SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Ulf Siwe: I had been working in the IT industry for more than 20 years, when an acquaintance said that the Sea Traffic Management-initiative needed a communications person. Someone who likes to be on stage and can present technology in an easily understood manner. We laughed a little about it at first, before realizing that I was a good match, I had both the personal competencies and the IT background. So much of what we do to improve the maritime industry is IT-based, and I have always felt comfortable discussing digitalization and change even though I am not a mariner.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
U.S.: The opportunity to really make a difference. If the maritime world adopts open standards and information sharing, we can reduce the number of accidents, improve the whole transport chain and save 10-20% of the current maritime GHG emissions.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who's the first person who comes to mind and why?
U.S.: Leonardo da Vinci. He was innovative, thinking way ahead of his time. The helicopter he designed is just one example. At the same time he was improving everyday life as an engineer. And he was an artist who could create masterpieces, like the Mona Lisa, inspiring people to this very day. He was successful when he lived and his legacy is successful today.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you've ever been given and why?
U.S.: I am a team player. The best advice was “When helping the team, don’t forget yourself”. In order to have the energy to help others, you need to make sure that you get you own batteries reloaded, whichever way works for you. The worst: “Sell those Apple shares, they have doubled!”
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
U.S.: Selecting a job where purpose and motivation is the number one driver. When starting new jobs, I have believed every single one to be the best job ever. That feeling usually lasted 3-12 months. My current job is truly the best ever, after more than six years. The difference is the motivation – the possibility to change the world.
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?
U.S.: Don’t be afraid to change paths, if the one you are on to does not feel 100% right! I have probably stuck a little too long at some work places, driven by Lutheranian work ethic values and loyalty.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
U.S.: The habit of using video more in online meetings rather than only voice. Even if it is a large meeting and you cannot see everybody at the same time, seeing the person speaking adds a lot of value, since body language and facial expressions are important parts of communication. In smaller online meetings all should be on camera, the reactions of the listeners is also an important part of the communications puzzle.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
U.S.: I would like governments and their agencies to act less with national interest as their top priority and more with the interest to improve the maritime industry and transportation chain. Even though it is global.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
U.S.: Be nice, especially when you say no.
About Mr. Ulf Siwe, M.Sc. Communications Officer
STM Validation is an EU-project more than 50 partners in 13 countries and budget of 43M euro. Mr. Ulf Siwe M.Sc. is the Communications Officer of the project. The project is validating the Sea Traffic Management concept on 300 ships and in 13 ports, testing real-time information sharing to authorized relevant parties in the maritime transport chain. Ulf is the author of scientific papers in the field and an appreciated presenter at conferences.