This year, after 12 years with GVHA, Sheila Neapole retired from her position as Marina Services Manager. We asked her to share some of her experiences working with us over the years.
Tell me about one of the most unusual experiences that you’ve had during your time with GVHA?
The first thing that comes to mind is when I had to keep secret that the 2010 Olympic Torch was coming into the harbour by First Nations canoe. I had to get our winter moorage boats out of the way but I wasn’t allowed to tell our clients why they were being moved. Of course, everyone figured it out eventually, as there was a blessing ceremony and the First Nations welcoming party walked the torch up the Causeway and then across to the legislature.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen within the company in the past 12 years?
The obvious one is the increase in staff, because when I started out, we were about 10 full time staff, and now we’re up to over 30. Back in those days, the maintenance team was about 3 people—and when the company first started, apparently there was just one fellow who used to ride around on a bicycle fixing stuff, and that was the maintenance department.
During your time here, you’ve worked with lots of different people. Name one thing that someone has said to you that has always stuck with you.
I remember accommodating a customer in our winter program who asked if she and her partner could stay at the marina, and I managed to get them a spot at Fisherman’s Wharf. When they heard I was retiring, they sent me a note saying that they had never forgotten how we helped them. I didn’t know at the time, but apparently she was undergoing treatment and really needed to be in town.
What are some of the things you’ll be doing with the extra time for yourself?
I’m very involved with the Emergency Social Services in Esquimalt, a volunteer group of people who help out in an emergency—whether it’s a small, single family evacuation because of a fire, or a larger scale natural disaster. I also recently took a workshop and am now certified for rapid damage assessment after an earthquake, so I would be able to go around and determine if a house or building is safe, partially safe, or uninhabitable.