How outsourcing engineering to Enginuity is helping Geospectrum Technologies (GTI) meet and exceed its growth and innovation goals

When you outsource engineering, relationships are key.

Relationships matter, so when GeoSpectrum Technologies Inc.(GeoSpectrum) went looking for an engineering partner last February, they wanted more than talent — they wanted a company with similar values.

“We are growing at a tremendous pace and we’re challenged with the recruitment and management of all this growth,” says Ray Sampson, GeoSpectrum’s Vice President of Engineering and Operations. “Enginuity brings both management and engineering talent and they’ve been a really good fit.”

Dartmouth-based GeoSpectrum designs and manufactures integrated, end-to-end underwater acoustic transducers and systems for defense, security, and surveillance; they also serve the oil and gas industry; environmental and ocean research sectors. With more than two decades of designing and manufacturing hydrophones and sound projectors, as well as consulting on the integration and testing of acoustic systems, GeoSpectrum competes on the international stage.

“There’s huge alignment in the history and evolution of our companies,” explains Ben Garvey, Enginuity’s President. “Bruce Armstrong, GeoSpectrum’s founder, is still their secret weapon, the tech lead who designs the real secret sauce stuff. Both Bruce and I set a tone, a culture, and a goal, then get the hell out of the way and let our talented and skilled people do what they do best.”

Outsourcing to an engineering service provider helps you meet challenges.

“Enginuity is GeoSpectrum’s first major outside collaborator to provide more than turnkey solutions,” explains Enginuity’s James Dean-Moore, Program Manager for Industrial and Marine. “It’s a new kind of relationship for them, where the staff of both companies integrate into one team to address business and engineering challenges.”

“Our initial consulting relationship was in support of a business development initiative,” explains Enginuity’s Maayan Harel, Program Manager, Aerospace and Defense. “We helped them get to sea trials, which has pushed them to the next level. We approached that project very much with their goal in mind, supporting them to field prove their technology to drive new and bigger projects.”

Supply chain challenges mean that having a responsive, agile, and collaborative engineering partner close by is critical. Working with Enginuity offers GeoSpectrum a more embedded relationship with their suppliers and mitigates supply chain risks over time.

“We’re also workforce enhancement, a phone call away for everything they need. They can call us at 4 pm, tell us what they need, and get a quote the next day,” adds Harel. “We add the most value when we embed with the company and figure out what their challenges are and how to address them.”

This initial collaboration rapidly progressed from business development support consulting to small piece part and assembly work. This expanded to controls and mechanical implementations, and now incorporates research and development (R&D), and will go even further with end-to-end sea trial deployment on-site support and project management.

“This relationship was spawned from a dire need for controls for our systems,” says Sampson. “Enginuity stepped up to the plate and delivered excellent results. Right now, their talent can help us sell products. The long-term goal is to create win-win situations: As we continue to grow, we can help them grow, too.”

In an engineering partner, fit is key.

Megan Andrus manages GeoSpectrum’s marketing and communications. “Growing and keeping local talent in Nova Scotia is important to us. We look for other companies that share the same values and goals. There’s enough work to go around in our industry, and we don’t see ourselves as competitors. We consider ourselves a family at GeoSpectrum, and we know that Enginuity feels the same way.”

“Halifax is in competition with the rest of the world,” adds Sampson, “so we shouldn’t be tripping over each other here in Nova Scotia – we should be working together to put a product out there that the rest of the world needs.”

Garvey agrees. “Just finding other like-minded companies is fantastic. We need to back each other up and grow together. GeoSpectrum is competing with huge international companies. That’s inspiring to me, and tells me we’re doing something right.”

This shared focus on client value means a close working relationship, including more than a dozen Enginuity employees with GeoSpectrum employee badges working in the GeoSpectrum building in Burnside. Harel manages programs onsite in both locations.

“Our team members are embedded there and working with all aspects of their team directly,” he explains. “This speaks to the trust between the companies and the meshing of our organizations. This is much more than a consulting relationship.”

TRAPS geospectrum technologies inc

TRAPS (Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar)
Image source: Geospectrum Technologies

Sampson agrees. “This is not really about the confines of the two companies. When there’s need for different talent than you have in-house, when you can outsource that to someone local, you gain and share knowledge, you create job opportunities, and keep skills in Nova Scotia. All that is important to us.”

Since February 2021, Enginuity and GeoSpectrum have collaborated on 18 projects of various sizes, with more coming.

“There’s work for us that we can’t touch without Enginuity’s help,” says Sampson. “We hire some of their top talent to keep that work moving along. If we don’t continue to ramp up our relationship, we’ll leave that work on the table.”

“The relationship with GeoSpectrum has allowed Enginuity to jump into the sonar space and maritime engineering in a way we couldn’t before,” adds Harel. “Their projects are interdisciplinary and that has taught us to communicate better internally. This interdisciplinary piece is the next step in the evolution of Enginuity.”

The sky’s the limit.

As GeoSpectrum grows and is awarded more work, Enginuity will be there with expertise, talent in a difficult hiring market, supply chain security, strategic relationships, complete work packages, and the research capacity to produce top-notch products.

“Our goal is to be their main engineering support: electrical, mechanical, automation, and controls,” says Harel, “for any project that needs support, push, and extra bodies, as well as being their main supplier for winches and supporting systems.”

Dean-Moore sees this as a continuum of consulting work to design engineering work to R&D and even shared IP. “A big step was GeoSpectrum recognizing what Enginuity could do to enhance their R&D capacity. We fill in that step from problem to solution.” In the next couple of years, Enginuity is looking at designing new controllable equipment for GeoSpectrum’s winches, with the goal to design the entire winch system and solve a serious global supply challenge.

TRAPS-USV geospectrum technologies inc enginuity

TRAPS-USV (Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar)
Image source: Geospectrum Technologies

“I hope we have a long-term relationship with Enginuity,” says Sampson. “They’ll have turnkey solutions they want to sell to us, and I think we’ll continue to work together closely on emerging projects. I’d like to keep the development relationships going as well. They’ll have products they can supply to us — and offer the world.”

“These relationships and collaborations can be the strongest tools you have,” adds Garvey. “One company does not make an ecosystem. We need companies like GeoSpectrum in the region, who are willing to commit to long-term business relationships. The sky’s the limit for two culturally aligned companies with complementary skill sets. We can go anywhere together, and we hope to.”