Friday, July 16, 2010


In the world of ROV designers and operators it's not uncommon to spend more than 120 days a year at sea. If you were in this line of work for 25 years, that would be a full 8 years of your life away from all things home. That's 8 years of working, eating, drinking, bunking, partying, consoling, being consoled, fighting, laughing and just plain living with the people you work with. It is not a wonder then, that the staff from the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility are such a tight knit group. To a person, each operator and navigator for ROPOS (Remotely Operated Platform for Ocean Science), feels that while they are contracted out to perform specific functions (in our case scientific research), the lasting bond they have created with each other feels more like a family one than a work one.

We've asked to profile one of the ROPOS operators to get a sense of how one chooses this interesting and exciting career path. Below is my "blogger"view with Reuben Mills, a 33 year old self confirmed "big personality" and Mechanical Engineer with the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility (CSSF), born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and currently residing in Victoria, British Columbia:

Blogger: "What did you want to be when you were a little kid?"

Reuben: "I don't know really. I liked hockey, played a lot but I knew that was not what I wanted to do. Well, I guess I always had an interest in building things as a kid, you know, knowing how things work, how they are designed, I always thought that was cool."

Blogger: "Where did you go to school?"

Reuben: "I went to school at Camosun College in Victoria. Actually, when I was going to school, I went to the CSSF to get some information on how to design Remotely Operated Vehicles because I was making one for a design class. After my visit, Keith Shepard (General Manager, CSSF) said I should come back after I finish school for a job".

Blogger: "So, what happened then?"

Reuben: "I didn't go back and I spent some time working in the commercial fishing industry out west, fishing tuna, herring, etc. I kind of lost my taste for it and decided to head south to work on some ships. It just was not what I wanted, so when I was on leave in 2005 I called Keith at CSSF and was offered a job nearly on the spot. Well, Keith did ask for a resume, but I started not long after that. It was great timing because they were doing a complete rebuild on ROPOS."

Blogger: "Where is the coolest place you've worked with ROPOS?"

Reuben: "Well, the furthest away I've worked is NZ and Fiji, but I love the east coast of Canada too. Really, every place we go has something to offer, its pretty diverse work."

Blogger: "Do you ever hope to do anything else for a career?"

Reuben: "Not really, I love my job, the guys I work with are great. This is the tightest knit group of guys I've ever worked with. It's amazing every day to work with your closest friends. We really are more like family."

Blogger: "What do you do in your down time?"

Reuben: "I work mostly. I'm constantly designing and fabricating things for CSSF and Highland Technologies clients. It's what I like to do. When I'm not working I'm usually haning out with my dog Buddy or kite boarding."

Reuben, Ray Morgan, Dan Cormany Vince (Vin/Vinnie) Auger, Steve Bucklew, Keith (Big) Tamburri, Jonathan Lee, Ian Murdock are all members of the ROPOS crew and have been intimately involved with pre-cruise planning and implementation of the mission plan. For more information on the CSSF click here.

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