Tell us a little bit about your background Rory.
Before starting my career, I graduated with degrees in International Affairs and Economics with a minor in Chinese. This led to me being awarded a post-graduate scholarship to intensively study Mandarin at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China.
Shortly after finishing my scholarship, I joined ZPMC – a major company in the crane and heavy equipment industry. At ZPMC I was responsible for sales and project management in Sub-Sahara Africa and the Middle East.
After five successful years with ZPMC, I was recruited by the Liebherr Group, one of the world’s largest construction machine manufacturers. After spending two years training in Austria and Germany, I moved to their Miami office, where I was responsible for West Coast US crane sales.
Following ten happy years in crane sales, I decided I wanted to step into a role where I could have a great impact. Fortunately, Midstream Lighting was in an amazing position to provide this opportunity. Now at Midstream, I’m bringing my extensive experience in the port and maritime industry to continue my journey to bring operational expertise and technical efficiencies to the maritime sector.
Where are you based and what does your role cover?
I live in Orlando, FL, a wonderful place to be if you love the sun. And my role covers all terminal lighting sales and business development in the maritime industry across the Americas. I’m also taking advantage of my long relationships with crane manufacturers and I’m responsible for the development and sales of our crane lighting products too.
Why is lighting in maritime environments so important?
The importance of lighting in maritime environments can’t be overstated. As one of the few items specifically regulated by Health and Safety institutions, lighting represents a key pillar for all ports to operate safely and efficiently. Plus, as the technology becomes more affordable and energy costs continue to rise, LED lighting is now having a positive impact on the bottom line by reducing operation energy costs. It’s a truly exciting time to be in this industry.
What do you think the top three benefits of LED lighting for ports and marinas are?
First and foremost, safety is always the No.1 priority in ports. Visibility, light colour, and uniformity provide a safer working environment and reduce stoppages caused by accidents. Secondly, people are starting to fully comprehend the magnitude of energy savings that can be made by upgrading to LED technology compared to traditional incandescent lighting. One of our most recent projects has cut their energy costs by over $600,000 a year! This completely transforms OPEX budgets, turning a cost into earnings that can be used for much-needed CAPEX projects. Lastly, ports can have a negative impact on the local communities. Using LED lighting to reduce glare and light pollution can help minimise that impact and reinforce positive cooperation between a port and their community.
Same questions but for crane lighting?
LED crane lighting carry all the important benefits that terminal lighting provides. But with one important addition. The area directly under quayside cranes has the highest density of workers and the majority of accidents occur there. So, any step that can be taken to increase safety in this area has a tremendous impact on the port’s operations. Also, colour, lighting uniformity, and a dramatic reduction in glare have a profound effect in reducing eye strain and fatigue of the crane operators and ground staff. As the effect of exhaustion is similar to that of intoxication, the benefits of keeping workers fresh and awake are enormous.
What’s the most recent Midstream project you are working on? And what are the challenges you are overcoming and the solution you are providing?
Our most recent project, upgrading the terminal lighting with Fenix Marine Services at the Port of Los Angeles, has been an exciting challenge. Our customer wanted a complete turnkey solution that not only included the upgrade of their old system to LED, but also included a state-of-the-art control system. They also wanted us to obtain all necessary permits from the Port of Los Angeles engineering department, and manage their energy rebate application. During the project tender, our in-house Lighting Design team identified tremendous savings in an LED lighting system that provided a mix of our terminal lighting products, rather than a straight 1-for-1 replacement. This dramatically lowered the cost of the system, both in terms of installation of the system and lowering energy costs – that’ll continue for years to come!
How does Midstream differentiate itself in the world of lighting for maritime?
We are the only major LED manufacturer that specifically focuses on high-powered, industrial LEDs that are engineered for the maritime industry. Unlike other manufacturers that offer a ‘phonebook’ of products, ours are specifically designed only for the sectors we work in. That specialty promotes expertise and has been a critical component of our success over the years. After all, a ‘jack of all trades’ is a master of nothing.
How important is the environmental impact of lighting in the maritime world?
Very. Particularly in California, where we are beginning to see an increased focus on the environmental impact of ports. California has enacted the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), one of the first initiatives to eliminate emissions from all equipment at the port. I believe this is setting the new global standard of taking a broader, holistic look at the environmental impact of a port. Previously overlooked, lighting is now at the forefront as one of the most viable ways to immediately and dramatically reduce a port’s impact on the environment.
And for a bit of fun, tell us something about yourself that we don’t know?
I am a first-degree blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do, holding multiple state and national titles over the years. Now I am passing the tradition to my son, as my father passed it to me.
Rory McBride - Maritime Sales Manager Americas
Rory brings to Midstream a decade of experience earned in the maritime industry for companies all over the world. This has allowed him to get involved in key lighting projects for some of the largest ports worldwide. Having been exposed to countless types of operations, Rory’s background empowers him to meet all Midstream maritime clients exactly where they are and provide the deepest level of consultancy and precision problem-solving.
Speaking four languages, including Mandarin, Rory oversees the global development of all our maritime-related products. He also coordinates with local resources and partners to identify new opportunities, secure projects, and make sure they’re delivered on time, to brief and within budget.