This book is a compilation of many of my working trips around the world. All the stories are true, and if I forgot some details, I mention that in my narrative. I wanted to tell my readers about insights into people and cultures witnessed and learned, not just to write a simple travelogue. Sometimes looking back at the opportunities my career has given me, and I have to “pinch myself” and ask, “Did I really do all of this?” Many traveling business people hate their nomadic life, but except for a few minor glitches (and the increased airport security after 9/11/2001), I really enjoyed my travels, my work, and the wonderful people I worked with and met because of my travels.
Bob Ojala has a BSE in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan, Class of 1970. Bob spent four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, 17 years with the American Bureau of Shipping, and 8-1/2 years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in addition to 30 years in his own business (including the time while with the USACE). Bob is still active in marine surveying.
Bob is a Wisconsin native with Finnish roots. His father was a Merchant Mariner for 32 years, giving Bob the interest in the Maritime Industry, but not the desire to be a sailor.
Bob worked as a Naval Architect, designing small passenger vessels, tugs, and barges after graduation. However, Bob found he enjoyed working in the shipyard, with the workers, more than sitting in the design office.
When the opportunity came to join the American Bureau of Shipping, working as a Field Surveyor, inspecting ships, and equipment going into shipbuilding, Bob thought this was what he was looking for.
Eventually, Bob started his own Marine Surveying & Consulting business. Because Great Lakes clients were slow in changing loyalties, Bob began traveling the world, surveying (inspecting) cruise ships, tankers, drydocks, and even some warships. Bob also performed investigations of accidents, pollution incidents, and several accidental deaths.
Although he lost track after a while, Bob visited over 65 countries and worked in at least 58 of those. Bob sent home E-mails with his observations of the cultures he experienced during these travels, in addition to the more interesting parts of the work he performed. This book tries to give his impressions of the people he met, both good and bad, as well as descriptions of the vessels he worked on and the accidents he investigated.