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One year after graduation, MI alumnus seeing the world

Greg Crossman graduated with a diploma of technology in marine engineering technology from the Marine Institute in June 2010. He now works with Thordon Bearings Inc. as an after sales service technician.


By Darcy MacRae

When Greg Crossman graduated from the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) in June 2010, he had no idea how much of the world he would see in the following 11 months.

Mr. Crossman graduated with a diploma of technology in marine engineering technology and immediately accepted a job as third engineer on the MV Princess of Acadia, a Bay Ferries Ltd. vessel that crosses the Bay of Fundy. He then moved into a position on the MV Intrepid, a Helix Energy Solutions-owned pipe-laying vessel, a position that required him to move to Trinidad and Tobago.

From there Mr. Crossman worked on the Grace E, a 50-metre luxury yacht, as it travelled through the Panama Canal and into Costa Rica and the Mediterranean. Since then, he accepted an offer to join Thordon Bearings Inc. in Burlington, Ont., as an after sales service technician.

The new job requires much travel as well, but also allows Mr. Crossman to return to his new home in Burlington for extended periods of time.

"Since joining Thordon I've been to Uruguay, the Bahamas and Charlotte, N.C. In Uruguay we installed new Thorplas seals on a Kaplan Turbine at the Baygorria Hydro Dam. I will be flying to Singapore in the summer for a conversion of an oil lubricated stern tube system to the Thordon water cooled system," said Mr. Crossman. "My new position with Thordon Bearings Inc. involves installation, maintenance and inspection of the various Thordon products. The position requires me to use almost every skill obtained from the marine engineering technology program at the Marine Institute, with the most important being the ability to trouble-shoot.

"Thordon has provided me with a shore-based job that has me in Burlington two-thirds of the year while spending the other one-third working in foreign countries. I love to travel and see the world so this job is where I want to be."
Seeing the world this early in his career is a major benefit to Mr. Crossman, who readily admits it is one of the best aspects of his job. He visits locations he previously only read about, and is getting paid to do so.

"The best part of the travelling is that I am able to experience places I never thought I would travel to, like Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Venezeula, Bonaire, Uruguay, Panama, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago," said Mr. Crossman, who grew up in New Brunswick. "I was able to go scuba diving for the first time in 'diver's paradise' Bonaire. I also had the chance to see a dolphin pod of 1,000 off the pacific coast of Costa Rica. I will never forget that experience."

Mr. Crossman keeps in touch with instructors and placement personnel at the Marine Institute, keeping them informed of the latest challenges and highlights in his young career. He says the education he received at MI has allowed him to explore exciting career opportunities.

"My time at the Marine Institute prepared me well for the job with Helix Energy Solutions, as it pertained to the training and vessels I did my cadetship aboard," Mr. Crossman said. "Several aspects of my current position relate directly with the technical project that was required in terms six and seven of the marine engineering technology program; aspects such as research, report writing and paying very close attention to detail."

He adds that in addition to the technical skills he developed at the Marine Institute, he also enjoyed the opportunity to learn how to work as part of a team.
"There is a real team environment at the Marine Institute and we all worked together to succeed in the program."

Perhaps what excites Mr. Crossman the most is that, although he has already experienced a lot in his first year since graduation, he still has plenty of room for advancement and new experiences as his career develops.

"I work with very educated people and each day I feel as though I am challenged to continue learning."