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Staff Stories—Casey Prowse

Following in the footsteps of his forefathers, Casey Prowse’s first job was running a bulldozer at five years old—from the safety of his father’s lap. Casey’s early stint as an “operator” eventually led to a decade-plus career in marine construction.

A man posing for a portrait.

Now Casey holds the role of Port Engineer in Manson’s Southern California office as part of Manson’s Equipment Group. He started out working with Manson off and on as an equipment operator on several prominent projects, which led to a position as a deck engineer, and eventually crane operator.

“My list of responsibilities has changed, which boils down to overseeing equipment repairs, conducting inspections with the USCG and ABS, and repowering Manson's vessels. 

Decades earlier, Casey spent his youth like any other “Angeleno,”—a native of Los Angeles County—playing basketball, riding bikes, and learning to communicate with others in a variety of ways. 

“I grew up in a deaf household, so I learned sign language from an early age,” Casey explains. “Growing up in the ‘80s was a lot of fun because I was always outside with my friends exploring the city and just taking in the energy of Los Angeles.” 

As a student at Lakewood High School, he fell in love with volleyball, which sparked a competitive nature. “I loved playing basketball, but when I discovered volleyball, the sport just did it for me,” Casey says.  

Knowing he was destined to work in construction, Casey sought jobs in different industries after high school to explore his options. He took positions at Home Depot, machine manufacturer MK Diamond, and Togo’s Sandwiches, with the latter being the best job one could work at, according to Casey. “I was able to have fun making and serving sandwiches,” Casey says. “It was nice because I got paid and was able to feed myself with leftovers. It is the perfect job for young people who are just starting out.” 

Around his 25th birthday, Casey learned that his girlfriend, Dara, was pregnant.

Determined to provide stability for his future family, Casey joined the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12 as an apprentice. The apprenticeship helped him develop knowledge in several areas of construction, including running loaders, dozers, excavators, and grade checking, according to Casey. “I traveled all over Southern California working different jobs that helped me learn about the industry,” he says. “One of my first jobs was running a scraper with my dad in Sun City, CA, which was nice because I was able to lean on his expertise.” 

In 2007, Casey received a call from Manson Foreman Sean Tonneson about an opportunity to work at the Port of Long Beach. “Sean and I have been friends since high school, and when he found out I was looking for work, he mentioned that Manson needed a forklift operator for the Pier G Berth 232 Wharf project,” Casey says. “Since I was already forklift certified, I jumped at the opportunity.”  

At Pier G, Casey learned the ropes about marine construction from Crane Operator Andy Espinosa and Superintendent Jerry Gienger—both long-time Manson employees.  

After his role at Pier G ended, Casey was called back several months later to work as an oiler on the TraPac Terminal Expansion Berths 145-147 project at the Port of Los Angeles. “Andy and Jerry called me to work with them at TraPac,” Casey explains. “After that job ended, I was sent to work on the Middle Harbor, Phase 1 project in 2011.” 

A marine construction crew on a vessel.
The crew of the DB VALKYRIE after driving the last pile on the Fireboat Station 20 project in Long Beach, CA.

As Casey began to plant his roots at Manson, he continued to earn his stripes and impress his peers, which eventually led to a full-time position as deck engineer on the derrick barge VALKYRIE. Under the guidance of Piledriver Foreman Eddie Heredia and Crane Operator Dave Nezzer, Casey dug deep to learn the ins and outs of the work, including piledriving, crane operation, and regular maintenance of the rig.  

“When Casey joined, he became an asset to the crew,” Dave says. “You didn’t have to tell him much because he was good at what he did and paid attention to every detail.” 

After receiving crane training and certification, Casey took up the role of crane operator on the VALKYRIE in 2018. He worked on several high-profile projects up and down the West Coast, which included the Seal Beach and Fireboat Station 20 projects.  

In 2023, Casey was offered the position of port engineer, a natural transition giving him the opportunity to manage the equipment he worked on for over a decade. “I credit the talented guys that I’ve worked with in the field during my early years as part of the reason why I’m in the position I’m in now,” he says. “At Manson, it takes a village of people to elevate an individual to the next position up. People like Eddie Heredia, Dave Nezzer, Jeremy Donaldson, Art Pinette, and Andy Espinosa are just a few who have had a significant impact on my career.”  

Eight months into the role, Casey has a good idea on how to succeed as port engineer, which involves incorporating his knowledge and communicating with colleagues and management to get the job done.  

“I’ve been working with Equipment Manager Daric Latham and Equipment Engineering Manager Nick Maddox on various jobs,” Casey explains. “Port Engineer David Lubisewski and Foreman Johnny Gregory have been a great help as well.”  

When he’s not maintaining Manson’s vessels, Casey enjoys his time off as a proud family man. 

“I love being with my children Gabriel, Coby, and Emma, grandson Hunter, and I cannot forget the ‘rock’ of the family, my wife, Dara,” Casey explains. “Family means everything to me, and this job allows me to be closer to home.” 

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