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The trailblazing naval architect

Sue Molloy, BEng 98
By Charlie Fidelman

“I never ever felt like a 'female' engineer with (male professors). I never felt I had anything to make up for.”

A childhood love of sailing led Sue Molloy to study floating devices “to bring boats back into my life.” Armed with a PhD in engineering and now based in Halifax, Molloy anchored her knowledge of leading-edge technology in ocean-based, environmentally responsible projects.

Naval architect, painter, water-power technology expert, entrepreneur, president and CEO of Glas Ocean Electric, Molloy is also a consultant, researcher and adjunct professor at both Dalhousie University and the University of Manitoba.

Honoured for her leadership in marine renewables, Molloy is keen on carbon-footprint reduction — from harnessing tidal power to converting diesel boats to electricity. The latter led to Glas Ocean Electric earning a Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence in Engineering in April 2021.

Proudest moment

“Delivering the first boat approved by the Transport Canada MTRB (Marine Technical Review Board) to use lithium-ion-power to carry more than 12 people. Partnering with local Indigenous communities, it’s more than a technical achievement. We ended up with this beautiful boat painted by Mi'kmaq artist Alan Syliboy. We have a real opportunity to make a big dent in our emissions and do something good for society.”

Clients include

Canadian Space Agency, Nova Scotia Power and Transport Canada.

Career hurdle

“Sexism in a male-dominated field.”

Inspiring professor

“Both Suong V. Hoa and Subhash Rakheja were critical. I don’t think I would have been successful without their support. I never ever felt like a 'female' engineer with them. I never felt I had anything to make up for.”

Concordia’s path to success

“My final-year project was a scaled, three-foot-model of a boat with a carbon fibre mast. Concordia provided critical, practical guidance in touching tools and materials, in designing and building — and in the end you have something that doesn’t fall apart.”

On science and art dovetailing

“I was simultaneously taking fine-art studio classes. One semester, I had seven courses. It was a huge thing for me. I don’t think I would have gotten through engineering without the art.”

Best career advice

“Don’t try to succeed by doing things that are easy for you. Reach high and achieve hard.”

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