Andrew (Andy) Alderson, Principal Technical Advisor at SGMF – The Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel, highlights the importance of cultivating a learning mindset and fostering a sense of psychological safety among his colleagues. These practices, he suggests, have significantly aided him in confronting daily obstacles.
lderson emphasizes the significance of cherishing the journey’s experiences and the individuals encountered along the way. As he remains actively involved in the marine industry’s pursuit of decarbonization, he strongly advocates for increased collaboration and a receptive approach to effectively tackle emerging challenges. Consequently, he emphasizes the necessity of attentively listening and learning from other sectors. Additionally, he underscores the imperative of consistently showing respect and appreciation for seafarers and their families in every decision-making process.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Andy Alderson: Coming from a naval family and growing up in Portsmouth, a busy port city, I always expected to have a career that involved the sea. Ultimately a friend slightly older than me joined the merchant navy a year early and listening to his stories about the Far East ultimately sealed it for me. As to going as an engineer that was never in doubt I was fascinated by engines and technology from a young age and regularly dismantled things to see how they worked.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
A.A.: Decarbonising the maritime industry is a once in a lifetime paradigm shift and to be able to be part of creating a sustainable maritime industry for the future generations is too much of an opportunity not be involved in. It’s also payback, whilst I was at sea my safety hinged on those with experience developing regulation, best practice etc to keep me safe. Now it is my turn to pay back and look to do the same for the current and future generations.
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why?
A.A.: This is a difficult one as there are a number of people for different reasons. From a maritime perspective the first Chief Engineer I sailed with as a cadet, who told me I would get things wrong and make mistakes, and that this was normal and OK (as long as it wasn’t the same mistake over and over), I felt empowered to try and know it was OK to fail at times as this was how I would learn. The same still applies today, there are times I get it wrong; experience just means I am more aware of it and able to correct and / or improve things quicker.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given and why?
A.A: Best piece was always do the right thing and don’t damage your integrity, if you do it is hard to get it back. I have always tried to leave well and as a result have built up a great network of people, many of whom I consider friends as well as colleagues.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why? What piece of advice should you ignore?
A.A.: In life don’t rush to get to your career destination, it is a long way away and is likely to change many times, focus on enjoying the experience of the journey and people you will meet, it is more fulfilling.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
A.A.: Adopting a learner mindset, or at least trying to, at times I don’t get it right. Trying to build psychological safety within the people I work with so that all can contribute their unique experiences to whatever challenge we are facing.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
A.A.: I believe it is changing but working more collaboratively with those outside maritime, we don’t have all the answers, and potential solutions exist in other industries we need to listen learn and work together to address the challenges around safe, sustainable decarbonization and not forget whatever path we decide to follow on the front line there is a seafarer that be living and managing daily with the outcome of decisions we make, and that they have a family who want to see them come home safely. Sometimes in our enthusiasm we forget this.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.