Tank-Weld committed to community building
"My life is only important if me can help plenty people."
It is a popular quote from Bob Marley, considered to be Jamaica's greatest musical talent. Bruce Bicknell, the chairman and CEO of Tank-Weld Metals, has adopted the maxim as his.
"I like to live by a quote from Bob Marley when he said, 'My life is only important if I can help plenty people - if my life is only for me then I don't want it'. I also get incredible satisfaction when I help people, especially old people, children, and even adults when I set them up in a business," Bicknell told THE STAR.
His company, which is situated on Seaward Drive, which is close to the tough inner-city area of Waterhouse, Kingston, is heavily involved in community development. It contributes to infrastructure, education, sports and social development projects. Residents have also received educational and entrepreneurial grants on a frequent basis.
Bicknell shared that each year his company imports about three to four containers, with each carrying at least 300 wheelchairs. The items are donated to needy persons across the island. In December, the company distributed more than 1,000 back-to-school packages valued at $4 million.
Tank-Weld has played an integral role in the infrastructure development at the Seaward Primary School, where Bruce currently sits as the chairman.
"It is amazing and warming, the sort of impact that the support from Mr Bicknell and company has had. Sometimes we don't even know that he is going to do something. We will just get a call from him, 'Ms Marshall, I am sending so and so.' He does it for the community and not just the school itself," the school's vice-principal, Carol Gordon-Marshall, said.
Our news team observed how well-kept the institution was during a recent tour. Gordon-Marshall said it was their way of reciprocating kindness.
"Mr Bicknell works hard and he is always supporting and thinking about us. Sometimes this is the only way we can show our gratitude, and that is to keep the place clean and take care of the infrastructure," she said.
Tank-Weld's generosity was also spoken about by Colin Nugent, a welder who lives in Waterhouse. Nugent and several other local tradesmen were engaged by Tank-Weld in 2003 to help build the Waterhouse Mini Stadium in Drewsland. He said that the project has remained his favourite to date.
"I have worked on projects for Petrojam, Flour Mills... but, to be honest, being a part of the construction over Drewsland is my greatest achievement as a welder," he added.
Nugent has also helped to build a drain and several fences in his community. He said that the broken drainage had posed serious problem to motorists and pedestrians.
"People had to put old fridge in it so that nothing falls into it. The community brought it to Bruce's attention and he gave us the materials to fix it," he said.
Bicknell, meanwhile, said Tank-Weld built the football field and club house at the Olympic Gardens Mini Stadium after Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey, then coach of the team, asked for assistance.
"I didn't know Waterhouse existed, because I had never been there," he said.
Later, the executives of the Waterhouse Football Club requested help to build a stadium in Drewsland.
"I took it to my other directors, including my brother Chris, and they gave it the go-ahead to build the stadium.
Ground was broken for the construction of the stadium in February 2003, which was put into use seven months later. "From then, our association here has just spread; but it is really the people that motivates us to help, particularly the innocent children," Bicknell said.