From humble beginnings in the grasslands of Malango, Central Guadalcanal, to 40 years on the Coast of Point Cruz, Honiara, Martin Heti has surely come a long way.
Mr. Heti is currently the longest serving sta at the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) in Honiara, clocking in 40 years of service to the Port and the country.
Born in 1965 and hailing from Haimane Village in the grasslands of Malango, Central Guadalcanal, Heti joined SIPA in 1982 straight out and fresh form high school. Back then the Port had little over a hundred employees in service, and he was one of the few lucky ones selected to join the port.
Recalling his days at SIPA, Heti said when he first joined the Port his first job was working inside one of the Warehouse Sheds at SIPA, which he worked for several years.
Despite not completing his secondary level education, He was able to prove himself with his capabilities and hard work, which saw him rise above the ranks over the years to the senior role which he will leave this month.
“After several years of working in the Warehouse and sheds, I was then promoted to Operations as a timekeeper, and my job was to collect data on ship operations, especially on ship embarking and disembarking, I spent quite a time there and they promoted me as a supervisor,” he said.
“I then worked as a Stevedoring Supervisor, where I worked with twelve other colleagues, as I went along, they moved to Container Hygiene as a supervisor as well.”
After being around various departments in SIPA he then went back to working in the Port Warehouses, where he now supervises 9 start looking after two warehouse sheds.
With the 40 years with the Port and working in multiple departments, he had seen some of the major developments and transformation of Honiara Port over the years and he was part of those major transformation of the Port over the years.
Heti said he had gained valuable experience and lessons that he will take as a legacy when he commences his retirement.
“SIPA is my home, I have made so many good memories and met so many great people that had become my friends, in fact I spent most of my time here than at my own house,“ he said.
“I feel happy and have no regrets after all these years here, and I feel It is the right time to retire and move on to the next stage in my life, and yes, nothing will be easy, there will still be challenges ahead, but I’m happy that SIPA has already helped me prepare for this moment, and that is something that I will indeed treasure.”
On what he will do after retirement, he said he will return to his village, spend more time with his family and look forward to more opportunities and ways to approach challenges that may come his way.
When asked on what was his advice to other young people who are beginning their career and what lessons he had learned during his time at SIPA, he said “having the right attitude” was his secret.
“I think attitude is one of the main things that I’ve learnt over those 40 years here, you have to have the right attitude towards everything you do at work, from my experience I didn’t even finish my secondary level or reach University but having the right attitude has brought me to where I am today,” he said.
“I doesn’t matter whether you have the qualifications or experience or whatever, you won’t last in any company or organizations if you don’t display the right attitudes at work, and I’m thankful that with that I have never had any bad records at SIPA.”
Mr. Heti and three other long serving retirees were farewelled this week in a small ceremony at the SIPA main office in Honiara. The event was purposely held to formally acknowledge their service to the Port over the years, as this week and month will be their last with SIPA.