With a new terminal, two new LNG ferries and the start of an RFP process for up to two or three more, 2017 has been a busy year for Steve Roth, President – Seaspan Ferries Corporation (SFC). Thanks to a $250-million commitment from the Washington family, Roth, promoted to President in March of this year, is overseeing some exciting times at the ferry company whose roots can be traced back to the early 1800s. Blessed with a committed employer, great employees and a pretty good budget to modernize terminals and build new vessels, Roth can’t hide his enthusiasm when it comes to talking about work.
BCSN: Let’s start with a brief overview of your career.
SR: I spent 15 years as a University Men’s Basketball Coach after obtaining my Bachelor degreest in Commerce and Physical Education. I knew it wasn’t a forever job so I got my MBA and joined a firm called RLG International which focused on executive coaching and performance improvement consulting. It was through this job that I was introduced to Seaspan who offered me a position in the spring of 2005. Before moving over to Seaspan Ferries, I was Vice President, Business Development for four years.
BCSN: What prompted the move to the ferry business?
SR: I was involved with the merger and acquisition work for the Van Isle Barge purchase in 2011. So, given my knowledge of the operations I learned through the process, I was asked if I was interested in taking on the position of Vice President.
BCSN: What are the current assets and operations of SFC?
SR: First, our best asset — our staff: we have 175 people split between on-shore workers and mariners. We have seven vessels, including the two LNG ferries that we brought into the fleet this year, two diesel ferries and three articulated tug and barges, one of which is leased (with Sea-Link Marine). Shore-side, we have four terminals — Tilbury and Surrey in the Lower Mainland, and Swartz Bay and Duke Point on the Island.