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Associated Alumni

UNB alumnus gets Kraken on robots

Greg Reid figured it was time to get Kraken.

The graduate of UNB Fredericton’s business program – and former goaltender with the men’s hockey team – left the university in 1994 with his business degree in accounting.

Twenty-five years later, he is chief operating officer of St. John’s, N.L.-based Kraken Robotics, a marine technology firm that specializes in making sensors for unmanned underwater vehicles.

“I was always interested in the investment business, but living in New Brunswick, it meant the opportunities in the finance-investment business were limited unless you wanted to be a retail broker,” he says.

Greg worked with the local offices of Deloitte Canada, where he became a chartered accountant. He branched into the investment business for three years with the New Brunswick Investment Management Corporation – now Vestcor – as a trader and research analyst, before moving to Toronto and becoming a technology analyst on Bay Street.

Ten years after he first made the acquaintance of fellow Newfoundlander Karl Kenny, the two connected again. Karl was looking for a chief financial officer for his company, Kraken Robotics.

Greg joined the company in 2015, and took over as COO in July 2019. Another UNB grad, Joe McKay (BBA’92), replaced him as CFO.

Kraken – named after a mythological sea monster of Scandinavian folklore –​​​​​​​ originally dealt in sonar sensors that were attached to underwater apparatuses. They’ve also hired scientists in Germany to develop laser technology. 

The company announced a $500,000 contract earlier this week in which their laser technology will be attached to two Parks Canada vessels. Greg expects to deliver its 3D laser imaging services to the federal agency’s Underwater Archaeology Team (UAT) this fall, according to a media release.

Parks Canada and Greg plan to test the technology at a variety of archaeologically significant sites, including the Arctic resting places of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, the previously lost ships of the legendary Franklin Expedition. Greg had also been involved in Parks Canada’s discovery of the Erebus in 2014.

“It’s an interesting business,” said Greg. “It’s niche. But we often hear interesting stories.”

He added that, he “doesn’t need a ton,” of scientific knowledge in his job. “But I ask a lot of questions and we have a ton of smart engineering folks around us.”

Day to day, he’s a “jack of all trades” –​​​​​​​ overseeing the operational activities of the company, “just to make sure everything is moving along.” 

“I have my fingers in all the pies,” he says. “Of our 100 people, we have 10 or 11 PhDs. Lots of people know about outer space and such. But putting something to the bottom of the ocean and having it come back with a lot of data and respond the way it’s supposed to is very challenging.”

(This story appeared in the Fredericton Daily Gleaner (Print Edition) on January 10, 2020 and has been reprinted with permission from Telegraph-Journal News. Some content edits were to adhere to UNB style guidelines.)