SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined the shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Rod Lingard: I’ve had just a wonderful career. I joined the Merchant Navy at 16 and worked through to obtaining by Master’s certificate. I then worked as a cargo superintendent in Turkey for a while before joining the Sunderland P&I Club as a Claims Executive. Sunderland joined up with the UK P&I Club/Thomas Miller in the early 90’s and I’ve never looked back. 19 years as a P&I Syndicate Manager, managing various Syndicates including 6 years in Greece as Syndicate Manager of Thomas Miller (Hellas). The opportunity to join War Risks came about 4 years ago and meant returning initially to London and then to the Isle of Man where the Hellenic is operated from.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
R.L.: I love, ships, claims and Greece. For an English guy I can’t think of a better way of combining them.
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why?
R.L.:It’s really difficult to think of one person because there’ve been several. Initially I think it wasn’t so much people but a system. When I joined the Merchant Navy in the UK as a cadet, back in the 70s, you joined on the bottom rung of the ladder but with a system that included a combination of, sea-time and studying, add in hard work and then you come out 10 or 11 years later with a Master’s certificate. The system worked really well for me. As for people the ones that stand out are a lecturer at South Shields Marine College who persuaded me to take a break from the sea and study for a degree in Nautical Studies. Others include one of my Syndicate Managers who guided my early career as a Claims Executive and more recently the senior management at Thomas Miller who have given me the opportunity to move up the ladder and branch in to new areas. I’d have to thank my wife as well. Whenever I’ve suggested we might move on she’s always agreed! We may both have some Romani blood in us.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you've ever been given and why?
R.L.: An Uncle once told me never to buy a house with a garden bigger than your wife can dig over! On a more serious note one of my Managers once told me to be more cavalier. At the time I was investigating everything to the nth degree and not quite getting to the decision stage. You can make too many inquiries. Once you’ve made reasonable checks make the decision and move on. I’m struggling to think of bad advice.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
R.L.: I studied for an MBA in my 40s. I did it part time whilst working. I was in a good place because I already had a lot of practical experience to relate the theory to. The time commitment was difficult but it really gave me a, better, fuller, more rounded understanding of business. It improved my report writing skills as well.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self what would it be and why?
R.L.: I’d tell my 18 year old self to follow the wise words of Confucius, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. I have always looked forward to going to my job in the morning. I think there’s a lot of people like that in shipping. More so than other industries.
S4S:What is your personal motto?
R.L.: Life long learning. You are never too old.
About Rod Lingard
Rod is a Master Mariner with degrees in, Nautical Studies, Law and an MBA. As a long time P&I Claims Manager Rod has been servicing Greek shipping companies since the late 80’s and moved over the War side of the business about 4 years ago.