Kevin Deeming

Physical Oceanography, 1969

In July 2016, Kevin Deeming (Physical Oceanography, 1969) was awarded Bangor University’s Alumnus of the Year 2016. Kevin sits on the board of the School of Ocean Sciences Alumni Association (SOSA) and is the Editor of The Bridge, the School of Ocean Sciences (SOS) newsletter. He strongly believes in giving back and is a generous supporter of the School of Ocean Sciences, by giving his time to support SOS activities, and by funding four annual MSc scholarships for the School.

"I have a confession to make: Yr wyf mewn cariad â Chymru – I am in love with Wales.  It all started when I read for a degree in Physics at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.  I then compounded the problem by falling head over heels for a girl from North Wales, Jennifer Vaughan from Abergele, who was studying Agriculture at Aber.  After three years lecturing in maths and physics in Zambia, Wales again seduced me back to do a Masters in Physical Oceanography in 1968 at the then Marine Science Laboratories, Bangor (now the School of Ocean Sciences, SOS).  And, over the years, the love affair has continued with our many visits to North and Central Wales.

My Professor was Jack Darbyshire – a great oceanographer and Welshman.  A young John Simpson, later Professor of Oceanography and Head of School, had been there for just over a year.  Those were heady days.  The Department was just establishing itself in the wake of an expanding marine biology department under the direction of the famous Professor Denis Crisp FRS.  All staff and post-graduate students had their coffee breaks together and socialised together.  Biologists, oceanographers, and geoscientists rubbed shoulders with each other and, it is my belief, the science benefited enormously from the cross-fertilisation of ideas and interdisciplinary interactions.

My MSc dissertation was a study of the sand distributions in the bed forms across Traeth Gwyllt, a sand bank in the western end of the Menai Strait.  Working with a colleague from the Navy, Dave Newing, we hired a small boat to do the work.  After each day’s fieldwork we disembarked to the Mermaid pub (sadly, no longer there) to discuss the results!  Happy times.

Following my Masters, I undertook two year’s research in Jamaica.  But the siren of Wales eventually pulled me back to Bangor to form Marine Investigations and Services Ltd with a colleague, Tony Heathershaw.  Based in Bangor High Street, many students from the Laboratories did full or part-time work for the company.  The nascent offshore industries needed information on ‘the impacts by the environment’ -- waves, winds, tides, currents, sea-bed conditions -- to explore for and exploit successfully the hydrocarbons, minerals and food lying within our seas and oceans.  Physical oceanography and geoscience were to the fore. 

Eventually I found myself on a much broader stage, leaving Wales and settling in southern England; firstly, as a Senior Manager for a large international marine survey company and, then, in 1983, forming my own company again, Metoc plc.  Providing project management and advice in the ocean science and engineering worldwide, we operated in areas such as oil & gas, offshore renewable energy, the coastal water industry, and submarine power cables.  When I retired in 2010, Metoc had grown to nearly 100 full and part-time staff, based in Hampshire, Cardiff and Dundee.

Our seas and oceans form the major part of the Earth’s surface and much remains to be understood about them.  Never have they had so much potential to satisfy our food, energy, and emotional needs.  Never have they been under so much stress and pressure.  For young women and men today, the marine sciences can provide a hugely rewarding career in life.

To support young people in achieving this, I have helped to create four annual MSc scholarships for the School of Ocean Sciences over the next five years.  Each year there will be one for physical oceanography, one for marine geoscience, and two for marine biology.  They will be called the Nautilus Scholarships and be open to any graduate in the UK or overseas.

Bangor University provided me with an excellent grounding in oceanography and some of the best years of my life. This experience led me into a world, which was stimulating, exciting and intellectually demanding.  It has been tough at times but I have been lucky.  I feel that now is the time for me to invest some of my good luck back to the future."

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