Kindred spirit joins our team

17 July, 2023

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Nokome Bentley joined Dragonfly as a principal data scientist earlier this month. He has many years of experience in fisheries science, data analysis and software engineering.

“I’ve crossed paths with Dragonfly many times over the past two decades – as a client, a collaborator, and sometimes a competitor. We share many of the same values including fostering openness and reproducibility in data science.”

Nokome began his career by studying marine biology at James Cook University in Queensland. He worked in seagrass and abalone research in Western Australia and New South Wales, and later moved to Tasmania to study fisheries science. While living there, a growing interest in the outdoors sparked an ambition to one day live in New Zealand.

“I was passionate about fish, fishing and all things marine as a kid. So it was a natural step to study marine biology and fisheries science. But during my study, and on into my working career, I became more and more interested in fish population dynamics, statistical modelling, and computer programming.”

In 1996, Nokome founded Trophia, a fisheries research company. He worked on fisheries data analysis, modelling and stock assessment of many species for 20 years including New Zealand rock lobster and Indian Ocean tuna.

“As a quantitative fisheries scientist I was increasingly exposed to software engineering and I saw that we could be doing things better – in science generally and in fisheries science in particular. Like Dragonfly, I thought that applying modern software engineering practices to that work would be beneficial more broadly.”

That led to Nokome founding Stencila, a company developing software for authoring, collaborating on, and publishing reproducible research. He is continuing to work on Stencila and hopes he and others at Dragonfly can make use of it in their work.

Nokome works for Dragonfly part-time and currently splits his time between Kaikōura and Wānaka. He spends time in the Wellington office each month.

“One of the big attractions of Dragonfly is being part of a smart, diverse team doing interesting and innovative work in a variety of domains. I’m already really enjoying being exposed to all the different projects going on.”

Nokome is interested in a diversity of subjects, and says he wants to use his skills in ways that are most useful to our clients.

“Any job is interesting if you are able to continue to learn. So the opportunity to learn about new domains and work out how best to apply my skills to them is very appealing.”

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