With the severe slump in oil prices continuing to bring down one of the major sectors of our industry, I didn’t think that the International WorkBoat Show held earlier this month would be the best ever. It wasn’t.
But it was far from the worst, and topped many people’s expectations. Several exhibitors, among them a Gulf shipyard, told me that it was a great show for their company, perhaps the best ever. Reports like that was good news for me and the scores of people in our company that work all year to ensure that the annual WorkBoat Show is a success. It also bodes well for the future. Many shipyards, operators and others that don’t have all their eggs in the energy basket anticipate a good year in 2016.
One way to do this is to ensure that your company is flexible and is keeping up with the latest developments and trends in the workboat industry. Former NFL great Joe Theismann opened the WorkBoat show on Dec. 1 by delivering such a message during his keynote address. He reminded attendees to be open to changes that are occurring in the marine business, as they can lead to new opportunities. “That’s why this show is so important to every one of you. See as many things as you can. How can this work to make us more efficient, to make us more dependable?”
Before his keynote address, Theismann greeted future leaders of our industry — graduates of the WorkBoat Strategic Leadership Development Program. He handed out certificates to the graduates, capping the second year of the joint program with Louisiana State University’s Executive Leadership Program. Theismann told the class of maritime professionals, “leadership the way I define it is purely influence.” In two years, the WorkBoat/LSU program has graduated 32 midcareer students. A third class is forming for 2016.
The other featured speaker at the show was energy industry analyst Dr. Kent Moors. He said it’s a mistake to look at the market as a surplus meeting demand collapse, when it’s really a window into a future where other emerging suppliers will continue to challenge the old order dominated by petro-states. Moors added that continued low oil prices through winter 2015-2016 will bring continued financial difficulty – and with it more mergers and acquisitions – to the U.S. oil patch before price recovery begins by the third quarter of 2016
His talk, like several others at the show, was well attended and well received. I believe the energy sector will continue to struggle in 2016, but other workboat sectors should see steady business. Thus, I am already looking forward to the 37th WorkBoat Show in December 2016. Happy New Year.