Joanna is a surveyor (shipboard) three days a week who does structural plan approval and project management two days a week. She is based in Australia.
Tell us more about your role at LR?
I am one of very few people with a split role. I am a senior surveyor, depending on which side of the role I am on. Three days a week I am a shipboard surveyor and for the other two days I am structural plan approval and project management. I am on ships and in the office which I love. It is difficult to juggle and not something suited to every part of the business but I am lucky that here the way we work means I can do it. I really enjoy being able to do both of them because they both have different aspects of what I love about ships.
What qualifications or experience did you need for your role?
I came into LR as a structural specialist so I have a Naval Architecture degree. When I first joined in 2011 I was working in the Southampton office which was structural analysis for rule development so a degree was required for it. I now have to learn more about machinery before I become a competent surveyor – stuff that moves isnt something that naval architects normally worry about!
Why did you join?
I never thought I would be in commercial shipping, I always thought I would be a yacht designer. I actually interviewed for a different position, and in a conversation at the end of the interview got to talking about my honours thesis from university. At this point I was asked if I would be interested in coming back to interview for a different position the following week! I realised then that I didn’t get the first job – but I was lucky enough to get the second one. This was in the ‘rules and procedures publishing team’. This role involved helping to design our in-house software as well as our FEA procedures which was very in-depth and technical. I then moved to the South Asia Technical Support office as a hull plan approval specialist, based in Sydney – and have recently been able to move again, this time into the surveying team in Australia. It has been such a varied career in 8 short years and I have really enjoyed the different challenges and experiences that I have had.
Why did you stay?
Mostly, it is the great colleagues I have. They are so willing to share their knowledge and help me to learn and progress, it is a real joy to work with them. They inspire me every day. People just seem to be really encouraging – they want to help you learn more. It isn’t necessarily about career progression for me, it is about becoming the best version of me I can be and I find that LR promotes that in so many ways. From training for soft and technical skills, and development, it has been brilliant. There are so many opportunities here to explore – so much room to learn – that I haven’t wanted to leave yet. I have worked for the company on two different sides of the world. Every day is different and it is impossible to get bored. Finally, knowing that I work for a greater cause – the LR Foundation – is something that drives me every day. I love the work that they do.
Describe a typical day at LR?
It depends which side of my job I am talking about. As a surveyor a typical day would be heading down to the ships, meeting the crew, doing whatever survey it is that you are doing and going to finish the paperwork related to it. On the other hand, if it is my structural plan appraisal job, it is getting into the office, checking emails, reviewing the drawings, stamping them, calling customers to discuss any issues and then sending off the information for someone else to take the next step. I have a really varied role.
What is your proudest moment at LR?
When I do plan approval, the boats could be built anywhere – Thailand, Spain, Americas, anywhere. When the surveyor on site shares a photo of the boat launched I always get a thrill of excitement. It isn’t pride but it is amazing and exciting seeing something come together.
What has been your key highlight so far?
I am really close to getting my first surveyor’s authorisation and that will be a really big deal for me. Having a lot of plan approval authorisations means I have autonomy when I do a job. I am really close to achieving this with surveys – the day I stamp my first certificate will be a real achievement!
What is your favourite thing about LR?
My colleagues, the work, the cause - take your pick!