Mastering Shipbuilding Management speakers

Tony Graham, MSc, CEng, MBA, FRINA, FICCPM, FREng, RCNC

Visiting Professor at LJMU

Tony Graham sustained a highly successful track record in engineering and programme/project management inside the Ministry of Defence over a 34year career. Tony trained as a Naval Constructor and achieved the rank of Constructor Rear Admiral alongside his appointment as Head of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors.

Whilst he is well known for his leadership of the Battlefield Infrastructure Team during OP TELIC (Iraq War) and his turnaround of both the Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary) project and the MARS Fleet Tanker project, it is his sustainment of the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier programme over a highly challenging seven-year period for which he is perhaps best known.

His final role in the UK Ministry of Defence was as Director Ships procuring and supporting all ships of the Royal Navy (2011-2015).

More recent private sector company roles have included Cammell Laird (Chief Operating Officer) and OCEA Shipbuilding UK Ltd (currently Chairman).

Damian Bloor


Damien Bloor is a naval architect who is the Advisory Group Director of First Marine International (FMI) which is the shipyard technology and maritime market research advisory group within Royal Haskoning DHV.  FMI is active around the world developing shipyards, improving shipyard performance and advising on the development of the shipyard industrial base in several countries.  These include Canada, Australia, the USA, and the UK.  Following his graduation from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Damien began his 40-year career in British Shipbuilders and has since worked in shipyards in 35 countries. These include several start-ups.  He is a specialist in shipyard competitiveness and a fellow of both the Royal Institution of Naval Architects and Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.  

Bob Laslett, CEng, FEI, FIET, HonFAPM, FACostE, FICCPM

Bob is an international businessman who has worked with and advised many major companies around the world.

Founder and Global CEO of international management consultancy Chaucer Group (1987 to 2014) and Founder and Managing Director of global oil and gas services company Onstream Group (1978 to 1985).

A Chartered Engineer, Bob is a recognised expert in project management of capital projects for the Energy, Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals and Infrastructure Sectors, having been recognised as a major influencer and contributor to Project Management in the UK especially in the Offshore Oil and Gas Sector.

He has also been involved with many international Merger & Acquisition programmes including: the acquisition of Germany’s largest oil company Veba Oel (Aral) by BP; the merger of BP and Amoco; the acquisition and integration of Arco and Castrol into BP; and the transition of Fosroc into Dubai based JMH Group.

Bob has been instructed as an expert witness for disputes concerning offshore oil/gas and offshore wind and the associated new build, conversion and modification of vessels for the offshore sector.

During his career Bob has at various times been President of Columbus Oil and Gas, Executive Director of Premier League Football Club Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves), Director of Driver Group plc and Maxwell Stamp plc.

Bob is presently Managing Director of Laslett International Limited where he is involved in projects for renewable energy, sustainable technology, green hydrogen and e-fuels.

Dr Atif Ansar

Dr Atif Ansar is a global megaprojects expert. Atif is the co-founder and Executive Chairman of Foresight Works, which provides Fortune 500 companies with AI technology to accelerate the delivery of big projects such as data centers, rail or power generation assets, large property or industrial developments.

Atif is the Founding Director of the Oxford’s Programme on Sustainable Megaprojects. He is a Senior Fellow on the MSc in Major Programme Management and the Major Projects Leadership Academy (MPLA) for the UK and Australian governments at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

Atif's work is on the confluence of megaprojects, human psychology, and technology. In particular, he is interested in how big capital projects can increase their speed to market and total lifetime value by combining human expertise with technologies such as big data and Artificial Intelligence. Atif’s research on megaprojects is globally influential and several of his papers are among the most cited classics in the field of project management. His work features regularly in the media including in outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the New Yorker, the Financial Times, among others.

Atif has been recognised with a Fellowship by Special Election of Keble College at the University of Oxford, a Visiting Professorship at Tsinghua University (China’s top-ranked university) a Visiting appointment at Stanford University’s Global Projects Center, and external partner-level advisor role at McKinsey & Company.

Atif completed his DPhil (PhD) in 2010. Studying at Brasenose College, Oxford University, he received the prestigious Clarendon Award from the Oxford University Press for his doctorate. He undertook his bachelor’s degree at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he majored in philosophy, politics, and economics.

