Science Honours our 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

By Jody Kitts

David Hannay and Roberto Racca with Dean LipsonIn the early 1990s both Hannay and Racca worked as researchers for JASCO, then a small Victoria-based company that specialized in scientific consulting to a local Department of National Defence laboratory focused on ocean acoustics for anti-submarine applications. They took over the leadership and bought out the company in 2000, changing the focus from defence-related acoustics to environmental marine noise monitoring, modelling and mitigation. This proved to be an astute move. Starting in the late 1990s, scientific understanding and concern about potential harm to marine environments from human activities such as oil and gas exploration, marine construction, and shipping underwent a rapid increase globally.

Under their guidance, JASCO became an international leader in ocean sciences, growing to about 75 employees with branches in several countries. The company expanded its activities to include manufacturing industry‑leading marine instrumentation as a complement to providing expert research/consulting services in marine acoustics. JASCO’s instruments are now used worldwide, and are prominently featured on local marine observatories including through a collaboration with Ocean Networks Canada at UVic.