Summer / Autumn 2021

Under the surface with Kevin Wu, head of James Fisher Renewables in Taiwan

We meet Kevin Wu, head of James Fisher Renewables in Taiwan, who is supporting group development in the East Asia region.  

Under the surface with Kevin Wu 

Tell us about yourself 

I grew up in Taiwan and studied structural engineering at the National Taiwan University. Although I was always fascinated by numbers, during my master's year I realised I wanted to work with people, brainstorming and problem- solving – not sitting in front of the computer all day.  

Back then, Taiwan had no offshore industry and my studies were focussed on harbour and river engineering, but I remained fascinated by offshore structure and technology which emerged initially as oil and gas, and has recently expanded to a fast-growing offshore wind industry in this region. 

Outside of work, my interests include photography, travel, hiking, camping, listening to music, art and sports, and of course, spending time with my wife, Emily, and our five-year-old son, Ryan. 

How did you come to join the James Fisher group? 

After university I worked with engineering consultancy company, James Shyu initially as an engineer, then as project manager specialising in subsea pipeline and cable work, including phase one of the Formosa 1 offshore wind farm.  I spent three years with cable contractor, Woen Jinn Harbor Engineering which was working closely with James Fisher at the time.  Then, in June 2019 I was approached by James Fisher and offered the job of technical and project manager based in Taipei.  After a year with CWInd Taiwan as head of commercial I was called back by the James Fisher group, this time to head up JF Renewables in Taiwan.  

Being local and having ten years’ experience in Taiwan’s offshore development and involvement with Taiwan’s wind farm industry right from the start makes me uniquely positioned for this job. I understand this market very well and I have long-established relationships with key players in the field. There’s no doubt that having a local team, which speaks fluent Chinese and Taiwanese (as I do) offers great advantages for developing the business.  

Tell us a bit about your role 

I ensure the company is running correctly and optimally, managing and supervising all the operations and projects and I am responsible for formulating strategy and business development for the entire Taiwan market.  

We have also started running our warehouse in Taichung as an operation base for Taiwan as well as a hub supporting the other countries in this region; and we are expanding the local team there. We believe training up and growing local talent and capability is the best approach to developing long-lasting business here.  

Taiwan is the first country in East Asia (after China) to have a clear direction, policy and goals for renewables (specifically offshore wind) and James Fisher has been involved in various support services for a number of different windfarms in the region.  

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

The people and the teamwork! 

Because we don’t yet have a well-established infrastructure and supply chain in Taiwan for the offshore wind farm, our relationships with local suppliers and the Taiwanese government (which drives wind farm development here) are crucial.  The language barrier is one of the major challenges to all parties involved as most local suppliers and government departments, as well as most of the experienced technicians and labourers are not able to speak English. But being bilingual allows me to connect and negotiate with local suppliers and to be sensitive to any potential cultural differences.  

What does the future hold?  

Offshore wind is growing fast in Taiwan and this region and JF Renewables has the potential to be a major player here going forward. By integrating resources across the group, James Fisher is able to harness the latest technology, experiences and services and this puts us in a very strong position when working alongside strategic local partners.   

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