Dr Peter Ewen

Dr Peter Ewen is a Director of PHE Complexity Controls, a company that provides Consultancy Services for ‘Mega Projects’. He is the lead Consultant and specialises in identifying ways to remove complexity from Mega Projects in order to enable better decision making and risk control. Peter is a Senior Advisor to Foresight Works.

Prior to this Peter was the Engineering Director and a Member of the Executive Directorate of the Mass Transit Rail Corporation of Hong Kong where his responsibilities included driving excellence into the engineering functions, strengthening controls and the check and balance processes, Corporate Safety, long-term asset replacement, and overseeing the procurement and contract administration function.

Peter started his career as an aero-systems engineer in the Royal Air Force attaining the rank of Air Vice-Marshal. He served in many different capacities ranging from Officer Commanding Engineering Wing of the Harrier Force to Chief of Staff Support, Executive Officer and Chief Engineer (Air). In his last role as Director Air Support, Peter was responsible for the procurement, in-service support, and airworthiness of all large-aircraft fleets of the Royal Air Force, including Strategic and Tactical Airlift, Air-to-Air Refuelling, Maritime Patrol, and Air Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance capabilities. He was also responsible for all Air Safety Equipment, commodities and simulators.

Peter is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree and a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours) degree in Engineering. Peter was appointed Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 2015.

Ronald de Vries

Ronald de VriesRonald de Vries, managing director and co-owner of Floorganise, is at the forefront of steering shipyards towards operational excellence through innovative solutions. Leading Floorganise, a rapidly growing IT company and technology partner serving around 30 leading shipyards across Europe and North America, he leverages his extensive experience as a former chartered controller and independent management consultant.

Floorganise specializes in deploying LEAN processes and cutting-edge digital tools, revolutionizing the way shipyards manage their operations. Under Ronald's leadership, Floorganise has become synonymous with efficiency, offering tailored solutions that streamline processes for optimal productivity at repair and new construction yards.

In 2009, Ronald earned his Master's degree in Business Administration and General Management from Groningen University, complemented by an Executive Master of Finance and Control, earning him the title of a chartered financial controller.

Beyond his role at Floorganise, Ronald serves as a valuable board member for the Netherlands Maritime Technology trade association, contributing to the industry's direction. Additionally, he actively supports SMEs as a board member of MKB Regio Zwolle.

Ronald de Vries leads Floorganise's transformative journey, contributing to its rapid growth and prominence as a key technology partner for approximately 30 leading shipyards in Europe and North America. Through his strategy, Floorganise continues to shape the maritime landscape with LEAN processes and innovative digital tools, setting a new standard for operational efficiency in the industry. Floorganise has its headquarters in Zwolle, the Netherlands. It also holds an R&D office in Spain and local support offices in Australia and North America. 

Ian Schumacker, MSc CEng CMarEng FIMarEST CMIOSH

Ian SchumackerIan is a former Royal Fleet Auxiliary Commodore Engineer Officer serving until June 2019, following on as Marine Engineer Consultancy Associate with Global Reach Marine (Consultancy & Surveyors) UK Ltd, undertaking ship surveys, followed by, Principal Test and Commissioning Manager for Cammell Laird on the new build RSS SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH and Royal Navy T45 HMS DAUNTLESS, supporting the new main power plant fit, until late 2021.  

A highly competent Program and Project Manager with over 45 years’ experience of shipboard operations, maintenance and machinery, system fault/failure analysis, project management of environment health and safety systems, Engineering Support (new build, conversion & repair activity), Ship materiel inspections and Refit Tender and Specification preparation and cost evaluation.  A qualified Lead Auditor ISO 9001:2000 and ISM Code and certified for Auditing High Level Integrated Management Systems with an MSc in Occupational Health & Safety Management.

Duncan Swinson

Duncan SwinsonWith a 25-year career in the marine industry, Duncan began as a design Naval Architect with consultancies including Ocean Fleets and Australian Defence Industries designing to meet specification and classification rules.

In 2001 Duncan joined Germanischer Lloyd in Europe, training at various shipyards in Germany and become a New Construction Surveyor in South Korea for 8 large container ships. Returning to Britain, he joined Lloyds, working with Vosper Thornycroft on Offshore Patrol Vessels, BAe on Type 45, Cammell Laird on Aircraft Carrier, and on the Sir David Attenborough research vessel. Alongside there have been numerous repair and conversion works such as double hulling Fort Victoria. With Damen Shipyard, they completed the Windermere ferry on the car park! Together with many other various smaller boats in GRP and Aluminium. For the majority of this time Duncan's has been involved with commercial and naval projects (existing and new construction) bringing commercial best practice and regulation to the naval sector.

