Working With The Military and Veterans
Jacksonville, Florida, has seen its share of evolution over the last 25 years. Many Fortune 500 companies have operations in the city, it is a popular golf destination, and with hospitals like the Mayo Clinic, there is world-renowned healthcare. Even with all this growth, Jacksonville will always be a military town at its heart.
With two large Navy bases, the United States Marine Corps Blount Island Command, and other nearby installations, the military contributes billions of dollars to Jacksonville’s economy annually.
Patriot Rail and Ports’ Portus Stevedoring facility is adjacent to the Marine Corps support facility on Blount Island. Having contracts with Blount Island Command’s Maritime Pre-positioning Force (MPF) and providing stevedoring, terminal, and warehousing services for a large customer supporting the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, it is not surprising the armed forces are one of Portus Stevedoring’s largest customer.
Hiring a Veteran
When we were looking to hire a Portus Operations Manager, we didn’t have to look very far. 24-year Marine Corps veteran, Jesse Paulson, was retiring from his command at the military port right next door. It just made sense to bring him on.
“I knew all the stevedores and had a good rapport with all those guys. I heard that this opportunity opened up, applied, and got a lot of support from the managers that actually work for me now. When the hiring managers asked about me, they got good feedback and offered me the job.” Paulson explained, speaking of the natural transition.
To say it’s been a perfect fit would be an understatement. His perspective is seamlessly aligned with our largest customer. His firsthand knowledge of their exacting specifications is invaluable.
It helps a lot with the cargo they are moving too. Stevedoring military equipment poses unique challenges, especially when it comes to loading and unloading.
“We get to move a lot of types of equipment,” Paulson explained. “Humvees, medium tactical vehicles, M1A1 Abrams tanks, basically anything you could think of that a soldier or marine would use for ground combat. We specialize in that because anybody can drive a Honda Civic off of a ship, but not many can drive a tank or a Bradley, or even a Humvee.”
Finding that Proper Balance
A good balance of former military crewmen and specialized training ensures this most specialized cargo is operated correctly and kept free from damage.
“We’ve been trained on operating the vehicles, and I’ve got a good handful of veterans on my team,” Jesse said. “Some of them used to be in motor transport or heavy equipment operators, all kinds of fields really. We get most of them trained on the job if they need it, and the Marine Corps next door provides us training for operating some of the bigger vehicles.”
Partnership is at the heart of all effective customer relationships, and our Portus team at Blount Island definitely has a strong one with our military clients. Jesse brings a lot to this team. He knows what our customers require. This crew leverages its experience and expertise to execute its mission to perfection, assisting our nation’s armed forces in doing the same thing all around the world.