2017 North Harbour Business Hall of Fame Laureate
Born in Otahuhu Bill is the second oldest of four children. Life in New Zealand in the 60’s 70’s for a young man was of growth, change, excitement and opportunity.
Coming from a working class family with two strong minded parents basic morals such as honesty, integrity, relationships, hard work and the importance of family were installed at an early age and Bill quickly learned a solid life foundation that was later to establish him in to a global business that is still strongly growing today.
Bill joined the international shipping business after leaving Victoria University mid-course. His first role was with a large British company named ACT. It was here that he got his first taste for the world of shipping which had recently transformed from conventional ships to global containerisation but also international trade and the opportunities that had opened up for New Zealand.
It was with ACT that Bill transferred to Head Office in Southampton where he met a young nurse named Lindsay. They returned to New Zealand shortly after, got married, bought a house, had children and been inseparable ever since.
Bill’s drive for success and independence opened his eyes to opportunities left open by the large lazy shipping companies and in 1981 he formed Oceanbridge Shipping. Consisting of two staff his father Royce also joined the business after he retired from his own job.
Incidentally after 12 months trading Bills accountant still today, Barrie Campbell, recommended the business be closed down. A story Bill fondly recalls at every annual Board Meeting.
Royce remained in the business up until retirement from the Oceanbridge Board a few years ago. Royce’s morals of honesty, integrity, relationships, communication, family and hard work were a huge influence on Bill during his working life and still are today.
Oceanbridge has continued to become one of the largest privately owned international shipping businesses in the country employing more than 120 staff in 4 offices with head office in Takapuna on the North Shore which has also been Bill and Lindsay’s home for more 45 ?? years.
Oceanbridge provides shipping services for many of the country’s largest importers and exporters and many of those businesses enjoy personal relationships with Bill today. Oceanbridge also has an enviable reputation among global peers for its reputation, staff and service. Many aspire to be at the same level.
Bill still sets an example for staff and is seen where he is most effective and that’s out in the field chasing business, networking with customers and making long term business friends.
Over the past 36 years in business and as Oceanbridge has grown Bill and Lindsay have shared their success with many charities and this year saw the Company host its 20th Charity Golf Tournament. The recipient received $30,000. Collectively the Company now gifts in excess of $100K to charities every single year.
Recipients have included the YES Foundation, Language Lab, Well Foundation, Inzone, Neuro Research, Grief Support, Shine, Pike River, Christchurch Earthquake, Fred Hollows, and Cancer, Coast guard, surf lifesaving and many many more.
Recently there has been the Takapuna Playground, school children’s lifejackets and water safety, OK 24 hour yacht race and so on.
And not to mention cooking meals at Ronald McDonald House for ill children and families.
And this is before we mention Bills passion for the water and desire to support struggling talented youth involved in surfing and sailing including the annual OKI 24 Hour at Lake Pupuke, The annual Oceanbridge Sail Auckland Sailing Regatta is a major sailing event now and there are various other programs worked in in conjunction with Yachting NZ.
Further up the scale Bill has never lost faith in Team NZ and been there with support and logistics, with the current event in Bermuda being no exception.
Despite their generosity Bill and Lindsay have never expected recognition or thanks and have avoided the lime light that’s often associated with philanthropy. In fact they would rather just be low key and every day families living on the North Shore like the rest of us.
But this is not the case tonight as Bill and Lindsay’s contribution to business and the community especially on the North Shore over the past 36 years makes Bill Speedy a worthy North Harbour Business Hall of Fame Laureate.