Host Agency, Full Agent, Port Everglades, FL
If you’ve ever met Manny, or even communicated with him through an email, you already know he’s a contagiously positive individual.
Originally from the Republic of Panama, he worked as a banker there for over a decade. In 1997, he was granted U.S. residency and moved to South Florida to be with his parents and continue his career at Nations Bank (now Bank of America).
In an unexpected turn of events, however, he ended up leaving his job at the bank to pursue one of his favorite hobbies and passions: Baking. He worked as a cake baker for five years, making what friends say were the most delicious cakes they’ve ever had. “I loved that job,” he says, “But I knew it wasn’t enough for me. Something was missing.”
His friend in Fort Lauderdale introduced him to the maritime industry, and he began working as an automobile export agent. Before long, he was a boarding agent for container ships, cruise ships, and tankers in Port Everglades. “There’s always something new in this industry,” he says. “Every day brings a new situation or a new challenge, and it’s never boring or repetitive. I like that.”
His favorite part of the job is interacting with people from all over the world. “Often, it’s only by email or phone, but I feel like I’m learning more about different cultures every day.”
Manny’s previous employer relocated him from South Florida to Georgia in 2006, and that’s where he met Host’s Chris Howard seven years later. “The rest is history!” he says. “I’m very proud to be part of this company. Until joining Host, I never had the experience of working with a family-owned business. I like that we can meet with the owners face-to-face on a regular basis. We’re growing rapidly, but we’re all still part of one big team, and that’s really special.”
Manny was recently promoted from Boarding Agent to Full Agent, and as the icing on the cake, he was relocated back to Port Everglades. “The essence of the job is the same,” he says, “But I have more opportunities to deal directly with our principals, which is very exciting.” He’s happy to be living closer to his family again in what he calls his “favorite port ever,” while working for Host.