Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Saint Joseph, MO, in a little town outside of Kansas City, MO. I was in the Army for 6 years and was deployed to Desert Storm in 1990. I am married with 4 kids and a grandbaby on the way. My wife and I are recently transitioning to becoming empty nesters, which on one hand is a big shift for us not having any kids at home, but on the other it is very freeing not having any kids at home. My wife and I just recently moved to Jacksonville, FL and have longed to come here and live the “beach” lifestyle on the ocean. I guess being landlocked in the middle of the country for all those years leaves us yearning for the sand, sea, and sun.
How did you find RQ and why did you want to work for us?
My background has been in various executive management roles within the manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics industry for the past 25 years. During that time, I have found that creating new systems, processes, and business models is what I enjoy doing most and have had great success at doing. When the opportunity presented itself to join RQ on the ground floor of helping create and establish a new Maritime arm in support of RQ’s Guantanamo Bay, Cuba’s construction business – and was told, “Oh by the way, this Maritime arm is being developed from scratch!” I couldn’t wait to jump in and join the adventure. I joined RQ on October 31st, 2018, and have been immersed in learning, implementing, establishing, and stabilizing each phase of the maritime aspect to support Guantanamo Bay projects to this point.
What is your current role at RQ?
Currently, I am the Logistics Manager at RQ, and I oversee an amazing group of individuals that consist of the Maritime team. Some of the biggest challenges and hurdles that we have had to face and overcome have been primarily in the compliance and regulation requirements realm. First, we have been learning the primary agencies that govern the maritime industry, the U.S. Coast Guard, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Customs, the Jones Act, along with a host of other governing agencies and scenarios. Second, we have had to perform extensive research, and at times trial and error, in order to learn what it takes to successfully navigate the turbulent waters of operating a maritime business. This includes the vessel types. We currently have a 100-foot tug named the Addy Lou that pulls a 270-foot barge named the New Dawn. There are many inspections, surveys, and regulations that encompass operating these vessels, along with creating the systems and partnerships in order to gather, load, and haul cargo on these vessels between Jacksonville and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Some major milestones that we have achieved in the last few months are:
- Acquiring the Sub Chapter “M” compliance for our tug, the Addy Lou. This is a credential that the Coast Guard requires for us to be able to legally operate the tug. We have had a grace period in order to prepare and submit for this credential and have recently received this designation. This credential was enacted by the Coast Guard in June of 2016 and has changed old requirements in the maritime towing industry, added numerous new requirements, and has proven to be a significant challenge for even well-established companies to adopt.
- We are currently undergoing a major retrofit on the barge, the New Dawn, in order to make it more efficient and increase the capacity and safety in the amount and type of cargo we are allowed to carry.
- We are also in the process of moving our laydown yard from Green Cove Springs, Florida which is approximately an hour away from the port in Jacksonville, and leasing property that will only be two miles from the port, which will ensure more efficiency through a closer proximity.
Since joining RQ, it has been a whirlwind of a ride; very exciting, challenging, and fulfilling all at the same time. We are at the very beginning stages of this endeavor and I look forward to what the future of the Maritime arm and RQ, as a whole, holds.