At an exciting time for the offshore wind market in Taiwan, we are pleased to introduce Tom Ivey as OCA’s Country Manager for Taiwan. Read more about his background, his areas of expertise and experience and Tom shares his advice for anyone joining the industry.
I have always loved being around the coast, getting involved in fun sea-related activities like swimming, surfing, sailing, windsurfing, snorkelling, camping, and travelling. At school I enjoyed science, geography, and engineering and this led me to studying for a BSc Oceanography and MSc Engineering in the Coastal Environment at University of Southampton. My courses included plenty of research projects and field-based work and for my MSc project I worked with an engineering design consultancy on coastal infrastructure design. This helped to shape my decision to join the offshore industry. My first role after university with a cable installation contractor was exciting, interesting, and enabled me to visit vessels in faraway places which was certainly a perk of the job!
Offshore wind was growing fast and following a few years working for a large developer, the diversity of work available at a specialised consultancy appealed to me. The consultancy environment exposes you to a wide range of projects, at various stages and to broader subjects and issues, which is great for building experience. At OCA, I also have the opportunity to learn from others’ experience as sharing knowledge is definitely part of the company’s culture.
To date my experience has focused on offshore site works in across all packages and vessel-based activities. More recently I have built up my expertise in WTG transport and installation works as well as on the numerous support vessels and logistics services which also need to be provided and optimised. In the future I look forward to supporting on floating wind projects, although there are specific technical challenges, a large part of the expertise from fixed bottom wind projects is transferable. Developing, planning, and constructing an offshore wind farm requires skills in every discipline from mechanical, electrical, marine, and geotechnical all the way through to legal, commercial, financial and project management. By working on a variety of projects I grow my knowledge in all these areas on a daily basis and build on my existing experience and education.
For example, my initial projects were in the North Sea area, where the geological setting and risks are fairly benign. Since joining OCA, I have worked on projects worldwide, where the challenges and solutions become more complex, such as in the APAC region where the need to manage seismic risk has been an interesting learning experience. In addition, as an evolving and growing industry, innovation and problem solving are needed at all stages. It is often the newest technology and largest equipment which gets the headlines but using the same vessels to install increasingly bigger components on the limits of their range requires numerous issues to be overcome and makes my work more challenging.
OCA’s flexible, innovative, and collaborative approach is great, it encourages fast development and progress towards your personal goals. Earlier this year, I was promoted to the role of Country Manager for Taiwan and now have additional management responsibilities and am busy establishing our office in Taipei. Having a local presence in Taiwan means that OCA can share our expertise in this evolving market and support projects with local personnel. Numerous countries in the region have ambitious targets for offshore wind development, and OCA is excited to help achieve this.
Working in offshore wind is truly multi-disciplinary and gaining knowledge from each area is really valuable. Any experience is good experience. The range of different skill sets required means there will be somewhere for you to fit in and use your expertise. My advice to anyone wanting to join the industry is not to worry that you don’t “tick all the boxes”, it’s more important to be motivated to learn.