A man on a mission
For William Winters, there cannot be a better place than under the waves. After all, that is where his passion and work coincide. William, who is based in the Netherlands, heads Wärtsilä’s Underwater Services and in a little over a year, William’s journey with Wärtsilä seems to have opened up an ocean of opportunities.
Early in 2018, Wärtsilä acquired Trident BV, a Netherland-based company, to become the first global operator in the underwater services market. With its acquisition, William Winters, then Trident BV Managing Director, took charge of Wärtsilä Underwater Services, with the goal of providing reliable and high-quality underwater services, globally. And he has wasted no time in expanding Wärtsilä’s already large footprint.
“Just during the first year as part of Wärtsilä, we already added two locations to our 'homeport' network, supporting our journey to become a truly global player in the underwater shipping services industry,” says William with a sense of pride.
“So far, the journey has been exciting as we have been integrating into the big Wärtsilä organisation whilst pushing our ambitions forward. It is interesting to see how a big family like this can support that transition from many different angles,” he adds.
“During the journey, there have been several unforgettable work days, but I have to admit that the very first day when joining Wärtsilä was one-of-a-kind. We received a warm welcome at the Drunen office where Tamara de Gruyter held a presentation and we met probably over 150 new colleagues.”
Each day brings in new learnings on how a huge organisation works and William finds it fascinating to see so many people and different departments supporting each other seamlessly. While he enjoys being a part of that process and chasing a common goal, his contributions have helped support Wärtsilä’s ambitions as well.
Diving into challenges
William believes his knowledge, and the innovations he has brought in the underwater business, along with a new approach to Wärtsilä’s customer relations, have helped him perform his role successfully. This new approach came handy recently when there were some technical issues with installations on certain new-build projects.
“With our underwater team, we managed to support them by keeping the structures afloat,” William explains, adding that by doing so, unscheduled re-docking was avoided. This, according to him, allowed Wärtsilä to show reliable, timely and effective support for its own products.
Another case in point was a recent underwater mission to rebuild the shaft sealing system for an Australian customer. Despite initial reluctance from the customer due to the concerns over the feasibility of the underwater rebuild, the Wärtsilä teams in Australia and the UK worked on two shaft lines and completed the project successfully.
“This completely changed the mindset and approach towards our underwater business for this client. I look forward to more of these challenges that hold massive opportunities down the road,” says William enthusiastically.
William believes that doing things differently is part of Wärtsilä’s DNA. According to him, being an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Wärtsilä’s foray into the underwater business itself is pure innovation.
“Besides this, we’re constantly motivated to work on innovative solutions for existing and new challenges,” he points out.
A hero for the environment
William was first bitten by a ‘diving bug’ at the age of 16 while working as an Assistant Scuba Instructor in Bali, Indonesia. He gained his license in Scotland and has been diving commercially since 1998. His growing workload as general manager recently forced him to hang up his diving gear in exchange for a suit and tie.
“I can tell you that diving is a recipe for busy, exciting work days! But ship schedules can interfere with personal plans, so the unpredictable nature of the job is both a pro and a con at times,” he says.
Despite his hectic schedule, William hasn’t let his passion for diving pass him by, and sneaks in the occasional plunge whenever he can. This habit is something that, he says, not only helps him understand work challenges better but also enables him to get a first-hand view of the environmental degradation in our waters.
Over the next five years, William sees Wärtsilä being ahead in the game as an influencer. And he has his task cut out in contributing to the company’s growth. “I see us growing more globally, being a bigger organisation providing high-quality service.”
William clearly has his plate full at work and at home. With three children aged between 2 and 16, he admits, there is never a dull moment in the house. “If time allows, I enjoy going to the gym or participate in small events such as a 1/8 triathlon,” he quips.
However, going by the pace of business expansion, time will continue to be a luxury for William. In October 2018, Wärtsilä acquired the Spanish underwater services company Burriel Navarro to expand in the European markets. With this added strength, William has a bigger team and lesser time, but he isn’t complaining.
“Adding on the team from Burriel-Navarro really felt like an expansion of the family. They are a group of extremely ambitious people, very eager to learn and participate in underwater repair activities. I’m very pleased they are now part of our team,” William says, being ready to further expand the family – both with new people and new locations.