Aaron Wens is a marine and electrical engineer with over 20 years of experience under his belt. A licensed chief engineer, Wens earned an ABET accredited degree from the United States Merchant Marine Academy. During the nine years which he spent sailing on his US Coast Guard engineering license, he served as the licensed officer on commercial ships. He has achieved the highest level of license for a U.S. Coast Guard allowing him to be the chief engineer of all types of vessels of unlimited horespower.
After his time sailing, Wens has worked as a port engineer including positions in operations, management of mechanical and electrical systems, troubleshooting, and repairs. Aaron currently resides in the Eastern United States where he works in the defense, maritime, and oil and gas industries.
How did you get started in this business?
I got started in the industry because of my love for traveling and sailing. Additionally, the industry has a lot of opportunity and growth. I love both the autonomy and the creative and challenging projects that I have the opportunity to work on.
In high school, my teachers recognized my prowess in mathematics and encouraged me to become an engineer. Combining that with my love of travel and sailing, it tied perfectly for a career.
How do you make money?
I make money through the jobs I do for my clients. While I contract out some of the work, I still remain profitable. At the end of the day it is more about the clients being more than satisfied with the services we provide and the profits will follow.
How long did it take for you to become profitable? When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
When I started in this business, profits were almost immediately due to a couple major contracts, but of course there were some periods of lull and stagnation. The last 4 years this industry has been thriving and from my time working in the US Navy and on a large variety of ships, it has presented a great opportunity.
How did you get your first customer?
As mentioned above, the first customer was developed through a long time network of contacts within the sailing industry, Once things got off the ground, it was possible to leverage both my current skills and the network to create a large pool of clients.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
One marketing strategy that is used and that works really well is to go out and advertise yourself. I still travel around the world and whenever I have an opportunity, I will meet with clients and see if there is a way to help fill in areas that will not only make their efforts easier but as well gaining additional business.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision that had to be made was to decline some work in the past few months due to the amount of work already on contract. It is important to stay true to a good product and service to your current clients and not overextend yourself to deliver a subpar product. It is always hard to say no, especially when the person is someone you have a good relationship with.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I believe that my honesty and transparent communication are what separates me from the rest. Being responsible for coordinating multiple teams at a time, it is vital to provide clear, concise communication. I always remind myself if things were reversed and I was on the client’s side and how I would want to receive information in order to make forward progress.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The most satisfying moment for was delivering on a project on-time and on budget. It was a very fulfilling moment, and I knew this career would be the right one.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I am continuing to get contracts from clients and there is an increasing demand for the services we offer. I am excited and I hope to have the opportunity to expand services to more countries around the world.
What business books have inspired you?
One book that has inspired me is The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman. The book looks at the role that globalization has played in the 21st century.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Always look to be learning. There is always something that you can improve at. There is a reason that most successful people continue to seek to learn new skills and information.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Not at the present time.