Ulrika Quist – General Manager, SeaTec Repairs
Tell us about your background the maritime industry.
My career in the maritime industry started back in 1994 on board the Costa Romantica, as a tour escort working in hospitality. I then progressed to tour manager, covering all shore excursions, flights and other travel arrangements. I was also a port lecturer, specialising in Scandinavian ports as I knew those areas well. It was the best time of my working life!
I then moved to new builds for Prestige (Costa Crociere), working closely with the Technical Director and Superintendents. I then moved to Silversea Cruises where I worked for the Owner as an Executive and personal Assistant for nearly 10 years. Finally, in 2010, I joined SeaTec Repairs, working alongside people I already knew. Back then there were only four of us working in Repairs.
What attracted you to the industry?
Initially I worked for a Swedish travel company and I loved travelling. At that time, I was running a restaurant and wanted a change as I didn’t see a long-term career in the restaurant business. A friend suggested V.Ships, and through them I began to work for Costa Cruise lines, the only non-Italian in the team.
What are your favourite aspects of your role?
I like having the liberty to deal with things. We have built up a solid team and you know who is dealing with everything. We can always count on each other, and I hope the team feel that they get back what they give.
Can you explain what a typical day for you looks like?
I don’t have a typical day! I am always dealing with repairs or administration which varies from one day to the next. I deal with different topics, such as dealing with clients, admin tasks etc. I try to be as reactive as possible and I’m trying to implement new processes and keep team members in the best positive environment.
Can you tell us some highlights and challenges of your career?
I have always been recognised for who I am, across all the companies where I have worked. There are many highlights – previously I organised a cruise for a number of really high-profile people including the Italian President. I loved being on board and still remember it fondly. As well as many highlights, there were many difficulties, but when there is a problem there is always a solution to find.
What are your future aspirations?
I aim to stay in the maritime industry and grow this part of the business I am handling today.
Talk us through the transition from working on board to working onshore.
It was very difficult! You live in your own world when you are at sea. There were no mobile phones when I was at sea, which was good and bad. But, when you have worked at sea and then you work on shore, it’s a good thing as you know who you are talking to and what the challenges are. I believe shore colleagues should have the opportunity to spend a couple of days on board as this could be a good way to understand seafaring colleagues.
What changes have you noticed during your time in the maritime industry?
Today it is more safety focused both on board and on-shore, compared to 20 years ago. It used to be easier going before, due to less safety and today we have more paperwork. An excellent improvement today is that we have a is a better safety culture.
How do you achieve a positive work life balance?
I do a lot of physical activity, I go running at lunchtimes and I love playing table tennis. I am representing Monaco at the World Veteran Table Tennis Championships in Bordeaux this summer, and I am delighted to be sponsored by SeaTec, it’s wonderful to have this kind of support from your employer. I like having the opportunity to work fitness around your day job, as I think it helps you to work better.
What’s your message to women considering a career in the maritime industry?
Go for it! It’s good to see more women graduates coming in through the V.Group scheme. I think the maritime industry has a good future. Working in Maritime Industry is a great platform for any future career.