Bryan Johnson’s experience is helping the next generation of welders at Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards learn their trade and we had a chance to talk with him last week. Bryan has been back with us for only a few months now but started his career as a welder here working at Vancouver Shipyards from 1980-1995.
Bryan was recruited back to Seaspan as a manager to supervise trades and his expertise in ceramics has proven especially valuable. Ceramics refers to the welding technique that involves a ceramic backing applied under a weld joint, to prevent the flow of weld bead from the other side. Modern shipyards have adopted the technique because it supports improved weld quality, producing seams that look machine-made from the underside and eliminating the need for back gouging or grinding.
One of his first objectives since his return has been to train Seaspan’s young welders in the technique and improve the quality of the shipyard’s ceramics work. “I was a little worried, because they’re so young, but they turned out to be incredible welders,” adding that their youth also means they have strong, steady hands. Bryan describes the trainees as sponges, absorbing information and then asking the right questions. He is very pleased with their progress, saying with quiet pride, “you can tell by the seam work – it’s impeccable, it’s beautiful.”
Bryan had a very hands-on approach to this assignment -“I was glued to them for the first few weeks!”- which reflects his management style: out on the floor, not behind a desk. He’s pleased that the Charge Hands under his supervision are also spending more time on the floor these days, overseeing the quality of the work and answering questions, and hears from the trade workers that they like it too.
Bryan is happy to have come full circle and be back at Seaspan, where he plans to complete his career in the trades and pass on all that it has taught him; and Seaspan is happy to have him.