MSB Alumni Profile: Grantley Stephenson Charts His Own Course

Stephenson describes his personal drivers as a constant striving to achieve more and a strong belief in the value of hard work and sound education as preparation for life.

It was not just about certification but a feeling that, in addition to years of managerial experience,formal graduate business training would help him to transition to the emerging knowledge economy.“The benefit has been tremendous,”
Stephenson said in a recent interview with MSB Business Review.Now, as chairman and CEO of Kingston Wharves Limited, he reflected on the MSB education as part of a life-long process of continuous learning and improvement so essential to success in business and in life. On graduation from Manchester High SchoolGrantley Stephenson took the
advice of the school’s vicepresident and went in search of higher education in Kingston, enrolling at the then College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST), now U–TECH, where he studied electrical engineering from 1967-70.Coming from the shelter of family and the easy relationships of rurallife, he had to navigate through some unexpected encounters in his new environment. He found that most of the students from the traditional high schools “had a certain arrogance about them,” while those from technical schools had an air of confidence because they had already mastered some of the
subject areas.“I had a good friend who was also from Manchester High and we decided that these Kingston boys were not going to do better than us”, he recalled. After graduating from CAST the next stop was Alcan Jamaica where Stephenson was appointed pier supervisor at the maritime operations at Port Esquivel with responsibility for coordinating
the outward shipment of bauxite and alumina as well as the efficient and timely arrival of raw materials,industrial chemicals and other items required for mining and processing.Alcan, as well as the broader Jamaican                             b a u x i t e / a l u m i n a industry, was a magnet forattracting local engineering talent which was beginning to emerge from our tertiary institutions. Some graduates did not consider Port Esquivel “the most attractive location” because the work was “not highly technical” but Stephenson saw it as an opportunity for learning and growth.The training and exposure to different areas of industrial engineering at Port Esquivel “was like a university” and laid the foundation for a career in shipping....

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