Marine engineer rediscovers a love of learning

Tim Stanley thought his days of studying and exams were behind him when he completed a marine engineering diploma in 2007 at the Marine Institute.

The 37-year-old has worked on six tankers in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore and is first engineer officer on board the Dorset Spirit, one of three Altera Infrastructure vessels transporting crude from the Grand Banks oilfields to the Placentia Bay transshipment facility.

This month, he receives a Bachelor of Maritime Studies in Safety Management and is already considering a master’s degree.

“This was really important for me to do this and now I feel like I want to do more.

“It rekindled my love for studying. Before, I didn’t really want to go to university because I saw more opportunity with a trade. Now I’m looking for an education to get an understanding of a lot of different things.”

People skills

He started his bachelor’s degree online in September 2019 while working offshore.

The School of Maritime Studies program focuses on developing essential skills to lead and contribute to the evolution of a safety culture in the maritime sector.

As first engineer officer on the Dorset Spirit, he reports to the chief engineer and oversees day-to-day operations in the engine room, including planned and preventative maintenance, repairs and scheduling.

“The chief engineer oversees my work. He looks after the big picture and I look after the day-to-day execution of tasks. I also do a lot of maintenance myself.”

He says the program taught him how to be an effective leader and the communication skills to manage a team.

“I took a lot away from the program. It changed the way I talk to people and how I communicate with them. I think it really made me a better person.”

Tim Stanley

Offshore opportunity

He grew up in Mount Pearl and enrolled in university right after high school. For someone who likes to build and fix things, he soon discovered it wasn’t what he was looking for.

“When I got to university, I thought at that time they’ll educate me here but they’re not going to train me for anything. So I left and went to work.”

While working in a building supply store in the early 2000s, he met a deckhand who told him about working on tankers offshore.

“He spoke to me about marine life, the opportunities offshore and the ability to live home here in Newfoundland.

“I took the information he gave to me and researched it and was blown away that a whole career field was here that I didn’t know was available at the time. That was one of the turning points in my life.”

Even before he completed the marine engineering program he was hired by Canship Ugland, which held the offshore shuttle tanker contract.

“I was excited and very fortunate to start work right away.”

Lightbulb moment

Another chance encounter convinced him it was time to head back to school.

A few years ago he was one of several Altera employees showcased in a series of videos and had the opportunity to meet the company’s president and CEO.

“We had a few conversations. I took that whole experience of being around him as a cue that there are more opportunities out there. It was a lightbulb moment.

“All of a sudden it clicked in my mind that here’s this person in the upper echelons of management and I thought to myself he had to start somewhere. It’s one of those moments when you take stock and think there could be places where life could take you if you had certain credentials.”

He did his research and signed up for the online degree.

“I love my job. Going to sea is great and it has always fit for my family, but it may not always fit for my family. So I decided to do the Bachelor of Maritime Studies because it could provide more opportunities and more versatility for my career and for me as a person.”