In our inaugural edition of the “Employee Spotlight” series, we are excited to showcase the exceptional talent and expertise of William (Bill) Duval, our esteemed Senior Marine Surveyor at EIMC. With over four decades of experience in the industry and a passion for the marine insurance and supply chain domain, Bill has been an invaluable asset to our team since he joined us in September 2012.
Through a candid conversation, we explore Bill’s journey, his contributions to EIMC’s growth, and his remarkable experiences across the globe. Join us as we celebrate Bill’s impressive career and dedication to his profession, and stay tuned for more inspiring stories from our incredible team at EIMC.
Q: When did you start working for EIMC?
A: I began working for EIMC on September 15, 2012 as their Senior Marine Surveyor with concentrations on steel cargoes, loss prevention and handling claims on a vast array of different types of imported products.
Q: What do you do at EIMC?
A: As one of the Senior Marine Surveyors, I assist in business development along with the duties of a cargo surveyor, as stated above, along with training the other junior surveyors on staff. Also, I am a source to the other adjusters in our company when they are dealing with steel losses to provide them with the necessary expertise in the handling of losses and/or loss prevention measures.
Q: Have you had other jobs within the industry?
A: After graduating college, I came to Houston and worked as a Multi-lines claims adjuster for insurance companies before being hired at Matthews, Matson, and Kelley on May 10, 1980. This is where I started learning the steel trade, carrying out loss prevention and damage surveys on steel cargoes. With this company, I traveled overseas to locations in Greece and South America. In 1982, I was hired as a surveyor with Toplis & Harding and continued to work as a surveyor handling loss prevention and claims work, as well as project cargo shipments.
In 1986, I went to work with Noble Denton’s appraisal company, EMCA, traveling the Gulf Coast to carry out inspections on drilling rigs and their equipment for banks as this was a down time in the oil industry. With this company, I was afforded the opportunity to travel to Taiwan to carry out a damage inspection on a drill ship that incurred damage due to an encounter with a typhoon.
I returned to work for Toplis and Harding in ’87 in their New Orleans office. I worked out of this office up to 1991, when I was transferred to their Houston office as the Branch Manager. I was later appointed the Region Manager to oversee the Gulf Coast area.
In 1998, I left Toplis & Harding for an independent firm, Dufour, Laskey, and Strouse. I organized and oversaw the development of the cargo business as the Vice President of Cargo but still carried out duties as a senior marine surveyor, and eventually was named Lloyd’s agent for the Gulf Coast for New Orleans and the Houston areas. I then expanded the business for DLS into the Houston area, where an office was established. I transferred from New Orleans to Houston in 2005, just ahead of Hurricane Katrina. I continued to work with DLS until eventually hiring on in 2012 with EIMC.
Q: What is your latest accomplishment -or- the proudest moment at EIMC?
A: It’s hard to pinpoint just one, but being the Regional Vice President for NAMS (National Association of Marine Surveyors) has been an honor. I recently organized a highly informative one-day conference with engaging presentations across all disciplines, followed by a visit to the battleship TEXAS on drydock. The event was well-received, and I take pride in presenting my profession through PowerPoint presentations to peers and interested parties.
Q: What is the strangest case or strangest item that you’ve ever been involved with in your job?
A: Over my 43+ years as a marine surveyor, I’ve encountered many major claims and projects, and I have had a few unusual experiences… One involved a vessel that ran aground in the Panama Canal, and another had me flying a float plane down the Amazon River to survey the damage on a drilling rig in the jungle. Handling the cargo claim for the vessel BRIGHTFIELD, which ran into the River Walk in downtown New Orleans on Dec 24, 1996, was particularly interesting. There was also an assignment in Khartoum, Sudan, where I had to meet with the office of the interior to assist with their cotton ginning shipment at their port. This one was quite unique and humorous. We might need to save this for a Vlog at some point, as there’s too much to share in writing!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love the interaction with the people in the business. Whether it’s the stevedores on the dock, the ship’s crew, or the people you meet when handling claims, there is never a dull moment, and the fascinating things you learn as the vast amount of businesses that are out there and the niche they fill in the world of business.
Q: What do you like most about EIMC?
A: The people I work with, even though we work from home now and have less interaction than in the past. They feel like a good family of co-workers. Also, I appreciate the freedom to continue doing something that I love.
Q: What 3 words would you use to describe what you do?
A: Difficult to do in just 3 words… mentorship, problem solver, loss mitigator.
Q: What 3 words would you use to describe you?
A: Loyal, Dedicated, Humble.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do OUTSIDE of WORK?
A: Travel, work in the yard, and enjoy watching my grandchildren grow up, supporting whatever they are involved in.
Q: What is something about you that people (usually) do not know?
A: My true last name is Duval Slothouwer, which is Dutch. My parents immigrated from Holland after the war. My father sailed for Holland America Line on their cargo ships and eventually came to the States to work as a port captain in New Orleans. So, I was born in New Orleans and virtually raised in this industry. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.
I have worked on five of the seven continents, missing out on Australia and Antarctica. I’ve worked in Canada, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia, along with jobs in the mentioned continents.