Uniting ONC behind a common vision and a shared passion for ocean science, innovation and sustainability.
Kathryn Moran, PhD
President and CEO

Kate Moran is the President & CEO of Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), a position she has held since 2012. She first joined the University of Victoria in September 2011 as a professor in the Faculty of Science and as Director of NEPTUNE Canada. Her previous appointment was Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Rhode Island. From 2009 to 2011, Moran was seconded to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where she served as an Assistant Director and focused on Arctic, polar, ocean, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and climate policy issues. She is active in public outreach on topics related to the Arctic, ocean observing, and climate change. Professor Moran co-led the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program’s Arctic Coring Expedition which successfully recovered the first paleoclimate record from the Arctic Ocean. She also led one of the first offshore expeditions to investigate the seafloor following the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Professor Moran is a registered professional engineer, an Officer of the Order of Canada, a fellow of the Canadian Society of Senior Engineers, and was selected as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow for the class of 2022.

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Sandy Bligh
Chief Finance Officer

As Chief Finance Officer Sandy is responsible for the oversight of ONC’s finances, including financial administration, budget planning, cash flow, financial statements, audits and supervision of the finance team. She is involved in developing and ensuring the long-term financial health of ONC, including financial risk and leadership of financial strategy. Sandy has experience working for the private sector construction industry in accounting and controller positions before joining the University of Victoria as the Director of Research Accounting. She has volunteered with national university organizations including CARA (Canadian Association of Research Administrators) and CAUBO (Canadian Association of University Business Officers). In 2019 she took on a partial term secondment with CAUBO to liaise with the Canadian research universities, assisting with the Canadian Tri-Agency (NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR) shift to a principles-based approach for the financial administration of research grants. The other half of the secondment was working with ONC and in July 2019 she joined ONC as the CFO. Sandy has a CPA CMA accounting designation, a BA Honours with distinction and an MA in Art History. In 2008 she was awarded the President’s Distinguished Service Award for her work in Research Accounting.

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Dirk Brussow
Director, Observatory Physical Operations

As part of the operations group at Ocean Networks, Dirk is involved with mechanical design of observatory infrastructure, as well as instrument preparation and maintenance. He completed a technology diploma in mechanical engineering at Camosun College followed by a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Victoria. Dirk started with ONC as a coop student and became full time after graduating from his degree.

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Daniela Loock, PhD
Director, Corporate Services

Daniela leads ONC's Corporate Operations, Communications, and Learning & Community Engagement Divisions. Prior to joining ONC in 2020, Daniela was the Associate Director of the Environmental Sciences Group at the Royal Military College. She holds a PhD in chemistry (University of Victoria) and an undergraduate degree in Engineering Chemistry (Technical University Darmstadt, Germany).

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Meghan Paulson
Director, Observatory Digital Operations

As Director of Observatory Digital Operations, Meghan leads the teams (Data Teams, Data Stewardship, Systems, Software Development) that ensure accessibility—for researchers and the public alike—to all data being produced from ONC and partner observatories. This is accomplished through continuous monitoring and improvement to the overall observatory network, qualifying and archiving data according to best practices in research data management, assessing the quality control of data being produced, and creating data products to support researchers in visualizing and interpreting data. Prior to joining ONC in 2020, Meghan spent over 20 years working in the energy industry in engineering and management roles for onshore and offshore projects in the US and internationally. Additionally, Meghan has been involved in scientific drilling expeditions including the Ocean Drilling Program and the Lake Malawi Drilling Project. Meghan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Dalhousie University and a Master of Science in Ocean Engineering from the University of Rhode Island.