Kevin Daffey

Kevin Daffey

Kevin Daffey is responsible for Rolls-Royce Solutions Governmental Engineering and NautIQ Solutions leading a global team of over 230 engineers to deliver Marine and Naval, Power, Propulsion, Automation, Electrical and Autonomous systems for both Commercial and Naval marine sectors.  Kevin is a seasoned leader with over two decades of experience in the marine industry, fostering innovation and efficiency. In 2020 he successfully oversaw the acquisition and integration of Servowatch Systems Ltd into RR Power Systems, strengthening Rolls-Royce’s marine automation capability. As a key member of Rolls-Royce Marine Executive Management team, Kevin, as Engineering & Technology Director at Royce-Royce Marine, also delivered £120 million in Product Development in power, propulsion, deck machinery, automation, electrical and autonomous technologies over three years, further solidifying his expertise in the sector.  Kevin's extensive experience extends to the UK Ministry of Defence, where he served for three years as a Subject Matter Expert for electrical and software systems and was a trusted advisor into UK Surface ship and submarine programs, with roles in the supply chain, MOD Naval Authority, and leading independent design and technical reviews.

In 2020, Kevin Daffey became the 118th President of the Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST), representing 19,000 Marine Engineers and Scientists.  In 2022 Kevin became Chair of the IMarEST Board of Trustees, He has presented to the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) and UK Parliamentary Committees on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship, contributing significantly to discussions in the maritime and engineering spheres.  In 2022, Kevin was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering for his major contributions in electric propulsion, dynamic positioning, artificial intelligence and electrical safety.

Dr Eddie Blanco-Davis, LJMU

Dr Eddie Blanco-Davis started his position as a lecturer and LOOM member in July 2015. Eddie obtained a BSc on Marine Engineering and Shipyard Management from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y., in 2004, and sailed shortly as a member of the engine department on different commercial containerships. He also holds an MSc and a PhD from the Department of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. After carrying out water and fuel treatment servicing for various industry diesel-powered generation plants, he performed as a project manager collectively for 4 years at repair shipyards in Panama and Mexico. His research interests include human factors applied to shipboard and pilotage operations; Life Cycle Assessment applied to marine operations and machinery; sustainable development, energy efficiency, renewable energy; marine environmental protection and regulation, including emission control, ship ballast water management and alternatives, and environmentally sound marine propulsion systems.

Prof Keith George

I am currently the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at LJMU.  Prior to my appointment as PVC in February 2020 I have previously been Associate Dean for Scholarship, Research and Knowledge Transfer in the Faculty of Science, Head of the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, interim Director of School of Sport and Exercise Sciences as well as Professor of Exercise and Cardiovascular Physiology.

My background is as a cardiovascular physiologist interested in the health and wellbeing of different human populations from elite athletes to clinical groups. I attained my undergraduate degree in Sport Sciences from Liverpool Polytechnic in 1987 then went on to complete an MSc in Exercise Physiology at Queens University Canada (as a Commonwealth Scholar recipient) and my PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University. I returned to LJMU as a member of staff in January 2002. My research focus in recent years has been to support the athlete cardiac pre-participation screening programme at LJMU, undertaking basic research and developing applied service research that has support two REF Impact Case Studies. In addition, I have been a strong supporter of the local and international "Global Active Cities" program. This was initially a collaborative program between TAFISA (International Sport for All), Evaleo and the IOC - with LJMU as the Academic partner - and has resulted in 10 cities being acknowledged as Global Active Cities. I continue this work now as non-executive Board member of TAFISA in combination with multiple colleagues at LJMU. I am also an active supporter of the current Research England grant at LJMU promoting the development of a professional structure/recognition for Clinical Exercise Physiologists (CEP-UK).

Sebastian Greshake, Dr.-Ing. (PhD)

Sebastian, the dedicated founder of Seavizor, has committed himself to the vision to make shipbuilding so reliable that every single project is delivered on time and on budget. Holding a PhD in Naval Architecture which was honoured by the German Society for Maritime Technology, Sebastian combines a deep academic background with practical experience in the shipbuilding industry as well as train manufacturing. As managing director at D5 Software GmbH, the company behind the product, he strategically bridges software development and customer needs, directly addressing the day-to-day challenges faced by shipbuilders.