Ex-Royal Marine making waves in maritime company as Head of Operations

Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2022 by Faye CoppNo comments

Adrian Wibrew, joined the Royal Marines to see the world - and after 12-years exemplary service, he left in July 2000 knowing he would find his ‘niche’. After some years in civvy street he found his vocation within the Maritime Security sector and now is Head of Operations at Atlantas Marine. But how did he get there? SaluteMyJob chats to the former bootneck about his pathway into Operations and how he still uses the skills he honed in the military in his job today.


Adrian had always been flexible with his approach to what was next. He was a diving instructor in the Marines and knew he wanted to work in a marine environment but his first role was within sales. He bought his first house, focusing on getting his work-life balance right. He looks back on his transition after only doing ‘a bit of CV writing and mock interviews,’ knowing if he had the time again he would have prepared more: “ I wish I had dug into some qualifications before I left. The unit education facilities were always available, however, I did not explore my options.” So what advice would you give to those preparing to leave? “Take advantage of all the resettlement forums and workshops made available. Ensure you effectively use your resettlement package. I had a two-week trip in Spain covering Drop Zone management, this was in direct competition with a colleague who managed two weeks in New York at the School of Performing Arts studying drumming. Times were indeed different, I would suggest using your time and budget more effectively unless you have aspirations to replace Taylor Hawkins in the Foo Fighters.” 

Adrian parachuting in to the Commando Training Centre.


After three or four years, he got itchy feet as he knew he had reached the pay threshold for a field salesman in the leisure industry. Adrian said he was aware of former colleagues working in the Maritime Security sector so actively started to focus on jobs within that sector.

Once he got his foot in the door, it was while working for at the time, one of the biggest Maritime security companies, he began thinking about getting into operations. “The transition into operations was perhaps obvious to others, however, there was not a conscious effort to play to those strengths. As the company grew my levels of responsibility also expanded - those roles then evolved. I was in the right place at the right time.” He started as logistics manager, moving to operations manager, to fleet manager - followed by operations director and then finally fleet director. “This took place over twelve years, not bad for a sector that everyone said would last three years maximum,” added Adrian.

Adrian at Atlantas Marine

Adrian now works as Head of Operations at Atlantas Marine: “My role is to head up the delivery of their Global Operations. We have ROV (remote operated underwater vehicle) working in Brazil, Taiwan, and Africa, as well as all over the UK, inspecting vessels and wind farm infrastructure. Atlantas offers some of the best inspection class ROVs and pilots in the world with over 22-years of experience.” As well as being an innovative and dynamic company, Atlantas are keen supporters of the military. “Charlie, the owner of Atlantas, recognises that veterans can bring so much to any business. One of our lead ROV pilots is an ex-Navy Diver with an EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) background. A few of our contracted pilots are also veterans, and we also have military spouses in the small team. Atlantas has a Bronze Award from the Armed Forces Recognition scheme and we are working towards our silver award for next year.”


Adrian said his good communication skills, problem-solving skills, being agile in his thinking, and having a plan A, B & C always to hand have been the key transferable military skills he uses everyday in his new role. So why do you think ex-military personnel are well-suited to operations management? “Veterans all have the ingrained ability to listen, take instructions and deliver on those instructions. They are invariably excellent communicators with a good sense of humour who strive to achieve and take pride in their work. These attributes come naturally to most veterans and it is easy to take them for granted, however, these skill-sets are the base fundamentals that all employers would be looking for,” said Adrian.  

To find out more about Operations Management, read our Ultimate Guide to Getting into Operations Management here. You can also search for our latest roles in operations today

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