Vanguard Game Changers: Tim Page

Tim Page - 1176 ColourTim is responsible for building and maintaining Seaspan Shipyards relationship with the federal government based on trust and their ability to help federal customers achieve their goals through Seaspan Shipyards in Victoria and Vancouver.

Seaspan is one of Canada’s largest and fastest growing shipbuilding companies. In 2011, Seaspan won an $8 billion shipbuilding opportunity under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Following that, the company’s workforce grew from 1,200 in 2009 to 2,300 today and the company is still hiring.

Seaspan is not doing it alone. Through the NSPS, the company is creating a west coast shipbuilding centre of excellence and developing an ecosystem of suppliers, academics, training institutions and other stakeholders. This will mean jobs and economic activity for many years to come.

Perhaps it’s apt that the son of a Royal Canadian Navy Officer, who inculcated in the mind of his offspring an abiding respect for service to country, would eventually gravitate to a senior position in a company that provides ships to the navy.

“It’s that commitment to service to country that makes my involvement with Seaspan Shipyards so important to me personally as we build ships for Canada under NSPS,” he told Vanguard. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to the rebuilding of the CCG fleet and the provision of supply ships for the RCN and to do so in a way, through a predictable build schedule that will end the boom and bust cycles that have defined previous federal shipbuilding programs, that will create jobs, careers for young people and economic activity across Canada for decades to come.”

Q: Vanguard Magazine: What was your “aha” moment?
Back in 2008, the new Conservative government produced the Canada First Defence Strategy designed to recapitalize the Canadian Armed Forces to meet the country’s defence and security objectives for the 21st century. At that time I was working with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), where we encouraged Canada to leverage that intended spend of several hundreds of millions, in fact billions of dollars, to maximize opportunities for Canadian businesses to participate.

Along the road, there were lots of different interests that were able to align with the principle and the objective of this inside and outside of government of what is ultimately became known as the Defence Procurement Strategy.

Q: How has innovation become ingrained in your organization’s culture and how is it being optimized?
We’re using lean design and designs for production techniques which are now firmly ingrained in the Seaspan business model. This includes the use of 3D modeling which allows us to test a vessel’s design before we begin to build it.

Tim Page and Minister SajjanQ: What would you say are the biggest impediments to innovation, whether it be within your organization or within the industry sector?
I don’t think we have any systemic impediments…we’ve created and have implemented a series of business practices, processes, protocols and lessons learned through a culture of continuous improvement that we believe will deliver dividends for Canada and for our customers for years to come.

Q: Can you share with us what is the best advice you ever received?
Be brief, be good, and be gone. Do your homework, speak truth to power, and believe in what you are doing while you are doing it.

Q: What can our readers take away from this discussion?
Good question. I would suggest that there’s no real substitute for long term relationship building and management. No quick fixes. It’s a process. Stick to and be committed to the process. Do something that you’re passionate about and others will be passionate about it too. Commit to hard work and to excellence. At the same time, make sure you’re being yourself. Be real. Challenge yourself and those around you. You’re likely to be surprised by the success and the fun you can have along the way.

Q: What is your parting piece of advice for our readers?
TP: You only live once. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. Go out and make it happen.