Meet the Inventors
In the early 1970s, University of New Brunswick professor Doug Pincock set up a research laboratory to better understand and advance the science of underwater acoustics. Joining Doug was research student Fred Voegeli. Together they developed acoustic telemetry transmitters that could emit pings and when attached to aquatic animals, they could actively be tracked from a boat using a receiver and hydrophone. As word about this new technology spread throughout the scientific community, researchers began to ask where they could buy this revolutionary product. That’s when Doug encouraged Fred to commercialize the technology and from Fred’s basement in Shad Bay, Nova Scotia, VEMCO was born.
Meanwhile, Doug was winding down his professorial career and became co-founder and first director of the Applied Microelectronics Institute (now AMIRIX) in Halifax, Nova Scotia – a centre of microelectronics excellence dedicated to helping companies develop and market new products. Soon the former professor and the research student were working together once again with AMIRIX providing R&D services to VEMCO.
Fred continued to grow VEMCO by introducing groundbreaking products such as the VR60 active tracking receiver (now the VR100), coded transmitters with unique identifiers (another industry first) and the VR2 acoustic monitoring receiver which further revolutionized how researchers collected fish migration and behavior data. Doug continued to guide AMIRIX through several incarnations from not-for-profit to for-profit entities and in the process amassed a top notch R&D team.
By early 2000, Fred began to ponder retirement but also wanted to ensure VEMCO stayed in Nova Scotia. Enter AMIRIX which was keen to complement its design services offerings with a successful product line. To coin a cliche, it was a marriage made in heaven! And so the former professor and the research student had come full circle – from a small university research lab to a world class design and manufacturing facility with global reach.
Doug and Fred have since retired from the day-to-day company operations but still have a strong connection to the organization at the Board of Directors level, as Chairman and Board Member respectively. So they haven’t fully let “the babies” go. And we still love having the “parents” around.