You have been with Hill Robinson from the start, what is your connection with Nick and Niall?
I have been with Hill Robinson for 17 years, though my first connection was with Niall 20 years ago as we both worked together in the same management department of another yachting company.
One day, Niall had asked me to discuss something after work in a TABAC bar down the road. I found it a bit of a strange choice but it soon became apparent why, as he explained to me his ideas of a yacht management company that he was going to start up with his friend, Nick Hill- who he knew from their time working on yachts as captains. This became a regular meeting point for us to discuss ideas and set the stage for getting the company going.
Together with Nick, Niall and another soon to be colleague, we all went out for Japanese food and drinks one night in St. Laurent du Var. I received my first "job contract" on half a beer mat, signed by all four.
Throughout the years, what were the most important milestones for you?
Since Hill Robinson started, we were officially a team of only four people. We were the jack of all trades-partly being a yacht manager, accountant, marketeer, business development and even receptionist. So definitely, one major milestone for me was the first 5 years in the company. Nick would joke that we would be able to retire if we reached 5 years , so it shook me to reach that 5-year mark and reflect on how far the company had gone.
As the company expanded over time, I took on the specific role of managing Yacht Accountants. Ten years in the company, the staff had planned a surprise lunch for me to celebrate. However, not so much of a surprise as the email about "Trina's surprise lunch" was accidentally sent to me as well! All eyes on me at the office, I tried my best to play it off as though I did not see a thing. Within minutes, a colleague that had access to my emails slyly deleted it.
I didn't want everyone to know that I already knew about the "surprise lunch", so my plan was to act my way through the morning and give my impression of being pleasantly surprised. Little did I know, no acting was necessary. I walked into the restaurant and once I saw everyone there waiting for my entrance, I couldn't help but burst into tears! That moment was special and it meant a lot to me.
What is it about your job that has kept you for nearly two decades in the company?
I absolutely love my job. I love the different tasks that come up in yacht accounting but especially the Hill Rob family of colleagues/friends. Nick and Niall are still the bosses, though they are also personal friends with years of BBQs, dinners and great moments together. The staff are important to HR and in return I think that's what makes people happy and dedicated to the overall success of the company. It's worth saying that almost the entire yacht accounts team has been here for over seven years!
How has it felt for you to see and experience the immense growth of Hill Robinson throughout the years?
I can’t believe we are now heading for 17 years! I’m still very proud of where the company has got to today and am looking forward to its future opportunities.
How do you see the company in a few years?
I know Hill Robinson will continue to thrive and expand in the next few years. However, even after all of these years of considerable growth, Hill Robinson remains as a “family”. People that care and are dedicated and proud about the successes of the company.
Isle of Man Special Projects Division
This important initiative is being driven by Karl H Hartmann and co-founder of Hill Robinson, Niall Robinson, and growing at a face pace. Karl comments on the current position: "We have been very active in the procurement of several seaplanes for our clients as well as building a comprehensive support package to operate and manage a fleet of fixed wing aircraft of helicopters. Building on this, we formulated a special division, Hill Robinson Aviation and added several new aeronautical specialists to our team who have hands on experience in not only managing aircraft from a technical point of view but are also highly experienced pilots.
The evolving aviation proposition widens the scope by offering customers an all-encompassing aviation service. Procurement is an important platform but Hill Robinson Aviation sketches out into all the management and operational facets to ensure that all bases are covered for demanding customers. The team can now offer specialist services such as new-build and customisation of all types of aircraft including the commissioning, in other words, the whole project management process".
On building new working relationships with aviation suppliers, Karl adds, "Firstly, we are always interested in measuring our performance, especially as we are dealing with major players in the market. We were surprised to find out that we were considered hard task-masters in the procurement and delivery cycle but pleased that this was seen as a positive help to our supplier operations who have incorporated some of our systems. Nice to hear!
Regarding new business, we have been able to demonstrate to clients that we are approaching their aviation requierements in a fresh, highly efficient and cost effective manner. Word has spread because we are getting solid enquiries from Family Offices who are finding the aviation support requirement a headache as the complexity grows. We see Family Offices being a major touch point for our growth as a 'one-stop-aviation-shop'.
