Young McKay electricians given an opportunity of a lifetime

In accordance with the McKay Training and Development Program, two young electricians were asked to take part in one of McKay's international projects .

After battling snowstorms and facing temperatures as low as minus 32 degrees, for two young McKay electricians, it has never felt so good to be home. For the last three months, Barney Cooper and Jethro Bodsworth were representing McKay in the USA on board “Spirit of Boston” – an opportunity that seldom arises for electricians’ only months into their trade.

Barney SOB Jeffro SOB
In 2015, party boat “Spirit of Boston” commissioned a $2.5 million upgrade to her entertainment facilities with the aim  heightening the passenger experience. The upgrade saw completely refreshed and modern interior decks with lounge areas, full-service bars with TV’s and new dance floors. A rooftop lounge with an outdoor bar was also renovated. Other features included photo booths, a giant Jenga and climate controlled interior decks.


McKay was chosen to oversee the complete electrical refit – a contract that further cements the company’s strong presence in the USA marine market.


When Cooper and Bodsworth were first asked to join the McKay USA team, excitement would be an understatement; especially considering that the two sparkies from Kawakawa and Auckland had never been oversees before.


Working as Junior Marine Electricians, “Spirit of Boston” gave them not only a chance to travel the world, but a right of passage to gain international work experience and a career changing resume.


“For us it was a win win. We got to travel the USA and broaden our work experience at the same time”, Cooper said.


“ It was really great for our careers. Working on the job (“Spirit of Boston”) will give us a foot in the door and will open us up to future opportunities”, Bodsworth said.


The two young men loved working with different people and acquired a newfound appreciation for diversity.


“The trip really opened our eyes to different cultures. Apart from the work experience, meeting some really cool people on board the “Spirit of Boston’ and in the community, was definitely the biggest highlight”

From Wi-Fi systems to dance floor feature lighting to DJ stands, Cooper and Bodsworth were able to draw upon Kiwi ingenuity in order to design and implement “Spirit of Boston’s” electrical blueprint from scratch and with limited direction. Using initiative and meeting challenges head on so early in their careers, is an achievement the two electricians can be extremely proud of and is an example of why New Zealand trades people are in high demand in the USA.

SOB Interior

SOB boat shot

According to the two, one of the biggest challenges was keeping the customer’s experience in mind  so that the finished product would be one that is aesthetically pleasing. Teamwork on the project was imperative whereby the two McKay electricians autonomously collaborated with other trades on an ongoing basis. Effective communication enabled the project to be completed ahead of schedule and has received glowing reviews from all those involved.


Despite being too young to hire a rental car and the odd pang of homesickness, it is safe to say that these two McKay employees have caught the “travel bug” and hope that more of McKay’s international projects will be thrown in their direction.


McKay is passionate about developing young minds and their skills and will continue to facilitate the McKay Training and Development Program as opportunities arise.