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Winston Prendergast - technical mastermind at CPJ for 17 years

Published:Wednesday | December 17, 2014 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas
Winston Prendergast

Winston Prendergast:

AS THE chief engineer at food-processing company, Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited (CPJ), Winston Prendergast has amassed 17 years of technical and hands-on experience since he joined the company in 1997.

"I started off, about 17 years ago, as a technician working on the beverage systems equipment, such as juice machines, ice cream machines, and slush machines," said Prendergast, in recounting how he started at CPJ.

"A couple of years later, I rose up to the rank of supervisor in the same department. Then I moved beyond that. I started managing the technical aspect of the beverage systems, meaning the technicians on the road."

Prendergast continued overseeing technicians in his department for the next six years, until 2003, when he got a promotion that saw him working closer to the company grounds.

"I was promoted to maintenance manager, which moved me from beverage systems, and from off the road, to a more internal role in dealing with the facility, infra-structure, building, refrigeration, and electrical work," Prendergast outlined.

"A year ago, I was promoted to chief engineer, which carries responsibility for all technical aspects of the company, whether here or abroad."

Throughout his years of hands-on experience as a technician for CPJ, Prendergast has had at least two experiences that continue to make an impression on his mind, both involving the development of equipment to better the company's output.

"The first experience that comes to mind is when we moved into manufacturing, which entails the beverage systems, in which we produce the beverages, the slushes and fruit juices that are dispensed through the technical services equipment that we have in different hotels on the road. That was a big push for me because it speaks not only about distribution, but about producing," said Prendergast.

"Another experience was with the meat plant ... when we did that, it opened my experience to a lot more equipment, it gave me a new opportunity to learn about different types of equipment coming out of different territories, and helped me to understand what a meat manufacturing plant operates like," Prendergast continued.

"It also gave me the opportunity to look at different programmes - modernised programmes and systems that deal with engineering on a whole."

Speaking to his interpersonal relationships with fellow CPJ employees during his time with the organisation, Prendergast spoke positively of the working atmosphere and the level of openness with his employers.

"CPJ operates mostly like a company where you have the ability to speak and give your idea to any manager, and any of the owners. It is an open line of communication to speak with them, which allows me the opportunity to give my ideas and create changes in the company that will reflect in a positive light," said Prendergast.

"It is a great company to work for; they give you the tools needed for the job, which make your job easy, and it allows you to explore by offering your experience and ability and applying it to what you do," he added.

Currently, Prendergast is focusing on the development of two regional processing facilities that CPJ recently built, and on further advances to the growth of the company as a whole.

"Currently, we have two offshore facilities that I have personally built and watched them running, one in St Martin, and one in St Lucia that got finished about two months ago," said Prendergast.

"Looking into the near future, we have plans of doing a solar system to reduce our consumption from the energy grid. That is another project that I am looking forward to, because I know that this one will benefit the company greatly in the future."