Triton Elics International (TEI) is a global leader in the architecture of large data acquisition systems and complex systems integrations for seafloor imaging. From offices in Watsonville, California and Paris, France, TEI offers integrated solutions for data acquisition and image processing of side scan sonar, multibeam, sub-bottom profiler, laser line scan, and ancillary systems.
“Our main focus is developing software that interfaces with underwater sensors,” explains François Leroy, TEI’s Vice President of Business and Finance. “But because the software is used in the harsh marine environment, we also manufacture specially-designed hardware that can work at sea.”
"TEI offers integrated solutions for data acquisition and image processing of side scan sonar, multibeam, sub-bottom profiler, laser line scan, and ancillary systems"
A glance at the company’s employee roster indicates the importance of marine technicians at TEI. Of the company’s thirty employees, two-thirds are technicians. These positions fall into three categories: field engineers, survey training and project managers, and software engineers. “Field engineers support the installation and integration of our products; they work in-house testing and verifying equipment and then go with the equipment out on the boat, to install it and make sure it functions properly,” Leroy explains.
Survey training and project managers help customers design projects. For example, they help determine which equipment best suits customers’ needs and what accuracy and resolution they need. These technicians also perform integration and testing and provide training.
“Our software engineers all have a marine background,” Leroy explains. “They understand the use of underwater sensor equipment and understand the physics and math of acoustic sounds underwater. Their role is to develop software that translates all those algorithms into a functional piece of equipment.”
When looking for technicians to hire, TEI is less concerned about a specific degree than hands-on experience. “We look for people who have direct experience with the equipment – who can manipulate side scan sonars or sub-bottom profilers, and who understand the concepts of GPS and surveying, for example,” Leroy emphasizes.
Even the sales team must have a high level of technical knowledge and a good understanding of the industry. “Our customers are highly educated in the industry products, so we want employees who are as knowledgeable, or more so,” he says.
"The development of computer technology means that the skill level of the technicians involved in the marine field is getting much higher"
The development of computer technology means that the skill level of the technicians involved in the marine field is getting much higher, according to Leroy. “They have to be more able to grasp different technologies and different analysis tools, and be more productive on the boat,” he believes.
TEI has helped the MATE Center’s efforts to educate technicians to keep up with this changing field. It helped to select participants for a hydrographic survey technicians workshop in March 1999 and loaned equipment for a MATE display at the National Ocean Conference in June 1999. The Center and its partners are working to return the favor – developing training programs that will produce technicians to fill vacant positions at TEI and other companies.
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