian Simic, US Navy, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & IMF
For the second year in a row, the VideoRay skills competition was won by a US Navy representative from the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (http://www.phnsy.navy.mil) . This is a testament to the skill and dedication of the unit, and the large number of VideoRays at Pearl, and their frequent role in ship hull and infrastructure inspection.
8. VideoRay Underwater Survivor Award - Chris Olstad, MRDF
After his near-fatal shark attack, Marine Resources Foundation (http://www.mrdf.org) Underseas Laboratory Operations Director Chris Olstad seems to have more concern for the shark than himself. "I certainly don't blame the shark" he said in his talk accepting this new and probably infrequent award. Chris' pioneering distance learning work, which allows students to use the internet to drive the VideoRay in the MRDF lagoon, will now be done with Chris' newly awarded personal VideoRay.