How did you get into the shipping industry?

My father had a small shipyard when I was growing up, building and repairing everything from yachts to fishing vessels to pilot launches and fisheries patrol vessels. The exposure to the marine sector in those formative years had quite an impact. My passion for shipping and all things nautical was well and truly embedded after I went to sea on commercial fishing vessels during summer university breaks, then transitioned onto tugs and barges, as well as coastal freight vessels on Canada’s west coast. After almost a decade at sea, my focus turned to the international side of shipping. I completed a graduate degree, then pursued a career on shore with global shipping companies Fednav, Gearbulk and ultimately CSL Group.

You’ve been with CSL since 2016. What will you miss about the company?

The CSL Group is a fantastic company to work for, with a great culture and ethos. This stems from the owners (the Martin family) and the executive on down. I will miss the team camaraderie and professionalism at every level, and across every region. Most of all, I will miss the Australian team, who have supported me tirelessly and with whom we have made so much progress in so many areas for CSL.

How has the Australian shipping landscape changed since you came here in 2018?

I have been fortunate to be in Australia during a resource super cycle and an infrastructure development boom, which has afforded many opportunities in our niche shipping sector. I must mention the impact of Covid-19 during this period, which provided an unprecedented challenge to our industry, especially for the domestic trading fleet in Australia. The most significant change, however, has been the slow decline of the pool of Australian seafarers, which is now placing domestic Australian-flagged shipping in an unsustainable operating position going forward.

You’re currently the chair of Maritime Industry Australia. What have been your objectives in that role?

It’s my hope that MIAL has, during my tenure, successfully raised awareness within government of the serious challenges that face the domestic shipping task. As mentioned above, skills shortages, but also decarbonisation challenges and seafarer welfare, are areas where I believe good policy can assist the industry as a whole. Secondly, I hope that I, along with a supportive board, have provided the MIAL executive with solid guidance and governance to enable success in these areas of advocacy.

What’s the biggest cultural difference between Canada and Australia?

There is no such thing as “ice hockey”. In Canada, it is just hockey. I have had to learn two distinct footy leagues, familiarise myself with a new rugby code and, living in Sydney, choose between Blue and Maroon.

We hear you’re off to sail the world with your wife. Has it always been something you’ve wanted to do?

Yes. Linda and I are passionate sailors. We have thoroughly enjoyed sailing Sydney Harbour, the coast of NSW, and being a part of the sailing community here. In the late 1990s, we took a sabbatical year and completed a voyage from Victoria, British Columbia to California and Mexico, then returned via Hawaii. More than 10,000 nautical miles later, we knew this is what we wanted to do full-time as soon as our professional careers came to an end. We have a new, very offshore-capable yacht waiting for us to join in July.

Where are you most looking forward to visiting on your epic trip?

After a few months in Mexico, we will be sailing the South Pacific, which looks amazing. We also look forward to the day when we return to Australia. Our aim is to spend a few years seeing the full coast of the country. There is plenty of it that we missed during our six short years here.

What do you like to do to relax? Any hidden talents?

Sailing, of course! Though a deck officer by training, my technical/ship management team would be pleased to know that I am very skilled at ship (yacht) maintenance.

Hollywood has always been full of Canadian stars. Who’s your all-time favourite?

We do have a few stars in Hollywood these days – the two Ryans [Reynolds and Gosling], for instance. It’s hard to name a favourite. Canada has produced a lot of great comedic talent over the years – Martin Short, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey and Michael J Fox, to name a few. We are good at laughing at ourselves, maybe a product of keeping ourselves entertained during long winter nights between hockey games.

This article appeared in the June 2024 edition of DCN Magazine