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Benoît Pirenne
Director, User Engagement

Benoît Pirenne is Ocean Networks Canada’s Director, User Engagement. He joined the University of Victoria in October 2004 to build the Data Management and Archiving System for the NEPTUNE Canada and VENUS observatories. The division he directs consists of four departments: Science Services, Applied Science Solutions, the Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System — Pacific Regional Association, and the World Data System — International Technology Office. Previously, Benoît spent 18 years at the European Southern Observatory (ESO, Munich, Germany), a leading Organization for astronomical research. At ESO Benoît assumed a number of scientific and technical positions. As Head of the Operations Technical Support Department in this Organization, he was responsible for running the data management and archiving system supporting both ESO's telescopes and the NASA/ESA's Hubble Space Telescope. Benoît earned a B.CSc. from Liège, Belgium, and a M.CSc. from the University of Namur, Belgium.

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Ben Biffard, PhD
Associate Director, Software Development

As Associate Director, Software Development, Ben leads the continuing development of Oceans 3.0, supporting all of ONC's strategic goals enabled by software. Ben grew up on the Salish Sea and has a natural interest in the exploration of the Ocean. Ben joined ONC in 2012 as a scientific programmer, moving to the role of senior scientific programmer in 2014 where he led the development and integration of data products into Oceans 3.0. With a PhD in Geophysics from the University of Victoria, Ben has brought his unique perspective and skill set to constantly and consistently make Oceans 3.0 data more accessible and digestible to a wide variety of users. He is passionate about acoustics and has worked to develop ONC's suite of hydrophone data products, the HydroCal hydrophone calibration system as well as comprehensive software suites for processing active acoustic data, such as ADCP (Acoustic Dopper Current Profilers) and echosounder data. Ben has also contributed to a wide variety of publications and presented technical papers at many conferences on behalf of ONC.

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Sabrena Dorris
Associate Director, Corporate Operations

Sabrena joins ONC with 10+ years’ experience working as a strategic operations professional, providing leadership for a broad range of business functions, including HR, operations, administration, and social responsibility. Sabrena comes to ONC from the Hamilton Family Health Team, the largest in Ontario, where she provided Operations, Administration, & HR leadership. She’s also been a project manager at McMaster University co-leading a research project and developing a needs assessment strategy for family physicians in Hamilton. Sabrena has also worked in corporate sales support for Franklin Covey Canada Ltd.

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Maia Hoeberechts, PhD
Associate Director, Learning and Community Engagement

Dr. Maia Hoeberechts manages the Learning & Community Engagement teams, which are together responsible for creating products and services which meet the needs of the scientific, educational and broader user communities. Maia joined Ocean Networks Canada in 2010 as the Staff Scientist for Computer Science and Engineering, a role which she held for three years before assuming her current position. She continues her research involvement as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Victoria focusing on interdisciplinary connections between ocean science and computer science, principally in the areas of computer vision, data analytics and scientific visualization. Before joining Ocean Networks Canada, Maia worked as the project manager on an interdisciplinary research project at Western University to develop and market an emotionally adaptive computer music composition engine. Maia holds a PhD in Computer Science in the area of computability theory and a BSc in Philosophy and Computer Science from Western University.

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Gordon Rees
Associate Director, Applied Science Solutions

Gord has 25 years of solution delivery experience involving large-scale enterprise solution development, deployment and sustainment in the government, health, financial, retail, transportation and manufacturing sectors. After receiving a B.Sc. in Computer Science from UVic, Gord worked internationally for several years before returning to Canada where he worked for organizations such as BCFC and IBM in product development and management roles. Most recently, he held the position of Senior VP Client Services for an international company headquartered in Washington, DC that specialized in providing enterprise-level solutions encompassing data collection, content management, workflow and business intelligence components.

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Jessica Stigant
Associate Director, Government Relations and Partnerships

Jessica is ONC’s Associate Director, Government Relations and Partnerships. Since 2012, Jessica has engaged with external stakeholders, including government and industry partners, NGOs, Indigenous communities, and potential donors. From her experience, successful and mutually beneficial partnerships are a result of practiced and respectful interactions between stakeholders. Before joining ONC, Jessica worked for seven years at BC’s premier retirement community as the Marketing and Communications Manager. Jessica earned her Bachelor of Business Commerce at Royal Roads University, with a Diploma in Business Marketing Management at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. She has a Diploma in Culinary Arts from Vancouver Island University.

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