Candidate Profile

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History - Maritime
Science - General
Bob Collins (B.SC, MBA) is a graduate metallurgist and businessman with over thirty years professional experience working in the UK and internationally. Bob initially worked as a metallurgist in the energy sector advising on materials selection, manufacturing and fabrication methods and failure analysis, including working on the James Fisher Fleet of ships based in Barrow and supporting the nuclear industry. Subsequently Bob transitioned into commercial roles including sales and marketing before focusing on strategy and business planning as a Vice President in the Westinghouse Electric global nuclear business. During this time Bob worked with the Devonport Dockyard in the UK. Bob finally set up his own business providing consultancy on strategy, business planning, acquisitions and corporate alliances. Bob has extensive experience speaking to audiences large and small on cruises, at universities or local groups and at business events such as conferences and exhibitions.

Bob has developed his portfolio of talks based on a deep interest in both maritime history and the influence of materials on the world of today.
A total of 12 talks are ready to go with two further talks in preparation.

Talks on Maritime History

Talks 1 and 2 on the subject: ‘A Short History of Iron and Steel in Ship Building’

Talk 1 – Before the Industrial Revolution
Beginning with an introduction to the subject by using the cruise ship as an example of the modern-day use of steel these talks discuss how we have progressed from all wooden boats to huge ships where steel is all around us.
Part 1 is focused on the growth of iron and steel use in wooden ships. The talk includes items on how new steels may have influenced the development of the marine chronometer and the measurement of longitude. The talk concludes with the development of iron and steel on an industrial scale and the first all iron boat.
Itinerary Focus: Can be adapted to suit many regions where there is a strong maritime history.

Talk 2 – Steam and Steel
Using some iconic example ships, e.g., SS Great Britain, this talk illustrates how steel came to be the dominant material in ship building and how steel making technology has evolved and continues to evolve to meet the needs of naval architects. The talk concludes with a discussion of materials in use in ship building today, using superyachts as an example of how steel continues to be important but there are more options to choose from now.
Itinerary Focus: Can be adapted to suit many regions where there is a strong maritime history.

Talk 3 – Common words and phrases with a maritime origin.
This talk takes a humorous look at the origin of many common maritime phrases that are in use today.
There are many phrases in common use in the English language today where we all understand the modern meaning, but the origin has been lost in time. Some of these have a maritime origin and they have a connection to our naval history – but it can be hard to know when that connection is true!
Itinerary Focus: Will be relevant to any cruise and can be adapted to focus on specific ports of call.

Talks in Development:

A – The Tides – What Causes them and their impact on history
Tides are an every day part of the maritime world but few people truly understand why they happen and the effects that they can have on our world. This talk takes a look at the science behind tides and considers some of the historical events that have been influenced by tides.
Itinerary Focus: Can be tailored to consider the tidal effects in particular regions or ports.

B - Companies that Changed the World
Some maritime companies or trade groups have had a big influence on creating the world as we know it today. This talk looks at three of them:
• The Hanseatic League
• The East India Companies
• The Hudson Bay Company
Itinerary Focus: Particularly relevant to cruises in the North and Baltic Seas, the Indian Ocean and Canada

Talks on Materials

Talk 4 - From the Stone Age to Superconductors – How Metals Changed the World
This talk illustrates how the production and use of metals has been a driving force in the development of the world as we know it today. The beginnings of the Bronze Age are explored, as are each of the next major steps in civilization from the Iron Age through the Industrial Revolution and on to the third industrial revolution that we are in today. At each step we can see that the availability of metals in the right quality and quantity are the key to enabling that step to happen. The technology of metals is further explored through major failures such as the Titanic, the BEA Comet and Liberty Ships.
Itinerary Focus: Can be adapted to ports which are sources of materials

Talk 5 – Magical Materials - From Ancient Greece to Avatar
This talk begins with the study of Alchemy, with Aristotle in Ancient Greece, and progresses through the development of the modern Periodic Table to present a story of how materials from the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, such as Unobtanium in Avatar, are not so strange as they might at first appear.
Itinerary Focus: Can be adapted to ports which are sources of materials.

