His love for sea made him to pursue a career in the industry and for his notable career so far, he acknowledges one colleague from ABS who has been his mentor on how ships are made. Furthermore, he notes that technology has expanded opportunities for knowledge while his graduate studies at the University of Michigan paid off.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
John Kokarakis: I am an islander and grew up by the sea. Love for sea.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
J.K: Its variability. It is different every day.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who's the first person who comes to mind and why?
J.K.: Panos Laskaridis who created an empire of businesses from low beginnings. More importantly, he shares his wealth.
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why?
J.K.: My ABS Colleague Petros Kontraros, because he taught me a lot of what I know on how ships are made.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you've ever been given and why?
J.K.: The best: When in Rome live like the Romans / The worst: You can do this tomorrow as well.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
J.K.: My graduate studies at the University of Michigan
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?
J.K.: Knowledge is infinite. Focus on a specific area and learn. Never stop learning.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
J.K.: Utilization of computer to explore and learn
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
J.K.: It would be nice to have more time to make a decision.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
J.K.: One photo is worth one thousand words.
About John Kokarakis
Dr Kokarakis a 1979 graduate of National Technical University of Athens, holds PhD (1986) and Masters degrees in Naval Architecture (1983) and Mechanical Engineering (1984) from the University of Michigan. He worked for over ten years as a consultant undertaking technical problems worldwide. His specialization was in the area of technical investigation of marine accidents. In his capacity as a forensic engineer he participated in the technical investigation of the Exxon Valdez grounding, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, the drillship Sea-Crest capsize, the Piper Alpha fire and explosion, the Aleutian Enterprise foundering in Alaska as well as many other accidents of less notoriety. In addition, he was a technical consultant for SEALAND, APL, MATSON Navigation, Chevron and other companies. The last twenty years he works in Greece, in the area of classification. Having served in the plan approval office of American Bureau of Shipping in Piraeus, he then joined Germanischer Lloyd heading their tanker and bulk carrier team in Greece. He is currently the Technical Director of Bureau Veritas in the Hellenic and Black Sea & Adriatic Zone. In his duties Dr. Kokarakis is responsible for the smooth technical operation in the Zone as well as in the harmonic cooperation with the BV offices worldwide to the benefit of the BV clients. He is a member of SNAME since 1976 and a Fellow of the Society. He is currently the Chairman of the Greek Section since 2014. He has also served as International Vice President of the Society and a Member of the Fellows Committee.