Six new roles have been created within Arksen’s core team to accommodate rapid growth of the business.
Rob Vankalsbeek, technical project manager, Donald Hung, digital marketing lead, Sonia Jackson, communications and events lead, Matthew Morgan, client project manager and George Johnson, project engineer, have all joined the Arksen team recently. These five appointments are in addition to the recent appointment of sales and marketing director Dominic Byrne, also in a newly-created role.
Arksen has an ethos of building exceptionally capable vessels which enable families and friends to confidently explore some of the most wild and precious places on the planet with the aim of motivating the next generation of explorers, scientists and conservationists. This is teamed with its sustainable approach to ensure minimal waste and incorporating sustainable materials, systems and processes.
Prior to joining Arksen, chartered engineer Rob Vankalsbeek had worked in the marine industry for over 20 years, predominantly in yacht-building and boasting a range of perspectives including project manager, owners’ representative, production manager and planner. Prior to his shore-based work he has sailed for 10 years on private yachts and commercial sailing vessels. His role as technical project manager at Arksen sees him based on the Isle of Wight with the team at Wight Shipyard where the Arksen 85s are being built. His role includes collaborating with the yard’s area managers on all aspects of the build. On joining the Arksen team, Rob said: “I saw it as a great opportunity to progress the vessels from a concept to the handover with the new owners. I love the team’s diversity and how passionate everyone is about what we do, full of drive to make Arksen a success.”
Bournemouth-based Donald Hung’s role as digital marketing lead sees him create graphics and video content as well as developing SEO and PPC strategies, optimising the website and reporting. Bringing a decade of experience in the digital design and marketing industry, Donald exudes passion for creative design and conducting UX research. He hopes to use his UX research and problem solving to feed into the UX journey to provide a refreshing and exhilarating journey for Arksens customers. He was attracted to Arksen due to its uniqueness; “There’s a lot of potential to explore with Arksen but I was really drawn to the brand’s willingness to give back to the ocean and I’m excited to have joined such an innovative, talented and passionate team of individuals.” In his spare time, Donald enjoys paddleboarding, cycling and DIY.
The newly-appointed communications and events lead, Sonia Jackson, has a lengthy background in marketing and has overseen marketing for Fairline Yachts and Lateral Naval Architects including managing brands and their presence at events and shows worldwide. Sonia joined Arksen with the view that it’s a company she can fully believe in. “It sits very closely with my own ideals and I love that its core values are at the forefront of everything it does. I was also really drawn to the exploration side of Arksen, as it’s something I would love to do myself.” In her new role, Sonia is responsible for PR and comms to help promote Arksen vessels and will also be involved with Yachts for Science and increasing the visibility of the initiative to bring yacht owners and marine scientists together for ocean research and protection. She will also be managing Arksen’s presence at relevant shows and events.
Matthew Morgan joined Arksen after returning from managing the boatyard at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and his new role as a client project manager sees him as the primary link between the boat owner and Arksen and then the shipyard with changes to the sales spec following contract signings. He brings with him over 30 years of project management, yacht-building and yard management for a number of high profile yacht-building companies in Asia and Europe using state-of-the-art technologies. “I previously worked at Oyster Yachts in the same role and wanted to bring this experience to Arksen changing from GRP sailing yachts to aluminium motor vessels.” In his spare time, Matthew and his family use a Seaward 23 motor yacht to explore locally and together with his wife manage a number of rental properties both in the UK and New Zealand.
Following graduation from University of Southampton with a degree in naval architecture, George Johnson joined a large global marine consultancy which would see him travel the world and after being based out of offices in Southampton, London and Singapore, George settled back in Southampton after six years and discovered Arksen. In his new role as a project engineer, George works in Arksen’s south coast office in Southampton spending at least one day a week at Wight Shipyard on the Isle of Wight seeing the build of the 85s. The role sees him working with the technical team to produce 3D models and 2D drawings of various parts of the boats from standard features to specific customer requests, liaising closely with Arksen’s design and build partners. Of joining Arksen, George said: “Arksen seemed to be doing things a little differently to the rest of the industry, building yachts from recycled materials that are very capable too. I’ve got a keen interest in the adventures that these boats will go on.”
Dominic Byrne who recently joined as sales and marketing director said: “I was simply captivated by the Arksen story and the more I read about its founder Jasper Smith, the more I was inspired. I felt an instant affinity with the ethos of the company, its commitment to sustainability and the work it does to help better understand and protect the oceans – these are issues close to my heart. Arksen is not typical of the mainstream superyacht business, its proposition is unique and this really appealed to me. Arksen clients are looking for something different, it’s the combination of owning a yacht with genuine explorer credentials and the freedom that provides, coupled with the opportunity to maximise their ownership experience by having access to a blend of an owners club and concierge service to help them realise their adventure.”
In 2019, Arksen unveiled its vision for a new concept in sustainable marine adventures, the Arksen Explorer Series. The ambitious project has rapidly gained momentum, with the sale of the second Arksen 85 announced earlier this month. The Arksen 85 currently represents the ‘flagship’ vessel within the Arksen Explorer Series, with the Arksen 75 and Arksen 65 making up the ‘Explorer’ fleet.
The appointments come at a time when the business is putting in place the people needed for its future growth, as interest grows across the range of vessels Arksen will produce. With the build of the third Arksen 85 on the horizon and more than 400 serious enquiries from around the world for the range of vessels, the interest in Arksen is only growing.