Joe MacInnis

Joe MacInnis

Physician, Scientist, Explorer and Storyteller

Joe MacInnis

Dr. Joseph MacInnis,C.M. MD. FRCP. (Hon) LLD. (Hon), is a medical doctor who spent three decades studying the physiology and psychology of men and women working under the sea. Between 1964 and 1994, he led thirty expeditions and logged more than 5,000 hours under the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. Since 1994, Dr. MacInnis has been using his undersea experiences to explore new ways of improving the relationships between the human family and the natural world.

In 1970, Dr. MacInnis was asked by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to assist in the research and writing of Canada’s first national ocean policy. At the same time, supported by the Canadian government, he initiated the first of eleven diving expeditions to study the systems and techniques needed to work safely under the ice in the near-freezing waters of the Arctic Ocean. His team constructed the Sub Igloo, the world’s first undersea polar station and they were first to experience science dives under the pack ice at the North Pole.

Dr. MacInnis led the team that discovered, explored, and filmed HMS Breadalbane, a three-masted British barque crushed by the ice in the Northwest Passage in 1853. It is the world’s northernmost known shipwreck.  In 1985, he was an advisor to the Titanic discovery team and two years later made his first dive to the wreck. In 1991, he was co-leader of one of the most daring deep sea projects ever conducted, a two million dollar expedition to film Titanic in the Imax giant-screen format and the first to study the great ship in her biological, geological and metallurgical contexts. It was this expedition that inspired James Cameron’s Hollywood film.

In 1993, Dr. MacInnis was given a contract by the International Joint Commission to study how evolving media techniques could be used to enhance the cleanup of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. In 1994, as a result of this study, he led the team that made the first multiple research sub dives to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior and a 19th-century schooner in Lake Erie. Between 1996 and 2004, Dr. MacInnis chaired the TD Financial Group’s Friends of the Environment Foundation – a unique partnership between the TD bank and its customers. The Foundation has contributed more than 40 million dollars to environmental projects across Canada.

Dr. MacInnis, with Academy Award-winning director James Cameron, worked on a series of deep-sea documentaries. In 2003, he accompanied Cameron and his team on a two-month, $14-million expedition into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Cameron edited the footage into a 3-D Imax film called Aliens of the Deep. The film and Dr. MacInnis’ companion book were released in 2005.

Dr. MacInnis has written ten books including:

  • TITANIC DREAMS: Reflections on the Discovery, Exploration and Salvage of the World’s Most Famous Shipwreck.
  • JAMES CAMERON’S ALIENS OF THE DEEP, National Geographic Books, 2005
  • BREATHING UNDERWATER: The Quest to Live in the Sea, Penguin Canada, 2004
  • SURVIVING TERRORISM: How to Protect your Health, Wealth and Safety, Deep Anchor Press, 2002
  • FITZGERALD’S STORM, MacMillan Canada, 1997
  • SAVING THE OCEAN, Key-Porter Books, 1992
  • TITANIC IN A NEW LIGHT, Thomasson-Grant, 1992
  • UNDERWATER MAN, McClelland and Stewart 1974
  • UNDERWATER IMAGES, McClelland and Stewart 1972

Dr. MacInnis’ s work has earned him a number of distinctions including five honorary doctorates, the Queen’s Anniversary Medal, the Admiral’s Medal and his country’s highest honor, the Order of Canada.

Please contact us for more information or to book Dr. Joseph MacInnis for your next event.

  1. DEEP LEADERSHIP: How to be a Better, Faster Leader

    Dr. Joe was the team leader on two $5million engineering projects beneath the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.  HIs latest book, Deep Leadership: Essential Insights from High-Risk Environments was based on his experiences on undersea engineering projects and interviews with shuttle astronauts and soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

    In this visually driven presentation, he uses dramatic stories to distill what he learned about strategic imagination, the power of language, the strength of stamina and how these three principals make you a better, faster leader in the workplace.

  2. TEAM GENIUS: How to Accelerate the Genius in your Team

    Dr Joe has worked on high risk understand engineering projects with teams from the US Army, the French and Canadian Governments and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    In this visually driven presentation, he reveals the team genius needed to pilot a research sub-three miles under the ocean, work on a Canadian Special Forces team and spacewalk on the International Space Station. He uses the $30million James Cameron National Geographic science dive into the Mariana Trench to examine the primary principles of team genius: deep empathy, deep eloquence, deep endurance and how to use them to accelerate your team’s genius!

  3. TITANIC DREAMS: The Opposite of Safety

    Dr. Joe was the co-leader of a $5million Imax film expedition to the Titanic and has made two 4000 meter dives to the famous ship wreck.  He was the journalist on James Cameron’s $7million “Live from the Titanic” broadcast for the Discovery channel.

    In this visually driven presentation, he shares how “going to fast” …”ignoring iceberg warnings”… “locking away the binoculars”…”making the wrong turn” …are all metaphors for safety and performance issues in our personal and professional lives.  Using real life examples,  he warns against false assumptions, creeping complacency, and reveals how vigilance and persistance accelerate safety

Your keynote presentation to our 1800 Tech-Ed attendees was fantastic. They loved the video clips, your recent pioneering dives with Jim Cameron and how you related your story to their work in software development.
Our guests were blown away by Joe's presentation and left the dinner in awe. He took our client’s breath away! She was so inspired by his experience and saw the clear fit between his message and it’s relation to the weather – something of great importance to The Weather Network! He was fantastic to work with, very accommodating and engaged guests from the moment he arrived.
Thank you for your fantastic contribution to our conference in Monte Carlo. You brought character, insight, experience and wisdom to the audience. Everyone enjoyed the session tremendously.
An inspiring presentation with breath-taking video clips. It fit in beautifully with the theme of our meeting.
A perfect closing keynote for our inventors and innovators conference. And thanks for leading this morning's eighty-foot dive off the north shore of Nassau. Our team loved it.

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