The association that represents Nova Scotia’s offshore petroleum supply and services industry has chosen the founder of one of Atlantic Canada’s premier safety training companies as its Petroleum Pioneer for 2008.
Entrepreneur and former Canadian Air Force pilot, Albert Bohemier founded Dartmouth-based Survival Systems Limited in 1982 after surviving a helicopter crash while working for a commercial helicopter operator in the remote Labrador wilderness in June, 1981. His company has a single stated purpose; to “Enhance and preserve workers’ lives through safety education, training technologies, and applied research and development.”
Mr. Bohemier strongly promoted the establishment of international standards for helicopter underwater escape training for aircrews and passengers, vastly improving the chances for civilian and military personnel to survive ditching accidents. Driven by his direction and design, ditching simulators and associated training hardware have reached a state of excellence. He has also participated in and co-authored numerous research projects that have led to the refinement of safety procedures and adaptation of specific safety equipment for training.
Survival Systems has achieved a highly regarded international reputation for consistent, high quality safety training programs, products, and services. The development of these training programs and products is based on the belief that truly realistic training leads to greater safety in the workplace and an increased ability to manage an emergency, or survive a catastrophe.
The company’s continued exploration of safety issues through its focus on technology and R&D will ensure its profile remains at the forefront of the global ditching training industry.
Created to provide safety and survival training to the offshore industry, Nova Scotia based Survival Systems Limited expanded its training to support the military, marine, and industrial sectors. Frustrated with the training simulators available, Mr. Bohemier worked with local engineers to develop the prototype for the Modular Egress Training Simulator (METS™); which is the cornerstone of Survival Systems’ line of training simulators. In 1999, to more focus on technological innovation and R&D, Mr. Bohemier sold controlling interest of his training company to senior manager, John Swain. This separately owned training organization continues to work with Mr. Bohemier to foster and engage his vision as a training force today.
Survival Systems Limited currently employs 28 people in its Dartmouth location and has exported its products and training programs to 40+ countries. Through use of its acclaimed Modular Egress Training Simulator (METS™), it is estimated that between 400,000 students have been trained, undergoing approximately two million training sequences in total.
In 1998, the company expanded with the opening of Survival Systems USA, Inc. in Connecticut. The US Company employs just under 100 people around the world. While the headquarters and commercial training center continue being located in Groton, CT, the company also operates four centers for the US Marine Corps. These centers are based out of Japan, Hawaii, California, and North Carolina. Additional project support is provided by the Alabama office, and the company has recently begun operations in Alaska, with the petroleum industry. In addition to the training centers, Survival Systems USA, Inc. has contracted and completed installation at six of the eight US Navy Aviation Survival Training Centers, with the final two locations scheduled for this year. The highlight of the company this past year was the successful contract bid for the United States Special Operations Command in the delivery of a turnkey training solution, representative of the Survival Training Simulation Theater and training equipment currently in place in Dartmouth.
Survival Systems and Mr. Bohemier have each received numerous other prestigious awards in Canada and abroad, including Canada Export Awards in 1995 and 2000; Provincial Export Awards in 1993, 1994, 1998, and 2004; Entrepreneur of the Year in 1995; and the Order of Preventionist Merit in 1999 from the National Safety Association of Brazil.
“Mr. Bohemier and Survival Systems have made a huge contribution to offshore petroleum industry worldwide. Offshore workers across the globe have been able to perform their jobs and return home safely because of the techniques developed and perfected in Nova Scotia by Survival Systems," said Barry Clouter, Regional Director - Americas for CHC Helicopters, and Chair of the CORE Conference for 2008.
"From a CHC perspective, we do all of our training with Survival Systems, and have always found them to be very professional and experts at what they do. The company is a model for both safety and business success,” added Mr. Clouter.
Mr. Bohemier is also committed to his community, and has served on the advisory board of the Nova Scotia Community College Aviation Technology Commercial Pilot Program, and as the co-president of the organization to promote economic growth for francophone minorities in English provinces and Anglophone minorities in French provinces.
The Petroleum Pioneer Dinner to honour Mr. Bohemier's will be held in Halifax on October 7.