VIPA Announces Departure of Senior Engineer Damian Cartwright

The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

Carlton Dowe, executive director of the V.I. Port Authority, announced the departure of the agency’s senior engineer and assistant executive director, Damian Cartwright, during VIPA’s Wednesday board meeting.

“He was a very valuable piece of component for what we are doing here,” Dowe said.

According to Dowe, VIPA has known for some time that Cartwright would leave, and now the time has come.

His replacement has yet to be confirmed but Dowe said, “We have one individual on St. Croix that has accepted.”

“That person has met with the staff and Mr. Damian so we can have a smooth handoff and that person is coming with experience, he is a senior engineer.”

Cartwright was a key component of VIPA and spearheaded the Projects and Operations Committee, Dowe said.

The board also discussed filling the position of director of engineering.

“The Port Authority is seeking services to assist us with the recruiting of engineering position,” Human Resources Director Diana Richardson said. “Currently, I do have two proposals, and I am supposed to be meeting with an additional company.”

According to the fee schedule, VIPA would pay $35,750 for the recruitment service. Board member Derek Gabriel asked if just posting on normal channels would have gotten a response and save the expense of hiring a service.

Richardson disagreed.

“No, I do not. We had a struggle even posting the senior engineer position. A position of this magnitude and type of experience and background that is needed, I think that it is important to engage the services of the search firm.”

According to Richardson, some of the channels included were the local newspaper, social media, V.I. Department of Labor and advertising through associations affiliated with VIPA.

The board decided to expand the search further before approving the service.

In other business, the board was presented with a motion for the approval of aircraft and rescue firefighting apparatus in the amounts of $770,000 and $867,000.

“We received a response from four companies and the fire chief and supporting supervisors participated in that and they selected the two companies,” Dowe said.

“The monies going toward purchasing the fire apparatus is coming from the CARES ACT. We were able to go outside the box and work with the Federal Aviation Administration to allow us to make such a purchase. This will really help us plug a void.”

Dowe emphasized the urgency of ordering the fire equipment.

“Purchasing a fire apparatus is not something that you can just walk in and purchase from a company, it has to be constructed and that will take a period of time,” Dowe said.

During the question-and-answer portion, board member Willard John asked, “I noticed the bid was given to OshKosh AND E-ONE it is approximately the same price, but I noticed that one vehicle can accommodate 15 gallons and the other 3,000 gallons, which means that one is significantly larger than the other in terms of the capacity, so the question is why is the price the same?” To which St. Thomas Airport Rescue Firefighter, Chief Adrian Kean confirmed that the trucks come from different manufacturers and the design of both trucks are different, but the capabilities of both trucks are basically the same.

St. Croix Airport Rescue Firefighter Crew Chief Roger Lamothe backed Dowe on the urgency of ordering the fire apparatus.

“Our problems began on St. Croix in 2016, we started to suffer some injuries to our department, for our units because of our rapid response vehicle suffered an engine failure, that truck has been down for five years now.”

The board unanimously approved the purchase of the airport aircraft and rescue firefighting apparatus.