For me getting involved in aviation, especially as I really love anything to do with flying, has its bright moments like a recent trip to Canada and getting up in a Canadair 'scooper' firefighting flying boat".
The Isle of Man Government has welcomed the decision from European Finance Ministers not to place the Island on the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.
The Isle of Man was among 92 jurisdictions screened by the Code Group, The ECOFIN announcement follows the report by the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which gave the Isle of Man a fully compliant rating for tax transparency. This placed the Island as one of the only three countries so far to be given the top compliant rating in both the first and second round of reviews.
Chief Minister, Howard Quayle said, "We have had a constructive dialogue with the Code Group and we have made a high level of commitment to address its concerns. This Government will create an Island of enterprise and opportunity. We have a strong and diverse economy which we will grow, alongside encouraging a skilled workforce to relocate to the island. We can do that while ensuring we meet our EU and international commitments."
Bahia Mar Redevelopment Plans
Ten years from now, the publicly owned Bahia Mar area, the centerpiece of FLIBS for nearly 60 years will be virtually unrecognizable. A large part of the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show takes place here and development plans unveiled early 2017, will undoubtedly have an impact on the world's largest boat show.
The Marine Industries Association of South Floria (MIASF), which owns FLIBS, extended its lease of the site through to 2050 and having worked closely with the development team, were pleased with the results in order to meet the ongoing needs of the show.
Bahia Mar's redevelopment plan compromises of over 600 apartments in seven towers, restaurants and marine-related business space, a strip of low rise buildings - a marina village with kiosks, outdoor eating and a modernized marina with a public promenade around the water's edge.
The existing hotel would eventually be replaced with a new 256-room hotel. The garage of which, would have 75,000 square feet that would be converted into convention space at boat show time. This means that exhibitors, rather than being housed in tents, will be in a space with permanent air conditioning and lightning.
Kobi Karp, a prominent Miami architect who designed the Bahia Mar remodel, said the towers are elevated four stories over an "open aperture," allowing visitors to see the yachts and waterway from many vantage points. "You can have the experience of the water all the way around," Karp said, "We are giving the land and its functions and uses to the community."
The Bahia Mar plans have not been without controversy. Initially, the vision was for two 39-stpreu apartment buildings, turned down by the authorities was then reproposed as two 29-storey apartments. However, public outcry and lack of support from the boat show caused the withdrawal of this idea.
We look forward to watching this development progress.
Monaco Expansion: Anse Le Portier
For many years, Monaco, the most densely populated country in the world, has adapted its urban planning to the small size of its territory - just two square kilometres - by building up or down into its rock foundations, with modest extensions into the sea. But a new offshore urban project is creating a district of six additional hectares, launched with great ambitions in terms of sustainable development and environmental protection with a special focus in respect for the marina environment.
The 10 year plan aims to recover land from the Mediterranean to build homes in a move which has been given the green light by Prince Albert II. The complex seen as a vital commodity for Monaco's growth, will be situated in a New Le Portier district.
Next to the Larvotto beach, it will include an extension of the Grimaldi Forum congress centre to enable it to be used as a venue for larger events, as well as luxury homes, shops and a 30-berth marina. In accordance with Prince Albert's wishes, the project will be as eco-sustainable as possible in terms of both construction processes and materials sused, and there will be no shortage of green public spaces, including a landscaped park. A big feature we expect will be a promenade around the perimeter and along the waterfront, a shaded, planted passageway running the length of the Japanese Garden, the Grimaldi Forum and the new Forum extension.
Architects are at the heart of this process. Valode and Pistre Architects and Renzo Piano Building Workshop are the two internationally renowned firms that coordinate the work of design teams to bring together design, aesthetics, energy efficiency and sustainable development. Associated with landscape architect Michel Desvigne, they introduce a natural space within this artificial extension.
Fulfilling the brief, the firms have taken extra measures to preserve the wildlife in the Mediterranean including moving important species to a new reserve and creating an artificial reef for the animals that remain. Started at the end of 2016, the work should be completed by 2025.