Oceaneering International provides engineered services and hardware to customers who operate in marine, space, and other harsh environments. Customers come from the oil and gas, telecommunications, aerospace, and marine engineering and construction industries as well as government agencies.
Founded in 1964, Oceaneering has grown from an air and mixed gas diving business in the Gulf of Mexico to a diversified organization operating around the world. Today, its activities include ROVs, mobile offshore production systems, built-to-order specialty hardware, engineering and project management, subsea intervention and installation services, non-destructive testing and inspections, and manned diving. The company has been involved in many high-profile projects, from recovery efforts for TWA flight 800 and the space shuttle Challenger to Universal Studios attractions such as the Jaws and Jurassic Park rides.
"Oceaneering has operations in nineteen countries and employs about 3,500 people"
Oceaneering has operations in nineteen countries and employs about 3,500 people. With such a widespread and diverse employee base, generalizations are difficult, but if one quality or skill stands out among Oceaneering technicians, it’s a good grasp of electronics.
“The technicians we look for are those who have in-depth electronics training that we can use for the across-the-board systems we build and operate for our clients,” says John Peterson, manager, deepwater technology development for Oceaneering’s Intervention Engineering Group. “And as technology increases in complexity and importance, the necessary skill level of those employees increases proportionally.”
Oceaneering expects a solid knowledge and skill base from new hires, so that its in-house training can focus on the bigger picture – teaching technicians the various systems and how they integrate with each other. For example, this might involve integrating a sonar assembly into an ROV and handling the transmission of data between the ROV and the surface ship. The firm’s technicians take care of the entire system they work on – from plugging in the power to trouble-shooting and working at the component level on a printed circuit board.
In addition to a strong background in electronics, Oceaneering looks for other skills and qualities. For example, hydraulics expertise is also important, although somewhat less so than electronics. “We find that it’s easier to train an electronics technician in hydraulics than the other way around,” says Peterson. Interpersonal skills and the ability to work as a team are also characteristics that Oceaneering values highly.
For the right individual, this field can offer an exciting and rewarding career. “Oceaneering offers many opportunities across a wide spectrum of marine-related occupations,” says Peterson. “It’s hard work, but it’s fulfilling – from both a financial as well as a psychological standpoint. And this is a very unique community.”
"Oceaneering offers many opportunities across a wide spectrum of marine-related occupations. It’s hard work, but it’s fulfilling"
A Solid MATE Supporter
John Peterson has worked with the MATE Center as a member of its National Visiting (advisory) Committee, since the outset. “I first got involved because I realized that there was a shortage of qualified technicians. There are jobs for skilled technicians, if students chose to pursue these career paths,” Peterson explains. “I was excited about a program that could turn on community colleges to this market, especially if they adopted more of a trade school philosophy in their technician training programs.”
Credit also goes to Oceaneering’s Dick Frisbie, senior vice president, Deepwater Technologies, who supported numerous Oceaneering contributions to the MATE Center including the donation of a work-class ROV system, funding and contributions in kind to the Center’s ROV competition, and participation in MATE’s internship program.
The recent national student ROV competition (see p. X) is an excellent example of Oceaneering’s contributions helping a MATE event to succeed. Four of the eight judges were Oceaneering International employees, and the company was an overall competition sponsor.
“It’s been a tremendous experience for the company,” says Bryce Merrill, recruiting/ operations manager, who acted as a judge. “We’ve had incredible exposure – through our display in the Kennedy Space Center’s IMAX theater, the upcoming Discovery Channel program (see article, p. X), and participation with the Link Symposium. We’ve also enjoyed the opportunity of working directly with a group of talented students, who represent our future work force.”
With Oceaneering and other offshore companies recognizing and participating in MATE events like the ROV competition, marine technology education will continue to progress. When that happens, companies like Oceaneering will gain the benefits of the trend: with 3,500 employees worldwide, the company’s need for savvy technicians isn’t going to diminish.
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