Navigating the Cape Cod Region’s Blue Economy

Dec 1, 2020 Profiles in Blue: Yuki Honjo

As a native Cape Codder, born and educated on Cape Cod and then farther afield, I feel that small marine technology companies such as McLane Research Laboratories have important responsibilities and roles in our local economy.

McLane Research Labs is an export-driven small manufacturing business on Cape Cod.

In fact, we’re very proud that McLane Research Laboratories, 2017 Small Business Exporter of the Year for the commonwealth of Massachusetts, is a global leader of in-situ time-series oceanographic profilers, samplers and flotation. McLane products help worldwide investigators achieve their research and scientific goals by providing advanced, cost-effective instrumentation. Our innovative instruments have been deployed in some of the most challenging aquatic environments on Earth. A leader in technology transfers in the field of oceanographic instrumentation, we commercialize the vision of the scientists from all over the world to products manufactured right here in Falmouth, which we then sell to an international academic customer base. While we are a small company, we maintain significant development, innovation, and commercialization capabilities—all here on Cape Cod.

McLane is able to innovate and build such oceanographic instruments because we are fortunate to be a member of the Cape Cod/Massachusetts community, a global center of excellence in ocean science. In addition, the Cape is also a hub for marine tech blue businesses that range from subsidiaries of multi-national, multimillion-dollar corporations to microbusinesses of a handful of people with a vision, and a garage. While we are at the smaller end of this scale, we certainly benefit from this collegial environment of like-minded professionals.

The Blue Economy is less visible compared with our beautiful beaches and restaurants, but it provides full-time jobs that are not seasonal, allows for career growth, job mobility, travel and creativity. We believe in investing in careers and people, and not just jobs in what is stereotypically considered a tourist economy. McLane remains committed to being a responsible employer that provides a place for local talent to flourish. Opportunity on Cape Cod is often like a broken ladder — rungs at the bottom and rungs at the top, but nothing in between. As a result, our greatest home-grown asset, youth and talent, often choose to go off Cape for a career, and may never return.

Not insignificant is the fact that Blue Economy jobs contribute positively to the extremely difficult problem of protecting our most precious resource, the ocean. Jobs in this sector are diverse—and they range from scientists, engineers, technicians, legal, technical writers, programmers, marketing, and finance. Often just having a love for the ocean and unending curiosity will get your foot in the door in the industry.

Because of the great team we have built at McLane, we are able to conduct our own long-term research and development programs, as well as work with scientists in diverse research projects. McLane’s commitment to its customers and their science is a core value, with emphasis on support, service, and training.

And finally, aside from the traffic at the bridges on summer Fridays, nothing beats living on Cape Cod.