Q&A with Kenneth Ferguson
The trinidad Guardian / 1 How many years have you been in business?

I started my career in the Oil and Gas industry in 1968 and in 1994 I formed Kenson.

Kenson has been in business for the past twenty-two (22) years. Kenson is a Service Contractor to Oil and Gas Companies in the Energy Sector in Trinidad and Tobago. We provide a full range of managed Operations, Maintenance and Technical support services to our clients Offshore Production Platforms and Onshore Production Facilities.

I foresaw a need for the provision of specialised services done through very skilled and experienced labour for Offshore Production Platforms at a time when no other company in Trinidad & Tobago was providing such services.

As any astute businessman would do, he not only identifies the needs but also assesses the market and then comes up with a strategy to meet those needs using local talent. Thus in 1994, the first company, Kenson Production Services Limited (KPSL) was born.

We employed initially a mere ten employees, all of whom, under my direction, provided highly skilled services to the client.

As demand for Kenson's services increased, a new company, Kenson Operational Services Limited (KOSL) was established in January 2000.

By May 2000, two other supporting companies, Kenson School of Production Technology and PF Engineering & Construction Company Limited were formed. Thus, creating the Kenson Group of Companies which boasts a total of employing well over 350 employees.

2 What has been your

biggest success?

The biggest success has been the formation of the Kenson School of Production Technology which arose out of the need to source competent and experienced individuals to work offshore providing our services. As more and more multinational petroleum companies started to enter Trinidad and Tobago, the demand for Kenson services grew. However, the down side to this was that we began having great difficulty with sourcing locally skilled and experienced nationals to work offshore. The demand was greater than the supply.

They say "necessity is the mother of all inventions" and hence I turned this negative into a positive and established the Kenson School of Production Technology.

My initial goal was to offer job specific training to the young graduates coming out from the technical schools so that a pool of talent could be generated to satisfy the needs of Kenson Production Services Limited and Kenson Operational Services Limited.

The scope of the school however, has since increased and is now open to the public. It is a preferred choice by young professionals in the industry as the Kenson brand has become synonymous with excellent HSSE, Quality, Skill and Value for money and more importantly, it makes them extremely more marketable.

This post-secondary technical school offers a range of programmes in the areas of Operations and Maintenance. The programs offered include Offshore Production Operator Training (OPOT), International Vocational Qualification (IVQ) in Oil and Gas, City and Guilds Certificate in Process Technology and a number of certificate courses, short courses, level four (4) competency assurance programmes and level three programmes.

The school provides a virtual catchment of trained personnel in support of Kenson's operations and the energy sector in general. It is accredited by the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago, is an Energy Institute Learning Affiliate, has Registered Centre Status with the National Training Agency and has received City and Guilds Centre Approval Status since 2010.

To date locally, the Kenson school has trained thousands and has sought to expand this figure through an international market by capitalising on the unique relationship between Trinidad and East Africa. This relationship has allowed Kenson, to sign an MOU with the Ugandan Petroleum Institute to provide programmes in that country and an agreement with GITA Allied Solutions a private company with registered offices in both Nigeria and Trinidad for training for Nigerian students. We have trained nationals of Uganda and Nigeria at our facility in San Fernando.

3 Have you ever failed at any endeavour?

The simple answer is no and it really depends on your definition of failure. Clearly, I do not enter into a new enterprise or venture blindly nor unprepared. I fully evaluate any and all opportunities and many are rejected. Those that do get my nod are properly planned and executed. Even so, some may not achieve your initial expectations or may take longer to achieve those expectations. In any case I am always vigilant of new enterprises ensuring that we modify our plans to meet expected and unexpected challenges in the environment.

4What makes you decide whether you want to enter a new venture?

I always wanted to be in a position to give back to society and my country. So when Amoco now bpTT offered VSEP to all their employees in 1994 I thought this was an opportunity for me to go into my own business. As a businessperson it will give me the opportunity to realise my full potential and leave a legacy. Also helping people by creating employment which will have a positive impact on the unemployment situation. This mindset continues to be my mantra as I encounter new opportunities and decide which ones to continue with and which ones I discard. This also guided my decision when I agreed in 2006 to take office as a political figure, His Worship the Mayor of the City of San Fernando. I saw this as an opportunity where I can serve and give back to the community of San Fernando. I left the running of Kenson to my very competent management team headed by my son Blair and daughter Renée and I focused on my role as Mayor. Indeed it was a bit challenging moving from the private to public sector but I adapted quickly and hit the ground running. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent as Mayor and while it can be said that there is an opportunity for self showmanship, those things are not important to me, what excited me and drove me was meeting the needs of the people.

5 Best piece of advice

you've ever received?

"You have to take risks and make things happen, not wait for them to happen!" Everyone was created for a purpose and finding your purpose makes life easier and more enjoyable. I believe I found my purpose the very first day I started to work in the Energy sector.

6 Have you ever felt like you could lose it all?

No not really. I believe we have been providing a very good service to our clients who are mainly multi- International who have been recognizing us in many ways for our services. Of course, when we see some of the challenges in the environment with oil prices and demands of our clients in response to same, it does occur to me whether we can remain competitive. However, this is momentarily and it does not faze me. We are here to offer a service for which I believe we are competent to offer and have been successful to date. I see no reason to think otherwise in the future.

7What drives you?

As I said before I believe I have found my purpose in life of giving back and helping to build our sector and country. As such work becomes enjoyable especially seeing all the students who have passed through our school doing so well in all areas of the energy sector. I also enjoy seeing the positive impact on the lives and careers of many of the Kenson employees who have stayed with us or moved on over time. I am constantly reminded by this when ex-employees approach me and thank me for the opportunity we provided to give them their start on a satisfying career.

8When did you

recognise that you'd "made it"?

Of course this is a leading question, but surely, I accept that I have been successful in my life career. I not only see it by the by the number of Recognitions and Rewards we have received from our clients and other reputable organisations like the Chambers of Commerce over the years, but also via the verbal interactions that I encounter almost on a daily basis from present and past employees.

9What do most people think about you that may or may not be true?

That I am too serious which may give the impression that I am not too pleased with their company or their performance. I guess it is just my facial expression but I am an easy going personality who enjoys my interactions with people of all walks of life.

10 What do you believe are the key factors to

succeed in business?

Give more and better than you are given! Make decisions without fear! Find and understand your purpose in life! And always, have fun!

Q&A with Kenneth Ferguson

Con Información de The trinidad Guardian


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