Having joined our team in September 2022, Ardmore’s Chief Financial Officer, Bart Kelleher, reflects on his career path, and the new chapter he’s embracing as he settles into the new role.
Recently joining the Ardmore team as Chief Financial Officer brought back many memories of other first days on the job, including the first time I joined a vessel as a young third officer. While some may think that the jobs are quite different, I found the onboarding process to be very similar in many respects.
In the Summer of 1996, I vividly remember the adventure of flying to New Orleans and preparing to join my first commercial vessel on my maiden voyage as a deck officer. A sense of uncertainty, excitement, nervousness, and anticipation were all part of the equation. Uncertainty was front and center as I called the ship agent from a payphone in the airport and was told, “I am not quite sure exactly where the vessel is, but she was headed upriver last I heard…” After a long taxi ride and multiple checks along the Mississippi River’s levies, we found the ship!
After a short launch ride, I was climbing up the gangway of the Overseas Washington, a 90,000 dwt San Clemente-class, US-flagged crude oil tanker. A third officer greeted me, helped me with my bag, and introduced me to the crew on deck. From there, it was a series of rapid introductions, officially signing onboard, safety overviews, and heading out on deck to start learning as much as possible. An exciting and overwhelming time.
In September last year, I experienced similar thoughts flying to Ireland to start my first day with Ardmore. I was very excited to join such a strong company and team and anxious to meet with team members in person and get to know them. I was also grasping the challenges ahead, especially how much there was to learn. In many ways, I felt like the new mate joining a vessel.
Following the maritime industry spirit, my introduction to, and ramp up with Ardmore were greatly accelerated by relying on my “shipmates.” Co-workers across the company were so willing to make introductions, explain detailed processes multiple times, give essential feedback, offer additional help, and most importantly, provide encouragement.
During my first at sea watch at the mouth of the Mississippi River, after dropping the pilot at Southwest Pass, I remember thinking, “What’s a rig, what’s a fishing boat, what’s a vessel?” Now at Ardmore, it was a wide range of acronyms from ETP (Energy Transition Plan) and GMT (General Management Team) to EBITDAR (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization, and Rent Costs) and SOFR (Secured Overnight Financing Rate), as well as other challenges such as earnings season preparation, annual budget analysis, financial reporting requirements, and capital allocation evolutions. Through it all, our Ardmore “shipmates” have greatly accelerated the process and made the onboarding experience a very positive one.
Whether at sea or ashore, it’s important to remember what it feels like to climb the gangway for the first time in a new setting. Let’s continue the great maritime industry and Ardmore traditions of helping our new team members get acclimated, all while maintaining the positive support network which has such a profound impact.
I’d like to extend my thanks to all who have been so supportive and helpful on my recent trip up the gangway. I am very happy to be on this voyage with all of you.