Not only is Ashley Nicholson, from Larbert, the first woman to take on the role with the UKHMA, she is also the youngest ever certificated harbour master to hold the title.
Formed in 1993, the UKHMA is the world’s oldest and largest Harbour Master Association and consists of almost 500 harbour masters and port professionals from across the UK. Its aim is to encourage the safe and efficient conduct of marine operations in ports and engage with, advise and consult the UK Government and associated maritime agencies.
Ashley, who became a full member of the UKHMA in 2011, said: “I am honoured to hold the title of President of the UKHMA and I will strive to continue the excellent work of my predecessors in representing the harbour masters of the UK and encourage and grow the association whilst continuing to provide a valuable return to the Harbour Mastering community.”
Ashley, who has also served as vice president with the association, will be in the post for the next two years.
Working for Forth Ports for over a decade, Ashley started her career as vessel traffic service operator and has been Grangemouth senior harbour master since 2017.
She previously won the prestigious Scottish Engineering/Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow Award for the role she played in managing the marine operations during the construction of the new Queensferry Crossing in the River Forth.
She also recently received the Women in Industry award for the first time at the Centre for Engineering Education and Development Industry Awards 2020 for her continued efforts to drive the change required to ensure a more gender diverse workforce within the maritime sector.
Martin Willis, UKHMA executive officer, said: “On behalf of Julian Seaman, the out-going association president, and the full membership of the UKHMA, we welcome Ashley as the newly elected president of the association and wish her all success in the role.
“Ashley has been appointed by her industry peers entirely on merit and richly deserves the honour to lead our highly regarded professional organisation and shall undertake the role as the lead representative of the association with great confidence, assurance and the full support of all members of the UK Harbour Masters Association during the term of her presidency.”
Captain Alan McPherson, chief harbour master at Forth Ports, added: “This is great news for Ashley and on behalf of all her colleagues at Forth Ports, we congratulate her on her Presidency.
“As a business we know how important it is to support the development of key members of our Marine team and Ashley’s appointment to President reflects that professional and career development achievement.”