Robert Thomas Arther Gurney, or just Bob – moved to Norway in the year 2000, but he mostly works elsewhere in the world than at home. The sporty 1950-model has not time to retire yet.

Meet Bob – the Focus Flag carrier

Meet one of the co-founders of Focus Engineering.  He just said yes to another year abroad. This time in Singapore.

His interest in boats may have been the reason why Bob became an engineer. As a young man in Southampton, he was an apprentice in a shipyard where they built frigates and other naval vessels. The first time the unpretentious Englishman, who always has a good comment, came to Norway was in 1978. Later he moved here and now he has an apartment in Oslo. It’s about five years ago since Bob joined Focus as an Engineering Senior Layout and Piping Engineer, a job that makes him see a lot of the world: “For the most part, I have been working in Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and China. So, I guess you might say that I’m the traveler carrying the Focus flag wherever I go,” he smiles.

Bob at the Mekong river.

Bob has kept his English language. Despite having been so long in Norway that he understands Norwegian very well, he insists that all the meetings he attends to be held in English. However, colleagues say that it is okay, because they know that he is a good professional who puts high demands on himself and on those he works with.

“I like complicated challenges and that is probably a weakness, because that is also the reason why I usually end up getting tasks that are difficult or delayed. Now I am going to Singapore, for example, to look after engineering on three modules on an FPSO for Israel and I know that this job will be another real challenge having worked in this environment before,” explains Bob.

All the travel has also made Bob very food interested; he is especially fond of really spicy food. His colleagues in Focus got to know when he let his colleagues taste a chili concentrate he had bought online. One drop in a glass of water was so strong that everyone was gasping for breath after taking half a teaspoon. Not only that, they had to escape the kitchen too. The chili water steamed and mixed with the air so it was impossible to stay inside.

Bob in action: producing a fish soup. 

Bob also likes history, therefore he often tapes his office with pictures, posters and things that remind him of the past.

“I also like to photograph,” he says.

“Especially in the fall when we have this clear, fine autumn light. Then I can take pictures of almost everything from trees to houses, people going about their business, but the favorite motif is probably classic yachts. Also, I read a lot. Biographies, recent history and crime mainly. I do not have my own yacht anymore but am so lucky that I often get invited to crew when a crew is shorthanded during regattas and I really enjoy that.”

Bob enjoys working for Focus Engineering:

“They’re nice people and are very good at their job, but it is a pity that few of them are happy to travel for more than a few weeks at a time but understandable because they have young families, it would be good for them to go out to look at what they are creating.”

“We, as travelers are still a separate breed. We get lots of experience, meet many good and exciting people and accumulate a lot of experience and have many things we can fall back on. I guess that is precisely why I am so fond of doing what I do,” he concludes.

(BY TOM BACKE 01.04.2019)