Thomas Arthur McLaren (1919 – 1999)

Thomas Arthur McLaren (1919 – 1999) (1919 – 1999)

President, Allied Shipbuilders Ltd.

Since his youth, Thomas Arthur McLaren had envisioned a career in shipbuilding.

Graduating from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Arthur began working in the drawing office for West Coast Shipbuilders where 55, ten-thousand-ton, cargo ships were built for Second World War service.

In 1948, West Coast Shipbuilders closed and Arthur started Allied Shipbuilders. Through hard work, ingenuity, and common sense he built Allied into one of the major shipbuilding and ship repair companies in Western Canada. Vessels built ranged from small tugs, barges, vehicle ferries, fishboats, specialized shallow draft ships for northern rivers, and icebreakers for Arctic service. Many of the ships were designed in-house to Arthur’s original designs.

Arthur abhorred unnecessary complexity. He would change his own work to simplify the task and insisted others follow suit. He was often heard to say to his design staff “one job of an Engineer is to do for a dollar what anyone can do for two dollars.”

As an employer, Arthur was very respectful of the talents and ingenuity of the people he trusted to build his ships, and he fully appreciated the value of a good tradesman. His efforts instilled loyalty and dedication, making his company, his employees, and his customers successful.

Arthur was generous with his time and support of the shipbuilding industry and engineering profession. He was a Fellow of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, and served a term as the President of the Association of Professional Engineers of British Columbia.

Seventy-two years later, Arthur’s legacy lives on at Allied Shipbuilders’ North Vancouver operations, still based on the core values he instilled in the company.


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