Apr 25, 2022

Kimberly KellyBoating Industry Canada (BIC) is proud to introduce a new Canadian marine education series. Currently in Canada, there are only a handful of marine education programs that serve the marine service industry. 

This unique industry frequently gets lost in the overall marine world, suppressing all of the highly accredited Marine Service Technician graduates.

Every month, BIC will highlight a graduate of these unique programs. By profiling these graduates, we will be emphasizing their marine industry training and recognizing the skills these graduates gain as well as the range and benefits of careers available.

Name: Kimberly Kelly

School: Vancouver Island University

Program: Marine Mechanical Technician

Graduating Year: Level One 2022, Level Two 2023

Current Workplace: Protection Island Ferry Service

What is your background in the marine industry? Tell us a bit about how you got into the marine industry.

My transition into the marine industry was really inspired by my time working as the marketing and communications manager for the Applied Science Technologist and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC). I was fascinated by the role of technicians in our daily life but even more amazed by the ASTTBC Registrants that I communicated with. They had fulfilling, stable, dynamic careers, both in the office and in the field, doing what they loved. It was a bit of an “A-HA”! moment for me - I did not want to write about these technical professionals, I wanted to BE one!

What made you choose your program?

I completed Level One Marine Service Technician (MST) training with Quadrant Marine Institute in January 2020. During that time, I realized that I wanted to focus my training on mechanics, so I transferred to the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Marine Mechanical Technician (MMT) program in September 2021. 

I intend to continue my MST training with Quadrant once I complete VIU’s MMT program, as I think that the programs really complement each other.

What was your path after graduation and what are you currently doing now?

Current: For the last two years, I have worked as a skipper and technician for the Protection Island Ferry Service

Past: For the last twenty years, I have worked in marketing and communications. Please see my LinkedIn profile for more info. 

Future: Become an employer in the marine industry that empowers people to fulfill their dreams and live a happy, healthy life doing what they love.

What kind of practical experience did you get through your program?

Both programs (Quadrant and VIU) had an incredible amount of hands-on “shop time” with instructors who were both knowledgeable and approachable. I often refer to VIU instructor Barry Benisky a “Marine Jedi”. 

One thing you learned or experienced in your program that you were not  expecting?

The level of support and comradery with the other students in the program. As a mature student, I was really impressed by the depth of technical knowledge that some of the students came to the program with and how willing they were to share their knowledge with others, such as myself, who is a little “greener”.  

What was a highlight of your program? 

The growth of my knowledge base and confidence. 

What is one piece of advice you could give someone entering the marine industry?

Research and understand your opportunities, follow your passion, wear your PPE!

What do you hope to accomplish in the marine industry?

Two goals:

1) Support boaters of all kinds to spend time on the water with family, friends, and in the incredible marine environment that we are so fortunate to have on the west coast.

2) Be an ambassador for marine trades, as well as trades education and vocation.

Are you a power boater, sailor, or both?

Both. We live on an island (Protection Island) so we commute to Nanaimo daily in our 19’ Arima with two kids and a dog. We also own a 19’ Drascombe Lugger and a host of other watercraft: paddleboards, kayaks, dinghies, etc.

Your fondest/funniest memory out on the water?

There are so many, its hard to pick just one. I grew up on Lake Muskoka and have lived on Maui. In my early 20’s, I worked a few summers for watersports outfits in Greece and Spain. (I was a ski bum in the Alps during the winter!)
 
A recent favorite is when Mark (my husband) called me from Nanaimo and said, “There is a report of whales just off Gabriola. Can you meet me on the dock?” I wrapped up a Zoom meeting I was hosting at my home office on Protection Island, packed a cooler, and was on the dock in 15 minutes. My favorite lunch date ever!

By Allegra Smith-Herriot

 

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