Gene Douglas, long-time general counsel with Bradford Marine, has retired from the shipyard to start his own consulting firm.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Douglas said over tea recently. “It’s an exciting time and an exciting industry, and I’m happy to be able to continue with my laptop and my smartphone.”
Trained as a lawyer, Douglas didn’t do the typical law firm work for long. In one of his first professional jobs, he met Hans Hvide, a man he said would become a mentor to him. He join his company, then-Port Everglades Towing and stayed with the commercial shipping firm for two decades.
“He was a wonderful man, I learned a lot,” Douglas said. “I had no idea I’d stay there over 22 years.”
One of his duties with Mr. Hvide was managing his yacht, with the only rules being that when it needed service, it was to be taken to Bradford Marine.
“I told him we could get the work done cheaper elsewhere and he said no, that’s where he wanted it,” Douglas said, illustrating one of the characteristics that kept him in Hvide’s employ for two decades: loyalty.
After Hvide Marine went public in the 1990s and Mr. Hvide retired, the atmosphere at the company changed. When the opportunity came to work at Bradford, he took it. For the past 11 years, Douglas was legal counsel and well as head of sales and marketing. He left the shipyard in July.
He’s ready now, he said, for more career flexibility so he can visit with his six children and eight grandchildren. His target now is helping companies in their legal needs, including negotiating and drafting contracts, managing projects, troubleshooting corporate moves and facilitating strategic planning.
“I’m glad to be able to continue Bradford’s legal work and will continue to represent them with MIASF and the Port Everglades Association,” he said.
His goal, though, is to work with people who are willing to look for and work toward solutions, building relationships as they go.
“Bradford taught me that; Hvide taught me that,” he said. “And I’ve told this to brokers over the years. You have to be service-oriented. There are a lot of good owners and professional captains and crew in this industry. You have got to render service to them.”
Contact him through www.genedouglaslegal.com.
Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of the Triton. Comments on this story are welcome at email@example.com.