The Story of the Wolmer's Auditorium

Part 5: Keith Rigbye – Project Manager

In this edition, we feature Keith Rigbye, Project Manager for the construction of the auditorium. Although not a Wolmer's old boy, Keith considers himself a member of the family as his wife, mother-in-law and sister-in-law are Wolmerians. He came to Jamaica from the United Kingdom in 1974 to take up a teaching post at Knox College where he taught Physical Education and Science. After a year, Keith went on to teach at York Castle High in Brown's Town. He then joined the staff of Hillel Academy in September 1976 as Vice Principal and later as acting principal until 1982 before switching careers to Business Management at Henriques Brothers Limited. Keith enjoyed a successful tenure and was also promoted to General Manager at Kingston Ice Company, a subsidiary of the group. He left in 1986 to start a manufacturing company in the Kingston Freezone for Slater Electric Inc, whose head office was in New York. Keith's colourful career saw him doing stints at Lascelles de Mercado, (1987), Kingston Industrial Garage (1988) and John Crook Limited (1989).

In 1989 Keith was invited to join Implementation Limited in the capacity of Project Manager where he remained until January 2014 before establishing IBEC Limited. His former business partner at Implementation, the late Kemp Skeffrey, was also a Wolmerian. He became aware of the Wolmer's Auditorium project through his professional relationship with Grace Kennedy & Company and Trustee Douglas Orane. After hearing about the committee of Wolmerians who were volunteering their time on this project combined with the fact that his business partner, a JC Old Boy, had been associated with the building of the Jamaica College Auditorium, Keith offered his expertise as the Project Manager to assist Douglas Orane, and as his way of giving back to education in Jamaica. As part of his teaching career, Keith was also one of the founding members of the JISA Prep School's Champs which has evolved into one of the premier sporting events on the annual athletics calendar in Jamaica.

This experience has been very fulfilling for Keith, especially as he observes the students' enthusiasm about finally seeing the much promised auditorium built whilst they are still attending Wolmer's. Keith is also confident that the building will be substantially complete by April 30" and will be fully functional in time for the three schools' valedictory services. He believes that the current students at Wolmer's are extremely fortunate to have an alumni that are interested and committed to improving the Wolmer's schools. “The Wolmer's Auditorium will be a valuable facility and I hope the students respect it and take care of it for themselves and the future generations that will follow them."

Part 6: Colin Francis – Electrical Engineer

In part 6, we introduce the youngest member of the Wolmer's Auditorium Project Committee – Colin Francis. A Registered Professional Engineer and Certified Energy Manager, Colin attended Wolmer's between 1984 and 1992 and participated in the school community through badminton, Key Club and Debating Society, and further recreationally through table tennis as well as lawn tennis. After leaving Wolmer's, he went to the College Of Arts, Science & Technology (CAST) and completed a Diploma in Electrical Engineering in 1995, which by then was upgraded to the University Of Technology (Utech). In 1998, he returned to the institution, and completed his Bachelors of Engineering Degree in Electrical Power. Colin's dynamic career include working at Alpha Tech Limited (September 1995 - 2008) and sister company Satyn Consultants Ltd. while simultaneously starting his own Electrical & Building Contracting Company firm C and C Professional Services Ltd with his twin brother, alum Craig Francis. In 2002 Colin and Craig also ventured into Fish and Pig Farming under their company C & C Farms.

The farming venture although with great potential eventually closed in 2008 as a result of praedial larceny. At Alpha Tech, Colin worked his way up from Junior Engineer to Director of Operations over a period of 18 years. He eventually merged the company with his other company C & C Professional Services in 2005, which is now one of the leading contractors in the Electrical and Building industries. Being a strong leader, Colin has also moved up the ranks at Satyn Consultants and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. He has other interests in chicken farming, and other business activities including the newly acquired C & C South Beach Restaurant in New Kingston. Colin expressed that like his brother, he is always looking for new ventures that allow for the development of self, fellow Jamaicans and the country at large.

Colin heard of the auditorium project through Craig, who was contacted by Trustee Douglas Orane. Colin immediately decided to join the project committee to design and consult on the electrical, ventilation and air-conditioning component and has further extended his support to cover the construction supervision all being pro bono. Through Craig and their electrical contracting company, they have further contributed by being the appointed electrical contractors for the fit out of the auditoriums needs.

Colin feels honoured to be part of this project as he has benefitted personally and professionally from the foundation that was laid at Wolmer's. “One of the greatest assets going to Wolmer's is becoming a rounded person. The ability to communicate effectively and representative oneself at a very high standard are qualities you acquire at Wolmer's. You don't have to be the brightest student academically to be successful. Just be the best you can be and ensure that you participate in all activities: academics, sports, the fine arts, music and community service and these will assist in forming the basis for your success.”