‘Atlantic Stories’
Talks 6 - 12
Today the Atlantic Ocean is one of the major transport zones of the world with over $700billion of merchandise travelling every year, but there have been many lessons to be learned along the way, from understanding the nature of this ocean to ethical issues and conflicts and on to ship design and construction.
This set of talks discusses how crossing the Atlantic has developed over four thousand years from exploration to mass transport.

Talk 6 The Atlantic Challenge
This first talk of the set focuses on the geography and climate of the Atlantic, considering wind patterns, sea currents, hurricanes and icebergs, including a discussion of the Sargasso Sea and the Bermuda Triangle. Through this we can see why the ‘Western Ocean’, as early sailors knew it, was such a challenge to early explorers and why it continues to demand respect from travellers today.
The talk includes a look at how the Atlantic Ocean has changed over time and how man might be influencing this today.

Talk 7 Who was first?
There continues to be debate about who was the first to cross the Atlantic and discover ‘The Americas’. This talk looks at the early explorers who may or may not have been the first to reach the Americas and what we mean by ‘the first’, ranging from Thor Heyerdahl and his reeds boat theory through to the origin of European influence in the Americas.
This talk includes discussion of the type of ships used by the early explorers, from reeds through Viking long boats and the ships of Christopher Columbus.

Talk 8 Empires and Pirates
The Americas rapidly became an extension of the battlefields of Europe for the great maritime nations of the 15th and 16th Centuries as well as potentially sources of great wealth. And great wealth at sea would lead to the development of the tradition of pirates and privateers that is now looked back on with such an air of romance.
This talk explores how England, France, Spain and Portugal sought to exploit the newly discovered territories as both new places of empire and finance for their ongoing wars in Europe and looks at the development of piracy, particularly in the Caribbean. To conclude at the time of the American War of Independence
The talk includes discussion of the ships used during this period of maritime history.

Talk 9 The Blue Riband
From the early days of regular crossings, the speed at which a ship could cross the Atlantic was the focus for the marketing of scheduled transatlantic passenger services and it soon developed into a race to win the ‘Blue Riband’ for the fastest crossing. This talk looks at the history of the ‘Blue Riband’ from when 8Knots was considered a high average speed through to the most recent crossings at over 50Knots – though some may question if these more recent crossings should qualify for the riband!
Along the way the talk looks at developments in the propulsion methods of ships, from Sail to modern turbines and how these changes have driven the increasing speed of the crossings.

Talk 10 Travelling in Style
Today the ‘Atlantic Crossing’ is synonymous with fine dining and the highest of luxury travel, but it wasn’t always this way. This talk looks at the conditions of the journeys of the early colonists, the first wave of emigrants and concludes with what is often called the golden age of the transatlantic liner, including the wave of emigration from Europe to the USA from the late nineteenth century through a large part of the twentieth century.
Along the way the talk looks at how the design of ships has changed and how changing materials and technology has enabled faster and bigger ships to travel more safely, though nobody today would describe a ship as ‘unsinkable’.

Talk 11 – Mail, Trade and The Wireless
By the 18th Century travel across the Atlantic had increased substantially but it was still quite an adventure and transatlantic communication was slow at best.
This talk looks at the development of mail services across the ocean, how this was followed by scheduled cargo transport and the development of the telegraph and radio across the Atlantic.

Talk 12 - The Atlantic at War
The major powers have used the Atlantic as a battle ground almost from the time that the first explorers and colonists arrived on the ‘other side of the pond’. This talk discusses the role of transatlantic shipping and warships in the World Wars I and II, but drawing lessons from the naval warfare that preceded it.
The talk includes the development of ship design and manufacture over a period that was critical to the creation of the ship designs that we see today, from increasing use of iron and steel, through the era of the dreadnought and on to submarines.
During 2019 to date Bob has delivered talks on a SAGA cruise in Northern Europe (2 talks) and on an MSC Cruise in the Indian Ocean (12 Talks). All talks are well timed at 45minutes and were well received and assessments received were very good.

Presentations use Microsoft powerpoint and are delivered while standing and without reference to notes
The portfolio of available talks are suitable for most cruise destinations and can be adapted to specific itineraries.