Ministry of Public Works Staff Promotions

29 November, 2019

Good Morning Mr. Acting Speaker,

I really enjoy when I can deliver good news - and two weeks ago - I was able to do just that. Mr. Acting Speaker, recently I held a press conference on the most recent promotions within the Ministry of Public Works and I am happy to now also share that news with this House. As most of you know I thrive on seeing Bermudians succeed and I consider it to be a privilege to highlight some of our most recent appointments and promotions – in this case – 4 Bermudians trained to fill key roles within the Ministry of Public Works.

The first person that I wish to recognize is our new Chief Surveyor, Mr. Steven Conway. Mr. Acting Speaker, the Chief Surveyor heads the Department of Public Lands & Buildings within the Ministry. Steve is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and brings over 40 years’ experience in the management of lands and buildings. He worked for the Bermuda Housing Corporation for 12 years and later served as property manager for the Bermuda National Trust. He joined the Ministry of Public Works 5 years ago as a Senior Estates Surveyor. Mr. Acting Speaker, Steve has acted in the position of Chief Surveyor on many occasions, consistently performing at a high standard - thus making the decision to appoint him to the substantive post an easy one. He succeeds another Bermudian, Mr. Chris Farrow who has been promoted to Permanent Secretary – currently posted to the Ministry of Labour, Community Affairs & Sport.

Mr. Acting Speaker, three years ago, on August 21st, 2016 a Chief Engineer was hired - his name is Yves Lortes, or ‘Bob’ as he is more commonly known. At the outset - Bob had a very clear self-imposed mission - to identify and train a Bermudian to succeed him before his departure. So with a mission like that – upon my arrival at the Ministry - I declared him “my favorite foreigner!”

Let me add Mr. Acting Speaker, not only did he identify, train, mentor and prepare his successor to fill the post, he did the same for so many others throughout the department. Let me also state for the record that Bob was always crystal clear that he would have a qualified, able Bermudian ready to fill the post and he would not stay one day past his 3-year contract - he was true to his word, handing over the reins on August 21st, 2019.

Oh, to have that be the norm for all guest workers!

Mr. Acting Speaker, his successor as Chief Engineer, is Mr. Kirk Outerbridge, who holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering as well as a Professional Engineering Designation. Kirk was the Plant Manager at Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility for the better part of the last 12 years and was quickly identified as Bob’s successor. Since 2016 he has also been the Assistant Chief Engineer. Bob said after just a few weeks in Bermuda, it was obvious that Kirk had everything necessary to be the Chief Engineer. He stated that Kirk was a natural leader and technically very strong. As a Chief Engineer, you must be very open-minded and even more so, very curious and he stated that Kirk is both of those.

Tynes Bay, which was opened in 1993, could be at the end of its life expectancy, but due to Kirk’s management, leadership and the dynamic team there, it is maintained so well and continues to run efficiently. Mr. Acting Speaker, during his term at Tynes Bay Kirk introduced a power engineering training program, created a solid waste contingency system for the island and acted as the owner’s representative/project manager for the installation of a new turbine generator……and those are just a few of his achievements, so needless to say Mr. Acting Speaker, he is the best choice for our new Chief Engineer.

So, now having created a gap at Tynes Bay Mr. Acting Speaker – Bob set about finding someone to fill that gap. He soon identified Mr. Nasir Wade, to succeed Kirk as the new Plant Manager at Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility. Nasir has seamlessly taken over the management of the plant and stepped into the post left vacant by Kirk’s promotion. Mr. Acting Speaker, Nasir, having obtained both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University, following graduation accepted a position as Project Engineer with the United States Federal Government in their Central Heating and Cooling Power Plant, in Washington, D. C. He gained invaluable experience, skills, and training as a Project Engineer.

In 2013, he returned to Bermuda to assume the role of Maintenance Engineer at Tynes Bay. Mr. Acting Speaker, in his 6 years at the Facility, Nasir has successfully managed numerous capital works projects, decreased unplanned downtime and initiated strategic required maintenance, resulting in less emergency repairs. At present, Nasir is managing the installation of a new preventative maintenance system which will transform and modernize the way in which the work at the plant is managed and increase and improve plant efficiency. Mr. Acting Speaker, he is a natural successor to Kirk at Tynes Bay.

This now brings me to Bob’s final Bermudian recruit, the new Principal Mechanical Engineer at the Quarry, Mr. Abayomi Carmichael. Mr. Acting Speaker, Abayomi joined us in July of this year succeeding a guest worker who has returned to his native Wales. He was previously Vice President of Risk Management & Analysis for the Ascendant Group Ltd. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. His first mandate at the Quarry is modernizing maintenance strategies for the 600 vehicles under our remit. He also has far more complex, long term goals to modernize and upgrade the facility and staff. He follows in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather – who previously worked in the Ministry of Public Works.

Mr. Acting Speaker, each one of these individuals are living examples of what can happen if we invest and believe in the capabilities of Bermudians. We can train them to fill all manner of posts and yes, that also means that we may have to utilize the expertise of experienced expatriates to get them where they need to be, but always with the ultimate goal of providing opportunities for qualified Bermudians. Mr. Acting Speaker, I will continue to highlight these success stories for the very reason that in the Ministry of Public Works, there are many more to come - a number of our star summer students are right now working towards degrees in Engineering, Project Management, and Architecture…….so, we will be showcasing stories of success for years to come.

Mr. Acting Speaker, they join us in the gallery today so that we may all warmly congratulate them on their appointment to these new positions – wish them well in their careers and encourage them to follow the example applied to them – to help other Bermudians achieve their full potential too.

Thank you, Mr. Acting Speaker.