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Mentor Spotlight

Honor Your Mentor!

Mentoring is a longstanding tradition of the river. Sharing your journey with a mentor may encourage others to follow your lead by walking in your footsteps or stepping up and becoming a mentor to another crew member wishing to advance. Please send personal experiences of mentoring with RiverWorks Discovery, so that we may use them in our social media Mentor Monday posts.

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Mentor Spotlight - by Greg Karlowsky

Almost 5 years ago I came over to Campbell Transportation Company, Inc. from the trucking industry. Being new to the River Industry, I worked my way up from a Logistics Coordinator to Logistics Manager two and a half years ago. My main task is overseeing all of CTC's open-top affreightment business, leading my team to fulfill the needs of our customers and vendors as efficiently as possible. This industry is such a unique business that I've come to learn that hard work, dedication, experience, and surrounding yourself with a great team will help the company prosper and continue to improve yourself as a professional. Establishing a mentor early in your career is an important key to success in this industry.

When I was hired into the logistics team at Campbell, Kristen was already established as a Logistics Manager. She had previously worked in the home improvement industry for 12 years and went back to school at The University of Pittsburgh to pursue a degree in supply chain management. During her time at Pitt, she was awarded a scholarship from Traffic Club of Pittsburgh, which introduced her to the river industry and opened the door for her during her interview process with CTC. She started out as a logistics coordinator in 2015, moved her way up to the Manager of Logistics-Lower Ohio two years later, and she currently is our Senior Manager of Logistics, serving in that role for 3 years now. Just recently she was awarded "The Waterways 40 under 40 award," is actively involved in WIMO's, and serves on the Waterway's of Pittsburgh Board of Directors. Her dedication and commitment to the industry continues to pave the way for new individuals like myself.

As I'm sure most people in this industry are aware, every day is different, and a new challenge is thrown your way that you may not be expecting. One of Kristen's best qualities is thinking outside of the box, remaining calm in a particular heightened situation, and assisting me to get to the root of the issue. Kristen encourages critical thinking daily within our group and organization as a whole. Kristen’s leadership skills stand out because she continuously is working to improve each individual within the groups’ knowledge of how things work to improve decision making as a team. It was when she was preparing for maternity leave that I started to recognize her as my mentor. She made sure myself and our team knew how to do everything she took care of before she was set to take time off. She believes that a good leader should be able to step away at anytime and their team is still able to move forward successfully, as they have been given the skills and knowledge of their leader. Kristen has strong people skills, which is displayed in her ability to teach others, work with customers and vendors, network within the industry, and participate in different industry organizations.

I now have three employees who work in my department who -like myself- had minimal experience in this business previously. I try to give them the tools to be successful in this ever-changing business just like Kristen did, and continues to do, for myself. Teaching them the ins and outs of contracts, empowering them to make decisions themselves, encouraging them to get involved at the industry level, and most importantly- passing along as much knowledge as I can on a continuous basis. As I stated before, the river industry is like no other industry. Things are always changing and new things we haven’t dealt with previously will come up. We need to all strive for continuous improvement, and mentorship and passing knowledge is the key to success as a team.