The Great Lakes Group


Meet Tim Grimes, Welding & Fitting Leaderman for the Whiskey Island Floating Breakwater


Tim Grimesat-a-glance

• Age: 47
• Hometown: Medina, Ohio
• Residence: Medina, Ohio
• Family: Wife, Dawn, of 21 years and proud father of his daughter, Meghan
• Hobbies: Automotive restoration, equestrian and ATVs. “I recently finished a 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle, it took me 6 years … now I’m working on a 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix.”
• Experience in the Maritime Industry: 7 years
• Experience in Welding: 15 years
• Passion for Maritime: “I’ve always been fascinated by tugboats and ships, always … a friend gave me a tour of Great Lakes Shipyard and I saw the laborers drydock a boat and I thought it was the coolest thing. I knew right away that I wanted to work here.”


Academic Institution: Polaris
Certification: Welding


Company: Great Lakes Shipyard, an affiliate of The Great Lakes Group
Title: Welding and Fitting Leaderman
Tenure: 2013 – Present

“I left Great Lakes, for a few years, but looked for an opportunity to come back. It’s a great place to work, I wanted to be in the yard again.”

Company: American Augers, Inc.
Title: Welder & Fitter
Tenure: 2011 – 2012

Company: Great Lakes Shipyard, an affiliate of The Great Lakes Group
Title: Welder & Fitter
Tenure: 2005 – 2010

Company: Affiliated Metal Industries Inc.
Title: Laborer, Welder & Fitter
Tenure: 1999 – 2004


• Metal Inert Gas (MIG)/Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
• Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG)/Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
• Stick Welding/Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
• Flux-cored Arc Welding (FCAW or FCA)
• Aluminum
• Stainless Steel
• Merchant Mariner Document (MMD)


Tim is true craftsman that is passionate about his craft and accepts nothing less than perfection when working in the shipyard. His goal-oriented approach makes him an exceptionally effective, motivating and inspirational leaderman and foreman. With 15 years of experience in welding, Tim’s breadth and depth of skills are impressive. Some of his skills include:

• Fitting
• Oxy-acetylene Cutting, Welding and Brazing
• SMAW Groove Welds
• SMAW Open V-groove Welds
• SMAW Open-root Pipe Welds
• SMAW Vertical Welding
• Plasma Arc Cutting
• GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, TIG)
• GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding, MIG)
• Pipe Welding


Why work at The Great Lakes Group?

“I’m very fortunate, many people have jobs that they don’t love. I am one of the few that can truly say that they love their job. The atmosphere here is great, I get along great with the executive and operations team in the main office, it’s like a family, I get along great with them. In the yard, it’s a friendship, brotherhood.”

“I got into the business because a friend gave me a tour of Great Lakes Shipyard and I saw the laborers drydock a boat and I thought it was the coolest thing. I knew right away that I wanted to work here.”

Why did you want to become a welder and fitter?

“I started working as a laborer, but after I started welding, that was it. A friend showed me the ropes, but after that, it was ‘here, do it.’ I continued to hone my craft, took classes, got my certification in welding and found a job that I truly love.”


What are you working on?

“We are creating a 300-foot floating breakwater for Whiskey Island Marina, it will be fabricated by bolting two 150-foot cylindrical modules. The floating breakwater will be anchored to the bottom of Lake Erie in front of the Whiskey Island Marina. We will be down in mid-November.”

What is your role on the project?

“My goal is to make sure we are going by the blueprints and everything is measured up, make sure everything is on cue. It has to be on schedule and perfect.”

“At this point, we’ve done half of the bulkheads or baffles, 75-foot. We started off by combining two steel drums, and continued from there in sets of two. Now we are starting to join those sets to create one of the two 150-foot cylindrical modules that will be combined for the 300-foot Whiskey Island Floating Breakwater. Next week we will start the second half.”

“We are trying to keep the welding in position, flat. We have the rollers for overhead welding, I control the speed of the roller and one of our welders is in a basket making sure we get clean welds.”

“Once we are done with both 150-foot cylindrical modules, we will blast and paint them and fill them with foam. After that, one of our tugboats will haul it over to Whiskey Island Marina for installation.”

What defines this project for you?


“We work great as a team. We meet every morning and set our goals for the day. I monitor the progress of our work throughout the day and make sure we accomplish our goals.”

“We work closely with Jon Leivo, the Project Engineer. If I have a question on the prints, I can ask him, and he can get me an answer right away. Jon is in the yard every single day helping us, we work together great as a team.”


“We are very safe in the shipyard. Everyone wears their hard hat, safety glasses and straps. We want to make sure everyone is safe, we look out for each other like brothers.”


“We set our goal each morning, and when we reach that, I know we are on schedule. If we reach our goal at noon, we don’t stop, we just keep going. That helps a lot because at the end of the week, the guys expect that we have more work to do, but I tell them that we already did that and are ahead of schedule. That makes everyone happy, and proud of their work. It puts them in a good mood and increases morale. We are a close team and that helps us be more efficient and effective.”

Craftsmanship & Quality

“I have the best welders, our welds look really good. Craftsmanship is way up there. It’s one of my pet peeves. It’s perfection or else. I’m a perfectionist.”