Jacqui Bruce has been on the end of the phone for over 15 years to many of the NWA members and the wider industry, now she works part-time directly for the NWA as Treasurer and organising administration.
How did you personally become involved in the maritime sector?
My Son had just started school and I was thinking about looking for a part-time job when a mutual friend on mine and Norman Finlay’s suggested I get in touch with Norman as he was looking for some part-time secretarial help in the office. Having been a Secretary for most of my working life, I thought this would be just the job I was looking for.
I did, therefore, meet up with Norman in the Spring of 2003. We got on well straight away and he offered me a few hours a week in the office typing up his reports and general admin duties. This was a perfect job for me as not being involved in the ‘Maritime world’ before (apart from my husband owning a small motorboat), it was something different, new and exciting and I found Norman’s Survey reports interesting to type. The added bonus was the office is set in his beautiful garden and being part-time meant I could still make the ‘school run’.
As my interest grew in the Maritime industry, it didn’t take long before I started to take on more responsibility for the day-to-day running of the office and eventually found myself working full-time.
“I always look forward to Seawork in June and the Lakes [AGM] in January, I love meeting you guys at the NWA – to me, we’re One Big Happy Family!!”
Can you tell us more about your current interests outside of the Workboat Association?
My main pastime/interest was long distance running. I used to belong to an Athletics Club, train 3-4 times a week and often enter race events at the weekend, but I guess pounding the roads for many years hasn’t been too kind to my knee joints, so I’ve taken up swimming instead.
I also like to read and I’m a keen gardener, but most weekends now you’ll find the Bruce family at a Motocross track watching our Son ride.
How did you first come into contact with the NWA and what drives your enthusiasm for the association?
I first came in to contact with the NWA in 2003 when we had around 40 members. At that time, Norman was the Secretary and I helped him organise and set up the NWA Stand at Seawork each year. I thoroughly enjoyed doing this and I continued to help organise the Stand when Mark Ranson took over as Secretary – I can’t believe this will be my 16th year at Seawork.
I would speak to clients on the phone all the time and as most of them were members of the NWA, I loved attending Seawork as it gave me the opportunity to put face to name so at least I knew who I was speaking to the next time the office phone rang!
Also, for the past 13 years, I have helped to organise the NWA Seawork Dinner. Again, this is something that I thoroughly enjoy doing.
The Maritime industry has grown significantly since 2003 and the NWA now has close to 90 members. It’s encouraging for me to know that the industry has very high standards, not only with maintenance, but as I’ve noticed an increase in Coded vessels over the years, it’s plain to see that owners take the safety standards of their vessels very seriously too.
I always look forward to Seawork in June and the Lakes in January – I love meeting you guys at the NWA – to me, we’re One Big Happy Family!!
Do you have any highlights from your career in the Workboat Industry?
I have many fond memories from my career in the Workboat industry, but I guess the 2 main highlights that I will never forget are:
- Being actively involved in procuring an MBE for Norman Finlay. Initially this was instigated by Mike Stansfeld and he and the rest of the NWA members, together with a handful from another Organisation, fought to obtain this award for around 5-6 years. However, one evening in October 2017, I received notification from the Award Organisers that we had finally been successful and in 2018 Norman was presented his MBE medal by the Queen.
- During Seawork, I always make a point of popping down to the pontoons to have a look around the Workboats, especially those that are owned by our members, but I was extremely excited a couple of years ago when Damen Shipyards invited me to go on board the “Voe Vanguard” for the Sea Demo during Seawork. This was an amazing experience to witness first-hand what these vessels are actually capable of.