As a tenant that pre-dates the facility itself, LeeWay Marine has the unique claim of being one of the first companies to call COVE home.
Greg Veinott, Director of Operations for the company, remembers those humble beginnings. “We had vessels parked here before the building or parking lots were done. We were managing our ships around construction before the site was even developed.”
Since that time, Veinott has been a part of LeeWay Marine’s transition from a small traditional start-up to having a presence on the global stage.
The company was founded roughly six years ago by a team of ex-navy professionals who were newly retired or on the verge of retirement. Their goal was to start a company focusing on the emerging commercialization of technologies and hydrographic surveying, which remains a key component of LeeWay today.
The company now has 12 full-time staff in the office, with another 30-35 people on its five vessels operating throughout eastern and northern Canada, and the US.
“We’ve certainly seen some big growth recently,” said Veinott. “If it weren’t for COVE and the ability to have a space that was affordable and accessible early on in the company, it would have been really hard for us to get off the ground.”
The physical space is not the only way that LeeWay Marine has benefitted from tenancy at COVE. The company has taken a collaborative approach to building strong relationships with other tenants.
“Having those connections and being able to work with other companies here has helped us from a business development perspective cerebrally, but has also turned into actual dollars generated from contracts with those companies,” said Veinott.
While COVE has supported the creation of numerous developments in ocean tech, they have also helped to create something else: a culture. By supporting this community and opening the door to collaboration, Nova Scotia’s ocean tech sector is now growing as one like never before.
“If I go to a conference, I’m not just talking about what LeeWay is doing, I’m talking about the other Nova Scotian companies that are doing really cool things as well. We want to support those companies,” said Veinott. “Everybody wants to lift everybody else up, we’re all trying to go in the same direction. That sense of community is really helping us out, and it’s born out of this ecosystem and culture that’s being developed at COVE”
As companies like LeeWay Marine continue to grow, the Nova Scotia brand as a global ocean technology leader is growing along with it. From navigating rebar at a developing site to representing the region on the global stage, LeeWay is indicative of the success this culture has and continues to produce.