By Keith Norbury

ShipConstructor Software Inc. traces its history back to the late 1980s when Doug Blake of Alberni Engineering and Shipping approached Doug Dark, who was a consultant in computer assisted design and computer assisted manufacturing (CADCAM) with the National Research Council, about the applicability of using this technology in ship design and construction.

That led them to contact the University of Victoria’s engineering department. Rolf Oetter, who was originally from Germany, became involved in what became ShipConstructor while studying for a master’s degree at University of Victoria in the late 1980s. In collaboration with UVic researchers, such as Mechanical Engineering Professor Geoff W. Vickers and PhD student Sanjeve Bedi, as well as Mr. Dark, Mr. Oetter developed early versions of ship production software capable of working on a personal computer. Mr. Oetter had grown up around shipbuilding and had earned a master’s degree in engineering, specializing in automation and design from University of Berlin in 1984. While at UVic he realized the business potential and along with Mr. Dark, Professor Vickers, and Mr. Blake, they founded

Albacore Research Ltd., which became ShipConstructor.

“Aside from his considerable contribution in the lab to the programming and engineering, I would say he is 70 per cent responsible for taking what was developed and making something out of it,” Mr. Dark said in a backgrounder provided by the company.