Jim Clark, a senior manager at Cammell Laird, has clocking 60 years in the ship repair industry, making him one of the U.K.’s longest serving Chief Estimators.
The 76-year-old chief estimator has delivering more than 11,000 over the course of his career, having worked with maritime brands from Blue Star Line to his current role at Cammell Laird. Since his first job in 1962 he has delivered estimates for ship repair projects worth circa £100 billion ($129.2 billion) in today’s currency.
According to Cammell Laird, Clark also is credited for helping to secure one of the biggest shipbuilding projects in the U.K. for a generation, the £150 million ($193.8 million) Sir David Attenborough polar research vessel, currently under construction at the site in Birkenhead.
Clark celebrated the landmark achievement at a surprise party at Cammell Laird attended by friends, colleagues and senior members from across the UK maritime community.
Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret CBE said, “For the last 17 years Jim has been instrumental in helping revive the Cammell Laird brand and has also played a significant part in rebuilding the maritime industry here on Merseyside. Without Jim, other members of our team and the broader supply chain this would never have been achieved.
“There are immense complexities within the role of a chief estimator who essentially needs to prepare quotes at a lower cost than competitors, most likely within a shorter time period, while most importantly retaining a margin of profit. We are very fortunate to still have Jim driving our Estimations Department, without which, none of us would do any business. His involvement, not just today, but his entire history is remarkable and one which the whole industry should celebrate.
“The shipbuilding industry is world renowned for its unpredictability and turbulent nature, but despite this, throughout his 60 years’ of service Jim has only ever been out of work for a fortnight. That in itself shows the capability, dedication and commitment of Jim Clark. This is understood and recognized not just by the people in industry today but for generations before us.
“We have welcomed Sir David Attenborough to our site in recent times through our newbuild polar research vessel contract. People describe Sir David Attenborough as a ‘national treasure’ and Jim Clark is our own ‘Cammell Laird treasure’. He is respected by all who have worked with him and we congratulate Jim on this outstanding achievement.”
Clark started his career at Grayson Rollo & Clover in 1957 embarking on a five-year mechanical fitting apprenticeship. In his last year, due to his dedication and commitment, he was promoted to the ‘Drawing Office’ before relocating to the firm’s Sandhills branch, in Liverpool, to join the estimating team. In 1962, Grayson Rollo & Clover were taken over by Cammell Laird Shiprepairers which saw a move back to Birkenhead before the company was renamed to Western Shiprepairers Ltd in 1963, running a total 12 drydocks during a busy and vibrant period for the industry.
In 1975, Clark was offered a chief estimators position at Blue Star Line, a role which he enjoyed for nine years before being offered a position at the firm’s head office in London. However, he chose to remain in Merseyside and join a young, vibrant company called Seaforth Welding in 1984.
After Seaforth Welding closed its doors in 1986, Clark moved back to Birkenhead and Wright & Beyer later acquired by Cammell Laird Group PLC, which fell into administration following a down period for the company. Clark then took up a position at Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Ltd where he has remained for the last 17 years as the firm reemerged as Cammell Laird Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Ltd.
Clark said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed every step of the journey, and each and every company I have been involved with throughout my 60 years of work. The maritime industry is my passion and I have been able to fully immerse myself in it ever since I was an apprentice. I continue to love my work at Cammell Laird, largely because of the fantastic team we have here.
“I have a strong affinity with Liverpool because of the qualities of trust and loyalty within its people. In Liverpool, your word is as strong as a bond. That has been my experience here at Cammell Laird and with all the companies and contractors I have worked with. In my many years in industry I have created a network of contacts across the world and cultivated productive, long-term relationships. I would like to thank all those people I have come into contact with for their friendship and I look forward to continuing my work at Cammell Laird and further serving this unique and compelling industry.”