PARENTING for many is one of the most rewarding life experiences. Parents take on the all-important duty of raising children with good morals and the skills needed to manoeuvre the many stages of growth and development. Most will also admit that parenting has taught them some of the biggest life lessons as well.
For assistant chief engineer at Beaches Negril Resort and Spa, Hugh Morgan, his son Shaquille, engineering supervisor at Sandals Negril Resort and Spa, has been pivotal in his overall development as, not just as a father but as a person.
Amassing over 31 years with the Sandals and Beaches brand thus far, the elder Morgan started his journey at Sandals Negril as a plant operator. Throughout his tenure he also received training in plumbing and heat engineering. He later transferred to sister resort, Grand Pineapple Negril, and then to Beaches Negril where he worked his way up the engineering hierarchy to assistant chief engineer at the resort.
Sharing that he has always had a love for engineering, Morgan noted that while attending high school he also developed a passion for auto mechanics. This passion, he believes, was passed on to his son who is an avid lover of cars and engineering technology.
“If we’re at home and we hear the sound of a car outside we would often run to see what type of car it is or we’d try to guess to see who would be right. We both love cars; our favourite brand is Subaru and this is something we’ve been able bond over,” the younger Morgan reminisced with a smile.
He has followed in his father’s footsteps as it relates to career and education, sharing that after graduating from Montego Bay Community College with an associate degree in auto mechanics, his father encouraged him to apply for a job at Sandals Negril. Successful in his interview, he joined the resort’s Hospitality Training Programme. After showing great potential he was offered a job within the engineering department as a room technician in 2018. Committed to his duties and also to his personal growth plans within the company, the passion-driven 24-year-old was recently promoted to engineering supervisor — a role, he shared, which he was afraid to take on at first — but after much consideration he had no doubt he was the man for the job.
It has been a long road for the Morgan men and both had to learn to adapt when life threw different challenges at them. One of the hardest so far was the death of Shaquille’s mom. His dad shared that breaking the news to his then 12-year-old son was heart wrenching but he gives thanks to his family and those who showed up in different ways to support them.
Noting that Shaquille had just started his high school journey, he knew it was important to not only be there as a father but also as a friend. “When his mother passed we had to make space for grieving; I always ensured I never made him feel as though he was on his own. Though I was also grieving myself, I knew I had a son to raise. He is my only child and I had to be there for him and to steer him on the right path,” Morgan shared.
He also noted that losing his dad at a young age motivated him to take his role of a father very seriously, vowing that he would always play an active role in Shaquille’s life — ever present and trodding with him towards his goals.
Expressing thanks to his dad for being a tower of strength around the time of his mom’s passing, Shaquille added that it was indeed a rough time for him as he looked ahead to venture into secondary studies at Rusea’s High School — which was also his mother’s alma mater — despite knowing she would never get to see him graduate.
Now 12 years later both have found ways to grow through grieving and have become positive role models at their respective resorts. Hugh has won multiple awards over the years with the Sandals and Beaches brand and Shaquille is committed to achieving the same as his dad, jokingly adding that he would like to do so in a shorter timeframe. He adds that it is his dream to one day be chief engineer and shares he is putting in the work to get there. Both are looking forward to completing their master’s degrees and improving their skills to keep up with technology, as it evolves ever so often.
Though not yet a father, Shaquille shares that when he does enter that chapter of his life it is his desire to emulate the same standard his father has set — of course with his own touch but nevertheless with the same care and attention. He noted that his father always pushed him to try his best and was never quick to prevent him from figuring things out on his own.
“I remember once I was installing an automatic light at home and I got it wrong, because the light would not turn off. A bit frustrated I asked him for assistance and though he would typically help, he told me to go at it again. That night I tried installing it once again and this time I was successful,” Shaquille shared.
When asked if Shaquille sometimes asks for advice when it comes to the job, Hugh shared that he is one to try and figure it out on his own, safe to say the lesson with the automatic light did encourage him to never give up. However, Hugh notes that Shaquille will come to him for advice when he really needs it, and this makes him proud.
Hugh shares he approaches the team members in his department similarly, with empathy, but still encourages them to remain diligent in their tasks. He adds that he is always dedicated to developing individuals who are open to growth. Mirroring his leadership style, Shaquille shares that quite often his fellow colleagues compare him to his father, as he too believes you have to meet each individual where they are at in order to get the best out of them.
Hugh Morgan is very proud of his son and only wants the best for him. He similarly encourages fathers to play an active role in their children’s lives and to always show up. For Shaquille, his dad is his hero and he appreciates the love that is ever present. Inasmuch as Shaquille continues to follow his father’s footsteps in the world of work, he also aims to be as good a father and man in this world as he believes his father is.