Port of Vancouver Maintenance Team – Partnership and Expertise
The Port of Vancouver’s maintenance department is pivotal to keeping our operations and facilities working in top condition. You may see their team out working on the rail lines, a construction site or testing the fire system in a port building. But they are much more than that behind the scenes.
Facilities and Fleet Manager Chris Jackson and his team keep the port firing on all cylinders. On the facilities side there are skilled electricians, operating engineers, sprinkler fitters, carpenters, laborers, mechanics, a plumber and pile buck. Their areas of responsibility range from electrical and chainsaw work, to welding, wood work and even bulldozer maintenance.
“We have top notch craftsmen here at the port,” said Jackson. “They’ll take a motor out of a bulldozer, fix it, install it and even perform fabrication saving the port and taxpayers money.”
Chris and his team are always thinking about how they can continue to find expertise and plan for the future. For the second year in a row, they have partnered with the Laborers Union (LiUNA 335) on apprenticeship opportunities.
The port’s use of the apprenticeship program has become more consistent in the last few years. It is an outstanding way for younger generations of union workers and journeymen to gain knowledge and experience at the port, and it aids in meeting some of the maintenance goals outlined in our Strategic Plan.
Apprentices have assisted with paving, gutter repair/installation, landscaping, and roof repairs to name just a few tasks. The 2019 apprenticeship program ran from June 10 through October 31 and brought Larry Nugent and Kaley Bates to the port.
“Everyone treats you as part of the port family and is willing to teach you,” said Nugent who now has over 2,000 hours logged as an apprentice. What advice does Nugent have for those looking to excel in this field? “Work hard and be willing to learn.”
Jackson says that he would like to see the program expand to different types of work within the port and that other foremen have seen the positive impacts of bringing on apprentices. “Many of our staff have been with the port for a number of years,” Chris states. “It is so great to see them be able to share their knowledge with a new generation of workers.”
The port’s history isn’t just the blue prints and old photos, it’s the people who live through it and see the landscape change. The port is proud to have a strong maintenance department and we thank them for their fantastic work.