Rob Lomas: Sparking Connections

8 July 2024

When Marine Business Development Manager Rob Lomas joined International Registries (U.K.) Limited in 2014 he had nearly three decades of experience in maritime trade and industry associations. Rob had just left his role as Secretary General of the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO) where he had engaged with Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry representatives.

“Rob has a strong understanding of both the owner/operator perspective and the regulatory side. We knew he would be a great bridge between the two and foster connections and understanding,” remembered Bill Gallager, President of International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI), who supported the decision to hire Rob onto the regulatory team nearly ten years ago.

Rob, who will retire at the end of July 2024, started his career in the mid-1980s specializing in the management of dangerous goods for NYK Line, and spent more than two decades with regulatory and representative bodies, including the U.K. Chamber of Shipping and INTERCARGO.

“The input and information provided by shipowners is highly valuable as conventions and codes are developed and interpreted. Fortunately, the RMI Registry is interested in that input as part of the regulatory process,” said Rob. “Initially I had a lot of meetings over coffee, building relationships through informal discussions, and creating opportunities for people to share ideas and connect,” he continued.

As a connector of people and organizations, Rob naturally moved into a business development role within IRI, building connections and relationships that became essential as the pandemic slowed in-person meetings and travel.

“Going from discussions over coffee to virtual platforms was a big change,” Rob remembered. “Thankfully, the groundwork was already there, and we were able to bridge stakeholder engagement with these digital platforms.”

During his tenure at IRI, Rob continued to build connections between people. Outside of the organization, Rob served as Chair of the Associate Members Committee for the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) for six years, supported the development of hazardous cargo regulations at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and worked on the anti-corruption convention.

“I see this type of work as information sharing in its most beneficial form. Most flag States don’t get involved in this type of work, but corruption plays a role in safe and efficient vessel operation. We quickly saw that the Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) appreciate this type of flag State involvement,” Rob noted. “We actively encourage reporting to the Marine Anti-Corruption Network (MACN); it has been fascinating to see how things have changed even in the last three or four years.”

While in his business development role, Rob developed an efficient system to share information between business development team members – tracking client history and interactions for transparency across the offices. “Rob is the best kind of colleague – one that always looks to share information and find new ways to connect people,” said Simon Bonnett, Chief Maritime Officer, who works alongside Rob in the London office. “Rob’s forthcoming and engaging communication style, focused on sharing, encourages team members to engage with each other and find innovative solutions,” he continued.

“If I have knowledge, there is no point in keeping it to myself,” Rob responded. “I like having an open-door policy, you never know what someone will be able to spark off of an idea or discussion.”

That ability to communicate, collaborate, and help people spark ideas from each other will serve Rob as he looks to his next chapter and continues to serve his community. After retirement, Rob plans to continue working on the Members Code of Conduct Committee in his community, helping guide standards in public life for elected Local Councillors. He’s also tinkering with the idea of exploring his passion for railways and railroad preservation projects.

“The industry is rapidly changing and innovating. People like Rob are special to the industry, and represent the best of us,” said Bill. “We’ve all learned from him and become better leaders because of his open communication style – he will certainly be missed,” concluded Bill.