Sophie Chen, Deputy Production Manager for Damen Shipyards Changde
(Chen Shao Jun)
China, 39 years old, single
Thinks: time management is the biggest challenge in her work
Chooses: the ASD 2810 and ASD 2411 tugs as her favourite Damen ships
“I always start my working day at the yard in Changde with a cup of Dutch coffee. When our colleagues from Gorinchem come to visit, they always bring me a supply, which I very much appreciate. I had to get used to everything at first – not just the coffee but also the fact that the Dutch are more straightforward than the Chinese. I’m better at that now too: I simply say whether or not I like something.
I never really considered going into shipbuilding when I was younger. I got a job with Damen right after I graduated from Hua Zhong Science and Technology University in 1996, and my passion for this industry has grown year by year.
There’s no doubt it’s a man’s world, but there is always room for a woman who is genuinely interested.
Many women in China are independent and very busy building their careers. My background in welding technology gave me an advantage. I’m proud to say that I’ve now become a true shipbuilder.
My ideal day off? I’m interested in a lot of different things – I’m a typical Gemini – but my favourite pastime is to swim and eat out with friends. I also like to get a group together to go to KTV, a Chinese karaoke bar. However, it’s not all fun and games here. We have a serious air pollution problem here in China. I’m worried about the environment and I try to do my share to help, for example by not driving but taking the bus or walking. It’s not about what you can do, but about what you want to do.”